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Crash Course: The Butterfly Kip by Chris Spealler - CrossFit Journal

In Coaching, Exercises, Gymnastics/Tumbling, Videos

January 30, 2011

Video Article

At the Rogue Vs. Again Faster Throwdown held in Lake Tahoe, Calif., Chris Spealler had the chance to coach at CrossFit Avalanche. Here’s his crash course in the butterfly kipping pull-up.

“It’s just like pedaling a bike, but backwards,” Spealler says.

Starting from a dead hang, Spealler teaches the foot movement of the butterfly kip.

“Heels to the butt is like the loaded gun,” he says. “This is what makes me go up.”

According to Spealler, the key is extending the legs while keeping the hip open. Then athletes should start to close the hip and pull up when they feel weightless. To string butterfly kips together, remember to return the heels to the butt.

It’s also important to pay attention to the direction of the pull.

“Don’t pull in; pull up,” Spealler says.

5min 55sec

Additional reading: All Other Things Being Equal: The CrossFit Fairness Doctrine by Paul Eich, published Aug. 1, 2008.

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16 Comments on “Crash Course: The Butterfly Kip”


wrote …

Good Shit!


wrote …

Yessir, very good stuff indeed.
I'm at the point where i can get up fine, but i'm, as he described, "all over the place"


wrote …

This was great. I was the guy asking about the chest to bar butterfly pull ups. Speal's advice helped a bunch. Since his visit, we have several athletes at out gym (CrossFit Avalanche) start to do butterfly pull ups. I foresee PR's being broken left and right now.

My thanks to all the Speal, Miranda for running that class the day after the Tahoe Throw down. Of course Kristen did the WOD with us with men's weight and beat everyone.


wrote …

Do you guys know where I can get those bands? Kelly S uses them as well and I have tried to find them but no luck :(
thanks for all help X-fit


replied to comment from Jakob Kostolny


Not sure whether this are exactly the same as Kelly's but don't see why they wouldn't get the job done.



John Mustafa wrote …

Thanks for the crash course! Butterfly pullups have been elusive for me, but there's some new mechanics instruction in this video that Speal breaks down in an easy to understand way. Looking forward to putting it all together.


wrote …

all it took was how to use my legs for a butterfly pull up. ive been trying it for weeks. great insight


wrote …

Can you also do a crash course on selecting a good shoulder surgeon? Thanks.


wrote …

active shoulders Darla, ACTIVE :)


wrote …

You're the man Speal! Love all the videos you do. Great teacher


replied to comment from Jakob Kostolny

You can also get the same type of bands at EliteFTS, MuscleDriver, and the Performance Menu (which carries MuscleDriver bands). The colors are different for each, but just check the width to get the right tension rating you want. For example, Iron Woody/Rogue blue = EliteFTS orange = MuscleDriver purple.


wrote …

I watched the vid once, never tried the butterfly kip before, and busted out 3 in a row. Now to work on timng and breathing...

Any insight on where the butterfly kip came fom? I've not seen it anywhere but CF.


wrote …

The kipping pull-up is a CrossFit thing as far as I know. Spealler was the first one to do the Butterfly Pull-up, first with a split bar in some globo gym. Watch it here, from 2008.

Great one, thanks! I've learn a lot from Spealler's demo vids from his gym, too.


wrote …

i wish to do things as easy like he does, nice demo


replied to comment from Vanessa Pinter

Good Lord! Incredible. Sure makes it look easy.


wrote …

To the Average Crossfitter does the Butterfly increase Strict pull up performance, can I do more? Just Curious...

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