What Constitutes a Legitimate Pullup?

Several people have complained about the way CrossFit athletes are conducting their pullups so I thought I would come to Crossfit’s defense and explain what constitutes a legitimate pullup (both for CrossFit and the military) and how pullups should vary depending on your goals. First off, pullups are conducted with the palms facing out, not in, otherwise they’re called chinups. A pullup is considered legitimate if the body remains straight throughout the movement without any sort of leg action or swing – otherwise it’s called kipping. (Kipping never counts) The complaints I’ve heard about CrossFit regard an upper body thrust slightly back and away from the bar before jerking up. (It’s actually achieved by arching the back and facing the ceiling – just by looking up) This opens up the ribcage providing greater oxygen. While it is true that a perfectly vertical and slow pullup is harder to execute and better for developing cosmetic muscle, the motion used by CrossFit types and those in the military is legitimate for competition. Yes, you can obviously belt out many more reps once you’ve mastered the motion, but it’s not cheating. (The upper body is sill doing all the work) In addition to greater oxygen, arching brings more muscles into play – hence greater performance, and the explosive motion also translates to greater functional performance in sports. 

Weights are excellent for supercharging your pullups.  BOOK 019

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