Chest to Bar Pull-ups: All too often we see the chest to bar pull-up become a huge stalling point for athletes; even ones who are reasonably good at normal pull-ups, and they needn’t be if we understand the standard for the movement and how to execute them correctly.
With the open around the corner you can be assured that if there are pull-ups in this years event that they will be chest to bar – why? Chest to bar pull-ups are a cut and dry movement to judge; there is a definitive start and finish position that even inexperienced judges should be able to identify. They also offer a step up in difficulty that helps to sort out the masses.
The first mistake I see athletes make with the chest to bar pull-up is that they take the description way too literally, meaning they are trying to slam their chest into the bar at or even below nipple height. This is all well and good if you’re trying to develop explosive pulling power but in a competition situation, it makes no sense to do more than the required standard, which is to contact the bar below the height of the collar bone.
The second mistake is that athletes totally modify the mechanics of their pull-up in order to achieve contact with the bar. This could be caused by a lack of understanding of standards (refer to mistake number 1) or that they have a deficiency in their strength or technique with the standard pull-up. A good chest to bar pull-up should simply be an extension of the range of motion of a standard pull-up. If you do this, you will find that aside from a bit of extra effort there should be no issues with losing your rhythm or being unable to string multiple reps together.
If you fall into this category, then my advice is to be patient and think less about the end goal as opposed to the steps in getting there. Also, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and work on building extra strength and technique and before you know it you will be surpassing anything you have done in the past.