Perfecting the pull-up – Part One

Do resistance bands really help with pull-ups?
Short answer, No. They’re likely hindering them.

  1.  Bands do not develop strength throughout the FULL RANGE OF MOTION in the pull up.  Bands help the most when you’re at the bottom, when elastic potential is the greatest. This might help if your sticking point is getting out of the bottom, but most people have a tough time at the TOP, getting their chin to the bar (all while maintaining proper shoulder positioning).  Thus, if your sticking point is anywhere in the upper half of the movement, bands are NOT going to help much

2.  Using bands for your Met. Con./WOD is counterproductive!  If you are unable to link several strict pullups together, by definition, the pullup will be anaerobic/strength based movement for you. As such, when performing your Met Con/ WOD, choosing a regression that develops your pull-up throughout the FULL range of motion (see #1), like ring-rows, will set you up for success in two ways.  First, it will allow you to complete your designed reps scheme unbroken, developing your met. conditioning as designed by your coach. Second, it will allow you maintain and develop the ideal hollow-body positioning needed to develop core strength needed to progress to more complicated movements like kipping, chest-2bars and bar-muscleups.

3.  Kipping pull up with bands is just unsafe!!!  Back to point #2, if you are using bands to assist your pullups you probably lack the necessary upper body strength to maintain the proper stable scapular position need for a safe kipping pullup.  Adding a band to an already weak, and now fatigued muscle group is a recipe for injury. People often gravitate towards the kipping pullup because they lack the necessary strength to link together multiple strict pullups.  Thus, the use of momentum generated in the kipping pullup to get that chin to the bar is enticing.  But, often overlooked in the kip is the eccentric, or lowering phase.  If proper scapular stability is not maintained in this eccentric phase of the kip, shearing forces within the shoulder compartment are immense.  As such, a properly developed upper back, shoulder, latz, AND AN efficient kip is vital for long term health and performance.

Stay tuned for Part 2: 6 Ways to develop your pull-up.