Getting Past Pull-Ups

I’ve been doing CrossFit for about four years and have always struggled with pull-ups.  I still don’t have enough strength to lift my own body weight so I’ve needed modifications to work the same muscles in a different way.  For a long time, I was told to do ring rows because they simulated pull-ups.  However, this doesn’t exactly work the same muscle groups to eventually progress to Rx pull-ups.

However, about six months ago the trainers at my gym (thank you CrossFit Singular Box!!) recommended that I put a barbell on J-Hooks.  Then I could do pull-ups from the floor!  (By the way, this isn’t a modification just for me; it’s for anyone who can’t yet do a strict pull-up.)  I thought the idea was awesome and have been doing pull-ups like this ever since.  Here are the methods for doing different types of modified pull-ups.


METHOD #1: The easiest method is putting your feet in front of you with your knees bent.  Your shins should be perpendicular to the ground and your hips should be under the barbell.  Then keep your shoulders down, elbows as close to your body as you can, and pull-up!


METHOD #2: The next option is to put your feet behind you with your toes pointed and hips still under the barbell.  Then, just like before, keep your shoulders down, elbows as close to your body as possible, and pull-up!

If these exercises seem too easy because you’re using your legs to do most of the work, imagine that someone’s hands or a brand new iPhone are under your feet.  This will encourage you to use your arms more than your legs!


METHOD #3: The last option is doing a jumping pull-up from the bar.  You can put the barbell away now and grab a box (if needed) that will be at the right height for you to do this exercise.  The box will bring you closer to the bar so that you can get your chin over the bar to complete the movement.  If you don’t need the box, don’t use it.  The exercise is very simple.  Just stand under the bar and jump high enough to help your arms with the pull-up movement. Make sure your arms are doing as much work as they can to pull you up the rest of the way.

Hope this helps and if you have any other tips on doing modified pull-ups,
please comment below!

(Video cred. Loni Slatkin – Thank you!)


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