Chest to bar Pull ups: A vital exercise to master for improving your power, strength, technique and conditioning.
As opposed to kipping pull ups, chest-to-bars have a longer range of motion, bigger height to reach and therefore a higher demand for power. Strict, kipping or butterfly, to be successful with workouts you need to master all of those.
Want to get better? Work on the following six segments.
1. Improve your strict pull-ups
The basics start with building strength. Begin with improving your strict pull ups: wide grip, chin ups, rope pull ups, weighted, etc. Improved overall strength will be your advantage and could possibly save you from injuries that can occur during fast, explosive swings and hanging movements.
If you’re a beginner, scale them with ring rows, place your feet on the box and do eccentric pull ups. More about progression comes in the last paragraph.
Chest to bar pull ups.
2. Develop and learn to control the (explosive) kip
Efficient kip is what will get you through higher volume of chest-to-bar pull ups. Start swinging your feet backwards and forward, from global extension to flexion (hollow position), while maintaining tension throughout your body.
Kipping is about coordination, controlling the movement and keeping it in a certain, efficient rhythm which creates weightless momentum when you can “pull” yourself up with using less strength than with a strict version. The power generators in this phase are the hips and the core, and the explosiveness of the kip depends on the force produced (with it). Chest-to-bars need a stronger kip, more power generated to bring your body higher.
See Carl Paoli’s video for bar kip progression.
3. Tighten the glutes and core more
Using the hips means engaging the glutes, large powerful muscles, consisting of gluteus maximus muscle (considered to be one of the strongest muscles of the human body), gluteus medius muscle, gluteus minimus muscle and tensor fasciae latae muscle. They enable us to bend and straighten the hips and produce the explosive jumping power, or in our case, the explosive “kipping” power.
Besides keeping our spine stabilized and our movement under control, core’s task is also to generate more power within the movement. Tight core will enable you to produce a higher power when kicking down and up with your legs during pull ups.
4. Move elbows behind the back
Don’t allow your neck to break (or your head to fall back at the top of the movement). As Carl Paoli says keep it in a neutral position. At the finish position elbows go behind the back (pull them all the way back) which allows chest to touch the bar.
5. Work more on your engine (and tactics)
Kipping or butterfly chest to bar pull ups come usually in a higher volume with bigger power demands (longer range of motion), incorporated in MetCons which also include some form of weightlifting. Improving your metabolic conditioning will also help you last longer: get tired later and therefore give you more control over your pacing and workout itself.
Mat Fraser recently stated that Rich Froning is simply amazing at knowing himself and how to pace throughout the movement. Observe yourself more how your react to certain MetCons and learn to pace your performance properly. Like Jason Khalipa states in the video below you don’t to peak up at the first round and shut down in the second.
6. Chest to bar Pull ups: Master the progression (for beginners)
If you’re a beginner and Chest to bar Pull ups are out of sight for while, start with some scaled version of pull ups, to build the basic strength and get some feeling for the movement. Barbell Shrugged offers a great presentation of movement that eventually lead to chest to bar pull ups.
“So what are chest to bar pull-ups?”, I asked my coach at day two of CrossFit®.
They were written up on the whiteboard, and while the name of the movement seemed pretty self-explanatory… I couldn’t help but wonder, why were there so many different kinds of pull-up names? And… who cares if I can touch my chest to the bar?
What I quickly learned was that chest to bar pull-ups are the ‘next step’ up from chin-over bar pull-ups… that they are more challenging… and frequently programmed in WOD’s.
(Beginners tip: chest to bar pull-ups are often abbreviated as CTB or C2B on the whiteboard.)
So if you’re here and reading this, you might be wondering what the heck chest to bar pull-ups are, how to do them, and how to get stronger for them. Maybe you’re even working on strict chest to bar pull-ups (and if you’re not working strict, you DEFINITELY need to start!)
All of the above is covered in this article, let’s dig in.
Chest to Bar Pull-ups: Strength Check
Like all gymnastics movement, it’s important to make sure that you’re strong enough to start training for the movement before anything else. Technically, this is the progression when learning pull-ups for CrossFit:
- Get your first strict pull-up
- Build up to 3-4 (or more!) strict chin-over-bar pull-ups
- Work on kipping pull-ups, then expand to larger unbroken sets
- Increase difficulty toward chest to bar pull-ups — kipping or strict (preferably both).
- Work on butterfly chest to bar pull-ups (we normally only recommend these if you are competing and can already do at least 10 unbroken kipping chest to bar pull-ups)
Chest to Bar Pull-up Progression & Movement Cues
A chest to bar pull-up is just like strict or kipping pull-ups, except you’re just pulling yourself a little bit higher — right?
Ehh… sort of.
I see a lot of athletes who are able to easily get their chin above the bar, but seem to be missing those last few inches to get their chest to actually hit the bar (your collar bone or below needs to contact the bar for the rep to count).
While some people make the extra few inches of pulling look easy, if you’re reading this, chances are you need a little help. Let’s break things down step by step:
C2B Pull-Ups Step 1: Grip
Once you’re under the bar, jump and grip just slightly outside of your shoulders. Personally, I tend to like my grip slightly wider during a chest to bar pull-up than my normal kipping pull-up. This helps create space for the chest to contact the bar.
Anytime you’re kipping on the bar, I recommend wrapping your thumbs fully under the bar in a "gymnastics hook grip", versus wrapping your thumbs over the top of the bar in what I call the "suicide grip". This makes sure that you don’t go flying off the bar if your grip starts to fail.
Now that you’re hanging on the bar, you should initiate the kipping movement in a hollow body position. Keep your core tight, and use your arms to begin to push back, and then under the bar.
C2B Pull-Ups Step 2: Hollow Body.
C2B Pull-Ups Step 3: Arch
Once you’re under the bar, move into an arch position. Maintain tension, focus on keeping your legs straight (and not breaking your knees) and send your head through your arms as if you’re looking through a window.
C2B Pull-Ups Step 4: Kip Up & Away & “Scoop”
Once again pass back under the bar, and this time use momentum to kip upwards. At this point you’re moving back into a hollow body position, but also “scooping” your feet under the bar in the opposite direction of your shoulders. So, your head/shoulders are moving up and away from the bar while your feet/legs start to move vertically. There should be a slight bend in the hips/knees, which allows you to initiate the next step….
C2B Pull-Ups Step 6: Hip Pop & Pull
The hip pop is what allows to finally pull your chest up to the bar. Just before the apex of your kip, pop your hips open while pulling your chest directly into the bar. You can also think of it as a "hip thrust" or a "butt squeeze" depending on which gives the best mental image. It should be sharp and quick, almost unnoticeable when done smoothly.
C2B Pull-Ups Step 7: Elbows & Shoulders Down
If your elbows and shoulders happen to be pointing back instead of down, you’re losing out on a ton of pulling power. It’s a small cue, but could be the change that is needed to pull your chest up those last few inches to the bar.
C2B Pull-Ups Step 8: Push Away
Chest to bar Pull-ups: Major Key Alert
If you were to head over and read our kipping pull-ups post, you would notice that the cues here are basically the same.
The main differences in the two pull-up movements are:
- A more aggressive hip pop
- Pulling longer and harder with your arms
- Slightly longer rep cycle (since you’re moving a few inches further)
Remember, the hip pop & pull should be happening almost at the exact same time. If you still find yourself struggling to get high enough, try focusing on pulling to your belly instead of your chest. Because if you try pulling to your chest and miss… it could be your teeth.
Here’s another quick review of kipping chest to bar — do’s and don’ts:
For even more chest to bar pull-up videos, here is our entire playlist on YouTube.
Drills for strict (and kipping) chest to bar pull-up strength
Building strength for strict chest to bar pull-ups is never a bad idea; the strength gains are also going to translate into you kipping C2B’s as well. Let’s take a look at two of my favorite drills to build strict strength.
More often than not, athletes are missing the strength to pull those last few inches — the end of the movement. The fix? Work the full range of motion (of a chest to bar pull-up) under load.
C2B Drill #1: Single Arm Bent Over Row
Pick a dumbbell weight that is going to allow you to do about 6-8 reps on both sides with fatiguing. With the dumbbell in one hand, bend over so that your chest is square to the ground and the spine is flat, and pull the weight back to your side, hold, and lower back down. Here’s a quick demo:
C2B Drill #2: Lat Pull Downs
If you have a lat pull-down machine to use, that’s great! If not, try looping a band around the top of the pull-up rig, and putting a PVC pipe through the other side of the band — mimicking a lat pull-down machine. Like Coach Ben is doing below, sit on the floor and pull-down, fully engaging your lats.
You may have done different kinds of lat pull-downs in the past, but the key when specifically working on chest to bar strength is to be pulling the full range of motion under tension, and getting that PVC pipe all the way down to your chest line.
Chest to bar pull-up modifications
There are a few drills that I recommend athletes trying out if they can’t quite get chest to bar pull-ups, but want to still work on them during workouts.
Banded chest to bar pull-ups — strict and kipping
Another option is to go the double band route — a drill that Coach Brent recently cooked up. The concept is the same, except this time loop two bands around the pull-up bar — fairly wide on the bar, outside of where you will grip. Then pull both the bands down and together, creating an overlapping loop for you to stick your feet it. Unlike a single band — you won’t be getting a band in your face, and it allows for the full arch part of the movement.
Disclaimer: While banded movements are great alternatives when learning new movements, don’t let the band become a crutch! Make sure you’re doing a variety of drills, and not always grabbing that band when you see pull-ups programmed. Don’t be like this guy.
Normal kipping pull-ups
Chest to bar pull-ups: wrapping up
Hopefully this gave you a good idea how to execute a chest to bar pull-up. what you might need to work on, and how you can work on them. If you are looking for even more free pull-up coaching, check out our free guides here.
Good luck — try out some of the drills, and let me know how it goes!
About the Author Ben
The CEO and Head Coach at WODprep, Ben is passionate about helping fitness athletes of all abilities get their competitive edge and learn new skills! He’s currently living in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two dogs, and whenever possible the two love to travel and explore new places around the world (and meet new WODprep athletes).
В Crossfit огромное количество упражнений и типов нагрузки. Для быстроты написания тренировочных программ, были придуманы определенные сокращения и термины, которые могут поставить в тупик новичков. Мы постараемся постепенно познакомить своих читателей со всеми существующими в Crossfit специфическими терминами.
– это, пожалуй, наиболее часто встречаемое сокращение, с которого новички начинают своё знакомство с Crossfit. «Workout of the day», или «Тренировка дня» — набор упражнений, из которых состоит тренировочный комплекс.
– (rounds, reps) – количество раундов/повторений/кругов.
– круговая лесенка. С каждым последующим кругом, количество упражнений увеличивается на единицу. Задача – выполнить как можно больше кругов, при этом результатом будет считаться сумма всех повторений за все время работы.
– (As fast as possible) – так быстро, как это возможно.
– (As many reps/rounds as possible) – выполнить как можно больше повторений/раундов за отведенное время.
– (Every minute of the minute) – каждую минуту в начале минуты. Необходимо выполнять определенное количество заданных упражнений. Например, комплекс рассчитан на 10 минут, каждую минуту начинать с выполнения 3х взятий на грудь в сед и 5ти бёрпи. Отдых до конца минуты.
- AS (air Squats)
- ATG (ass to grass)
— глубокий присед, как можно ниже к земле
- BJ (box jump)
— запрыгивания на коробку
- BS (back squat)
— приседания со штангой на спине
- CLN (clean)
— взятие штанги на грудь в сед
- C&J (clean and jerk)
— подъем на грудь и толчок
- C2B pull-ups (chest to bar pull-ups)
— подтягивания до груди
- DHP (sumo deadlift high pool)
— тяга к подбородку сумо
- DL (deadlift)
- HSPU (hand-stand push-up)
— отжимания в стойке на руках
- F2O (from the floor to overhead)
— подъем снаряда из положения «на полу» в положение «над головой»
- FS (front squat)
— фронтальное приседание (приседание со штангой на груди)
- K2E (knees to elbows)
— колени к локтям
- KBS (kettlebell swing)
- MetCon (metabolic conditioning workout)
- MP (military press)
- MU (muscle ups)
— выходы, чаще всего подразумеваются выходы на кольцах. Для выходов на турнике используют обозначение Bar MU.
- OHS (overhead squat)
— присед со штангой над головой
- PC (power clean)
— силовое взятие штанги на грудь
- PP (push press)
- PSN (power snatch)
— силовой рывок штанги, рывок в стойку
- PU (pull-ups)
- RD ( ring dip)
— отжимания на кольцах
- T2B (toes to bar)
— носки к перекладине, подносы ног к перекладине
- TGU (turkish getting up)
- WB (wall-balls)
— броски медицинского мяча в стену на определенную высоту
В кроссфите используется различное оборудование и сокращения его обозначающие. Например, GHD (glute-ham developer) — тренажер для проработки мышц кора, бицепса бедра и подколенных сухожилий. С помощью GHD выполняется упражнение, которое сокращенно называется GHR (glute-ham raiser) — наклоны вперед.
Несмотря на то, что кроссфит был придуман в США, он стал настолько популярен в нашей стране, что мы все чаще можем видеть некоторые сокращения на русском языке, например:
ЗКМБР (аналог AMRAP) — закончить как можно больше раундов
ЛР — личный рекорд
ПМ — повторный максимум
Как же запомнить все? Ответ прост — чаще ходите на тренировки!
Что, между прочим, означает — You’ll be fine! Все будет отлично!
Перевод LB в кг
Как мы уже сказали, Crossfit пришел к нам из США, где вес измеряется в фунтах, и в комплексах мы обычно видим загадочные сочетания цифр и букв LB (lb). Конечно, не будешь ходить на каждую тренировку с калькулятором, чтобы перевести фунты в килограммы, поэтому, в качестве бонуса, мы предлагаем нашу CrossWorld-шпаргалку, которую можно распечатать и носить с собой в зал.