This video series provides a fresh look at skill-transfer exercises and midline stability, combining the powers of Kelly Starrett and gymnast Carl Paoli. Both San Francisco CrossFit coaches use their expertise to refine basic CrossFit movements with the aim of improving power output.
In Part 5, the coaches examine the pull-up.
“It’s almost like a good pull-up reinforces his overhead position,” Starrett says as Paoli demonstrates the proper body position: active shoulders with elbow pits facing forward, neutral wrists, rib cage in and down, belly tight, and butt squeezed. When Paoli releases tension and breaks position, he falls into overextension and a grip that will likely tear his hands. Starrett says the broken position doesn’t allow the shoulder to safely support weight overhead, ultimately leaving the shoulder vulnerable to injury.
“The Position” is the same in the pull-up as it is in the push-up, kettlebell swing, straight jump, muscle-up and a multitude of other movements.
“Suddenly, pull-ups become a very potential skill-transfer exercise for my overhead positioning,” Starrett says.
Additional reading: Kipping Pull-Ups by Greg Glassman, published April 1, 2005.