October Pull Up Challenge!

What: Pull Up Challenge – get your first or progress your pulling capacity in 30 days!

How: You will need to be self-motivated and diligent. Your coaches and fellow CrossFitters will support you, but your progress will be determined by how dedicated and motivated you are to participate and complete the challenge. The only one who can change you is YOU!

Why: Because we gotta! Pull ups are a movement in which most everyone (sans injury) can rapidly improve with consistent work, and training them is fairly straightforward. Plus, it is pretty cool and satisfying to get your first unassisted pull up!

CrossFit is all about functional movement, and being able to pull up your body weight is quite a functional movement that we all have the ability and potential to do. The elusive unassisted pull up can be an especially challenging feat for women, but it is possible! As the saying goes, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. And we don’t want easy! If we did, we would not be CrossFitters.

How do I do it? Follow the plan. This is a progression adapted from Chris Stroud’s pull up progression for CrossFit (www.chrsistroud.net – Chris Stroud is a CrossFit Trainer at CrossFit One World in Union City, CA). As previously mentioned, being able to do a pull up can be as challenging mentally as it is physically. Dedicate yourself 100% to each aspect of this challenge for the entire month of October, and we guarantee you will see progress!

Details: This challenge will consist of different phases. First you need to test which phase you should begin with. You will follow the plan for that phase until you progress to the next phase or until the month long challenge ends.

NOTE: The shoulder joint is more susceptible to injury when its structures aren’t adequately developed. For this reason, we highly recommend that you NOT attempt kipping pull ups prior to being able to do at least one strict pull up. It takes only 10,000 wrong movements to destroy a joint. For these reasons, proper form, proper strength, and proper mobility and stretching are necessary. Your coaches will always be available to answer any questions on these fronts.

Getting better at pull ups is about volume and consistency. Follow the plan as closely as you can.
Take care of your hands! Buy a pumice stone or callous shaver and scrub your hands in the shower or under warm water. This will help prevent callous buildup that causes rips and tears.
Be sure to complete some sort of warm up before jumping into the exercises.
Do not rush trying to get to the next phase. It is a progression that takes time and patience. Trust the process and only move on when you have consistency and confidence with the movements.
Complete the mental exercises! Just because you ‘currently struggle’ with pull ups, does not mean that you will struggle forever.

Phase 1

Current Ability: 0 strict pull ups

Goal: 1 strict pull up

Objective: Strengthening muscles involved in completing a pull up. Primarily the lats, biceps, rhomboids, and various muscles in the shoulder.*

How to: Do at least 3-4 workouts a week in rotating order. Move to Phase 2 once

you can complete 3 strict pull ups in 1 minute.

Week 1/3:

Day 1

3 sets of 8-12 banded pull ups. If you can do 12 easily, move to a lighter band. If banded pull ups are too difficult, scale down accordingly to jumping negatives. Jump up to position with chin over the bar and slowly lower to full extension. Step back on box and repeat.

Day 2

5 sets of 15 second active hang on bar, then 5 challenging ring rows. Hold 2 count at the top.

Day 3

3 sets of 5 banded pull ups. If you are able to do more than 5 reps, then scale up to a more challenging progression.

Day 4

8 Struggle Ups Struggle Downs. Begin hanging on the bar. Pull yourself up by activating your lats and shoulders as much as you possibly can. Struggle for 5 seconds. At that point, step on a box to do a jumping pull up. Once chin has cleared the bar, perform a slow negative pull up. Slowly lower yourself to full extension. Attempt to do so for a 10 count (10 second lower).

Day 5-7

If you have time, motivation, etc. to perform pull up practice and exercise more than 4 days a week, perform 5 sets of 3 challenging reps on days between.

Week 2/4

Day 1

Same as Week 1

Day 2

Accumulate 25 challenging ring rows. If you can string together 10 or more, they are not challenging enough. Make them more challenging by moving your body more parallel with the floor.

Day 3

Same as Week 1

Day 4

3 sets of max hang from pull up bar with 1 minute rest between sets. Cash out: 5 reps of most challenging banded pull up.

Phase 2

Current Ability: 1 strict pull up at any time consistently

Goal: 5 strict pull ups in a row with no kip

Objectives: Every week do more pull ups than the last. Develop a good technique for kipping. Become stronger in the hollow rock position.

How to: Do at least 3-4 workouts a week. Suggested rest day from pull ups before

Week 1/3

Day 1

5 minute EMOM 2-5 strict pull ups (increase up to 5 strict pull ups per minute)

Day 2

Tabata kipping pull ups (4 minutes, 20 sec work, 10 seconds rest). Try to stay consistent within rounds. Count only lowest score.

Day 3

Tabata hollow rocks/hollow hold. Then accumulate 30 challenging ring rows. Have body as parallel to ground as possible.

Day 4

As many strict pull ups as possible in 4 minutes.

Day 5-7

Focus on kipping form and kipping practice

Week 2/4

Day 1

Same as week 1 (lengthen EMOM by 2 minutes each week)

Day 2

Same as week 1 (increase amount of pull ups per tabata round)

Day 3

5 sets of 2 negative pull ups. Pull up until chin passes over bar, then lower yourself down on a 10 count if possible.

Day 4

4 sets of 10 challenging ring rows, followed by 45 second hollow hold (increase for week 4).

Phase 3

Current Ability: set of 5 strict pull ups at any time consistently

Goal: Men – 10 strict and 20 kipping pull ups in a row, Women – 7 strict and 15 kipping pull ups in a row

*Phase 3 challenge – both men/women able to string together a few butterflys

Objectives: Develop stamina for higher reps

How to: Do at least 3-4 workouts a week. Suggested rest days from pull ups before

Week 1/3

Day 1

5 minute EMOM 2-5 strict pull ups (each week add 2 minutes to EMOM)

Day 2

3 sets max rep kipping or butterfly pull ups with 2 minutes rest between sets

Day 3

4 sets max strict pull ups. Rest 2 minutes between sets

Day 4

As many kipping/butterfly pull ups in 5 minutes

Week 2/4

Day 1

20 kipping/butterfly pull ups as fast as possible in least amount of sets as possible.

Day 2

Accumulate 40 challenging (parallel body) ring rows (add 10 more for week 4) 1 minute hollow hold each time you break

Day 3

Same as week 1 (try to beat score)

Day 4

5 sets of 5 negative pull ups. Do a strict pull up, then lower yourself down on a 10 count if possible

Day 5-7

If you have time and energy, do butterfly work and practice.

Phase 4

Current Ability: Men – 10 strict and 20 kipping pull ups unbroken. Women – 7 strict and 15 kipping pull ups unbroken. Both men/women able to string together a few butterfly pull ups.

Goal: Men – 40 butterfly pull ups. Women – 30 butterfly pull ups

Objectives: Build pull up capacity.

How to: Do at least 3-4 workouts per week

Week 1/3

Day 1

4 minute EMOM of 20 seconds unbroken kipping/butterfly pull ups (if you are proficient at butterfly by this time, you should be shooting for 18-22 reps for at least the first set) – increase EMOM to 6 minutes in week 3.

Day 2

3 sets of 5 weighted strict pull ups. Rest 2 minutes between sets. (increase #2.5-5 in week 3)

Day 3

60 pull ups as fast as possible (increase to 75 in week 3).

Day 4

Tabata hollow rock/hold, 5 minutes butterfly work

Week 2/4

Day 1

Same as week 1 (increase to 5 minute EMOM)

Day 2

Accumulate 50 ring rows (increase to 60 in week 4). 1 minute hollow hold any time you break.

Day 3

Same as Week 1 Day 2 (increase weight if possible)

Day 4

5 sets of 10 negative pull ups. Do a strict pull up and lower yourself down on a 10 count if possible.

Day 5-7

If you have time and energy, do extra core and butterfly work.

Phase 5

Current Ability: Men – 40 unbroken butterfly pull ups. Women – 30 unbroken butterfly pull ups.

Goal: Men – 100 pull ups in under 4 minutes. Women – 100 pull ups in under 5 minutes.

Objectives: Capacity, volume, efficiency, and consistency

How to: Do at least 3-4 workouts per week.

Week 1/3

Day 1

Tabata kipping/butterfly chest to bar pull ups. Count lowest score. Try to increase in

Day 2

5 sets of 5 weighted strict pull ups. Rest 2 minutes between sets. Increase #2.5-5 per week.

Day 3

5 sets of max unbroken pull ups (do not go over 20 pull ups per set – the goal is 5 sets of 20 pull ups unbroken). Rest 1 minute between sets.

Day 4

Accumulate 75 challenging (parallel body) ring rows. 1 minute hollow hold any time you break.

Week 2/4

Day 1

Same as week 1

Day 2

Same as week 1

Day 3

5 sets of 10 negative pull ups. Do a strict pull up, then lower yourself down on a 10 count.

Day 4

100 kipping/butterfly pull ups for time.

Day 5-7

If you have the time and energy, perform extra core and butterfly/kipping work.