Arsenal Gymnastics Course: Pull-ups

The Pull-up is an essential exercise with regards to increasing upper-body pulling strength. Prior to attempting the dynamic and powerful variations of the movement: Kipping and Butterfly Pull-ups, athletes must have strength and capacity in the Strict Pull-up. Performing Strict Pull-ups will aid in the development of grip-strength, shoulder stability, muscular strength and endurance, and kinesthetic awareness. Strength, stability and mobility at the shoulder may decrease the risk of injuries associated with kipping such as rotator cuff, labrum and biceps tendon tears, slap tears and shoulder dislocations. At Arsenal, we recommend that male athletes have the ability to perform five, unbroken Strict Pull-ups and females have the ability to perform three, unbroken, Strict Pull-ups before attempting the kipping variations.

As Coach said, “Kipping is a gateway skill with functional utility on the rings, parallel bars, high bar and floor.” The kip is a basic gymnastics skill that requires flexion and extension at the shoulders and hips. The kip demands flexibility, coordination and agility in order to efficiently and effectively express power and speed. In addition, the kipping variations of the pull-up enable faster cycling rates, thus increasing the intensity of the movement and the associated physiological adaptations. The progression for the Kipping and Butterfly Pull-ups are as follows:

Kipping Pull-up

  • Kip Swing – From a static hang on the bar, athletes repeatedly move the body from the hollow to arch position. Emphasize flexion and extension at the shoulder to generate the movement
  • Pull-down + Knees up – More aggressive flexion and extension at the shoulder, as the athlete transitions into the hollow position he/she flexes the hip, brining the knees toward the chest
  • Floor Drill – Athletes lie on their backs, hips flexed to 90 degrees, arms extended overhead. On the call of “Go,” athletes violently extend the hip and land in the finish position of a Glute Bridge
  • Kipping Pull-up, single repetition – Athletes perform the “Pull-down + Knees up” and immediately after flexing the hip, the athletes aggressively extend the hip and pull with the arms until the chin clears the bar
  • Kipping Pull-up + Push away – At the top of the Pull-up, athletes extend the elbow, pushing themselves away from the bar and into the arch position of the next repetition
  • Kipping Pull-up, cycling repetitions

Butterfly Pull-up

  • “Elliptical” Kip, low bar, emphasize slight upward gaze – Athletes stand on a box or use an adjustable low bar.
    Standing with the chin above the bar, athletes pull themselves down and underneath the bar into the arch position and follow an elliptical pattern until returning to the starting position
  • Halting Pull-up, emphasize global shapes and straight lines – Perform one Kipping Pull-up and pause momentarily at the top of the repetition. Following the pause, athletes pull themselves down and underneath the bar. The elliptical pattern should enable the athlete to perform a second repetition
  • Butterfly Pull-up, straight leg – Athletes attempt to perform consecutive Butterfly Pull-ups while keeping the knees extended
  • Butterfly Pull-up, knee flexion – At the bottom of the repetition, the knees flex and rapidly extend, providing additional moment to the next Pull-up

Gymnastics Course Details

Six-week course, two days per week

June 22 – July 30
Wednesday @ 7:30-8:30pm
Saturday @ 10:00-11:00am

Designed to educate athletes regarding the safe, efficient and effective biomechanics and positions associated with body-weight movements (i.e., gymnastics).

Athletes will learn to perform various exercises and skills (e.g., squat, pistol, pushup, handstand pushup, Pull-up, muscle-up, etc.) with mechanically sound technique, adopting positions that enable greater expression of strength.

Accessory work will be assigned throughout the course to generate adaptations and promote progression of skills.

Cost: $120