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Pull-Up Virtuosity: Part 1 by Laurie Galassi - CrossFit Journal

Pull-Up Virtuosity: Part 1

By Laurie Galassi

In CrossFit, Gymnastics/Tumbling, Reference, Videos

January 29, 2012

Video Article

CrossFit Santa Cruz’s Laurie Galassi, a gymnast and the fifth-place finisher at the 2011 NorCal Regional, shares her coaching tips for mastering the pull-up. In Part 1 of the series, she focuses on body shape.

A fast, efficient pull-up has three key ingredients, she says: the hollow-body position, the appropriate grip on the bar and the right timing.

“This arch is an opening of the shoulders. It has very little to do with your lower back,” Galassi explains. “If your ribs come out, it means that your butt’s not turned on.”

Tension in the entire body and keeping it locked in one piece is the first part of the lesson.

“It is how fast can you get from one shape to the other—that’s what’s going to make you pull,” she says. “Any delay, any bent piece of your body, you’ll completely stop moving. And at that point, the pull-up’s over.”

She adds: “Going from the tight arch to a hollow is the pull-up.”

Next, she talks grip, as well as the timing of the pull.

“Think about coming to a really distinct end shape: … your feet are in front of you. Open up those shoulders!”

12min 38sec

Additional reading: Above the Bar: A Weekend Pull-Up Summit by Lisa Ilka Abrams, published Dec. 8, 2011.

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23 Comments on “Pull-Up Virtuosity: Part 1”


Frank DiMeo wrote …

Very clear instruction, thanks!


wrote …

I love seeing instructors teaching the kipping pull-up properly in a nice tight hollow position. Not the broken big hip drive that they teach in the Level 1 and that we see so much in CF. Laurie is right on track with Carl, KStarr, and Tucker in my book.


wrote …

A thought, is it right for a coach to say that it doesn't matter which grip you use. I would think that the "non thumb over" grip is pretty dangerous when doing fast and explosive kipping pull ups. You're much more likely to fall fram the bar if you don't put your thumb over it.


wrote …

Agree with Daniel. The info covered at the L1 Cert. seems at odds with what KStarr, et al. Are teaching. A little consistency would be nice.


wrote …

Excellent video!Would love to see Laurie do a tutorial on the muscle-up.


wrote …

Having taught a hell of alot of first timers to do pullups i find it easier to teach the old broken hip version first and then teach them the hollow body after that. Definitely thumb around though. Seen too many people stack it with suicide grip.
Good video.


wrote …

An excellent part one. I look forward to the next session. And, I too, would love to see a session on doing muscle-ups.


wrote …

There are three powers in the mastery of teaching: the power of understanding, the power of sympathy, the power to communicate. Ms. Galassi has a lock on all three, in my opinion. Once again, thank you for the video CrossFit, and thank you for your mastery, Ms. Galassi.


wrote …

Great video!

Looking forward to see a video with instructions for all of us with "bad" shoulders who is forced to use the supinated grip.



replied to comment from Daniel Brönsink

+1 on this comment.


replied to comment from Michael Kruse

I'd be interested in a video exploring that too.


wrote …

Such good,clear instruction.I may get it yet!


Jon Oh wrote …

Great video. Waiting for the next video. Also, someone once told me, if you have an opposable thumb, use it :)


wrote …

need second video you left us hanging .....on the pullup bar


wrote …

Great instruction Laurie thanks! I will get my first unassisted pull-up yet!


wrote …

Question. At (5.19) when Laurie was cueing hanging on the bar, making your body long, and having your ears near your shoulders; is that at odds with the 'active' shoulders, screwed into the socket cue that I understood to be better for joint stability? I get that making a longer body is better from a physics/biomechanics viewpoint because it is utilising a longer lever and therefore generating more momentum, but it safe and 'good to go'?


replied to comment from James Dowling

James, check out Kelly and Carl on MWOD #360. They discuss this in pretty good detail. Shoulders in your ears and shoulder screwed in are different ways to achieve the same position.


wrote …

Nice but why can't they ever show the entire thing? It is an instructional video.


replied to comment from Brian Ross

Thanks Brian. Knowledge gap filled.


wrote …

Great video! After watching this video my pull ups feel tighter. Paying attention to squeezing my butt and not overextending my low back really helped give that connectedness and allowed me to get my most kipping pull ups in a row to date. Thanks!


replied to comment from murry zborowski

same thought


wrote …

The link to these videos are broken.


wrote …

@Ross I found the links broken too, but it's on youtube

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