CrossFit gyms have gained popularity in recent years for a number of reasons. They’re staffed by down-to-earth, compassionate and educated employees who are more than happy to teach members about the exercise routines that they’ve developed or perfected.
Whether or not you’re a member of one of the thousands of CrossFit gyms worldwide, it’s okay for you to learn about the different moves that are frequently used in their routines. While the staff members of CrossFit might be able to give you some detailed instructions and correct you where you’re making mistakes, there’s no harm in trying these moves out yourself – as long as you follow the instructions properly.
The butterfly pullup is one of the moves that CrossFit loves their members to use in their routines. Butterfly pullups engage a wide range of muscles and provide some fantastic benefits. Here are some details about the butterfly pullup and some instructions on how you can start doing them yourself. .
Why the butterfly pullup?
You might have heard some of the flaming criticism about the butterfly pullup. These moves are one of the most frequently loathed aspects of CrossFit in general, and while we’re teaching you how to do a butterfly pullup, we’ll counteract some of the hatred that this move has taken the brunt of.
A lot of people are just misled about the function and purpose of butterfly pullups, so they think that they’re useless when, in fact, they just target different muscle groups.The butterfly pullup is arguably the most dynamic variation on this type of exercise, and it utilizes the whole body to transition into faster or stronger pulls.
You can do fast reps with a butterfly pullup and there isn’t as much of a swing cycle as, say, a kipping pullup. It does, however, require the most skill of any of the pullup varieties.
Learning the butterfly pullup
First, you’re going to need to make sure you have the strength and mobility required to do these intense pullups. To do this, you should make sure that you can do both strict and kipping pull-ups proficiently.
The strict pullup is your prerequisite before you even try to do a kipping pullup. You should be able to do at least five of these before you try to do a kipping pullup.
Fortunately, these are simple enough to understand (and a lot harder to execute). Get yourself into a dead hang on a bar and pull yourself up using no momentum. Bring your chin above the bar, hold it for two seconds, and then lower yourself with full control back into a dead hang.
Make sure you’re fully in control of your body for all phases of this movement. It’s not enough to just lift and lower. Make sure you’re fully flexed the whole time.
These aren’t the easiest to do, either. In fact, butterfly pullups are a more difficult variation of the kipping pullup, which were, for a time, considered the most difficult and gut-wrenching pullups that you could do.
- Step up and grab the bar with a wide, overhand grip. Swing your legs forward and backwards, using the motion to gain momentum. Retract your shoulder girdle on the back swing to enhance the move and promote safety.
- Swing your legs forward and high to the point that your thighs are horizontal, then swing upward and behind the bar, quickly open your hips, and pull your body towards the bar until the upper part of your chest touches it.
- Let your body fall back under the bar. As the body swings under the bar, swing your legs back, and immediately repeat.
The kipping pullup is a very intense pullup that works a lot of muscles. The butterfly pullup is actually a competitive version of this pullup, used in CrossFit games. We’ll instruct you on how to do those next!
The butterfly pullup
Once you’ve mastered the kipping pullup, you’re ready to move onto the dreaded butterfly pullup. This will make you a true master of pullups.
Step up and grasp the bar in an overhand wide grip. Flex your knees and keep your hips straight.
Kick your legs forward and swing upward behind the bar. Straighten your hips and pull your chest towards the bar. As your chest gets close to the bar, shift the direction of your body downward and forward under the bar by continuing to kick your feet backwards, all while hyperextending your spine.
Let your face clear under the bar, while your knees flex behind it, and get your arms to fully extend before repeating.
Unlike the kipping pullup, the forward leg kick of a butterfly pullup isn’t as high. The rear kick i directed more upward, and the chin doesn’t actually crest the top of the bar. This allows your face to clear the underside of the bar.
To avoid wear and tear on ungloved hands, make sure you chalk the bar or grasp it with your fingers instead of your hands and fingers (though this will obviously require much more grip strength.)
The rest of the know-how
Kipping pullups and butterfly pullups aren’t actually designed to train your strength. You won’t see huge gains from these exercises, which is one of the reasons that a lot of athletes and strength trainers won’t support them.
Nonetheless, they are fantastic exercises for building core strength, agility, and improving your endurance and respiratory function. They may not be great for giving you physical gains, but they’ll certainly improve your relationship with your body and your understanding of your muscles.
Both kipping and butterfly pullups are very complicated procedures and are best practiced either in the presence of a professional trainer, or after having watched a video of a professional trainer performing the exercise. Simply reading the instructions probably won’t be enough for you to safely execute one.