High Bar/Pull Up Bar Variations

  • Database of CrossFit WODs - Pull Up WorkoutGrip – using the thumb
  • Stretch – many approaches, but the stretch and warm up should meet the demands of the programming don’t get stuck in a rut with the same stretch
  • Flexibility – huge part of what we do in CF, and everyone overlooks this
  • Pull ups and chin ups need to be in your basic strength training….  Period!!!
  • Dead hang chin ups/ Scaled power bands / or negatives
  • Dead Hang pull ups/ Scaled power bands / or negatives
  • Momentum – sometimes we use it sometimes we don’t
  • KTE – knees to elbow – we do this move strictly for the cert to engage core without momentum
  • Ball Up – tuck toward inversion, larger strength move tuck under bar
  • Pass through –  can be done on a bar but flexibility is needed, easier on rings because we have no horizontal plane like a bar to manipulate under
  • Kipping / Scaled power bands
  • Inversion Progressions
  • Dislocates
  • Skin the cat / pull back through to dead hang on bar and rings
  • L-sit raise – Dead hangs
  • L-sit pull ups
  • Wipers – Around the worlds, can be done with obstacle or not
  • KTE / Ball Up
  • Muscle Ups / strict, scaled, with false grip, or with kip
  • Back Levers / scaled with tuck, vertical lowered with degrees, spots, and full on
  • Front Levers / scaled with tuck, vertical lowered with degrees, spots, and full on
  • Ice Cream Makers’ / pop out to front lever
  • Iron Cross / scaled with leverage and degrees of strength requirement


Ring Transitions:

  • Spot from behind using waist to spot – do NOT grab rings
  • Supports – rings parallel to body
  • Support with 45 degree turnout
  • Support with turnouts – tuck body – then l-sit holds
  • Support with parallel  – tuck – l-sit
  • Ring dips – scale with bands
  • Planche ring dips – dip maintain 45 degree turnout
  • Planks
  • V-outs
  • Pushups
  • Ins and Outs then Rights and Lefts – in lower support push up with rings 10 inches off the ground
  • Then both arms – tuff movement

Grip: Is key in gymnastic movements… for this cert we will train with thumbs around the bar, and around the rings… always have your thumb around the bar we spent millions of years developing the opposable thumbs, lets try and use these to our advantage shall we…   You will notice increased grip strength and you will also increase your safety level exponentially by using your thumbs!  It took our ancestors millions of years to develop the opposable thumb – we should take advantage of it.

Stretching:  Maintain your flexibility – it will always serve you well and allow you to become more agile in your movements – this will transfer into all of your CF WOD’s  We will go over many stretches to use for warm ups – and there are a plethora of fantastic resources for good stretching techniques.  Seek out the experts and use these skills – I tell people you should stretch every day, twice a day, make it part of your routine!  In short – We stretch 20 to 30 seconds per controlled stretch with most movements being focused on wide full body rotations and static stretches.  We do so before during and after our workouts where gymnastics’ is the focus.  Below Gillian has graciously put together a FAQ and examples of stretches we use for the cert.

Kipping: There are many videos out on this movement on CF, we will only demonstrate the most efficient form for this movement.  It is an important element for CF and it needs to be shown, demonstrated, and trained properly to prevent injury to the body but also to allow metcon workouts to be performed quickly when using kipping momentum.  Our technique is based on an open and closed movement of the chest as the beginning progression for the kipping…  We will show you how the gymnastic straight leg kip is utilized and how its efficiency works for chin to the bar or chest to the bar.  The bent knee kip can be used as well with our progression.

  • A kip starts with an individual being able to complete dead hang chin ups and demonstrating controlled strength for the movement.  Without proper strength you risk injury.  This needed strength will be very helpful for the  and eccentric
  • Knowing how to begin the movement or swing with the open (forward momentum of the chest) and the closed movement (reverse movement of the back) will create your momentum.  Practice the kipping swing and become efficient at it first – find your kinesthetic / body awareness.
  • The kip starts with a small movement then becomes larger one as the open and closed body form is well executed.  The kipping swing needs to be achieved and then you will add yet another element, a hollow form on the closed part of the swing.
  • Hollow/Closed form on the kipping swing – Knowing how to combine the open and closed position, with a hollow body position in the swing itself – allows the load to be transferred above the bar.  It is important to note that body position and swing create a heavier load, but the efficiency of this kip will allow for better management of the created load.
  • This gymnastic kip is executed without initiating the swing from the lower legs and without opening or closing the hip; this merely creates uncontrolled momentum and a pendulum swing on the bar.  It is initiated from the open/closed form of the upper body momentum with a solid hollow body position, body awareness, good timing, fluid movement, and repetitive training.
  • Once the nuances of the requirements for strength, active muscles, properly created momentum, fluid kipping swing, open and closed forms, and hollow finish out is digested… Then repetitive attempts to gain timing are needed and can be achieved over time…
  • Power bands can be used to train the body position and develop kinesthetic awareness and develop timing, a fluid swing, and certainly to scale load created by this movement.
  • Some tips for you and cues to use will be discussed in class and during demonstrations.


  • Safety
  • Supports
  • Inversions
  • Ring position / strap position / arms close to the body
  • False grip
  • Muscle Up progression – training the muscle memory
  • Muscle UP
  • Iron Cross variations/progressions
  • Ring transitions
  • Spotting
  • Types of rings – wood verses plastic – tapping rings
  • Using the hollow in ring movements and or tight arch

Dynamic vs. Static training apparatus:  Rings are fun, but they can be dangerous if you have not checked out your client’s abilities on such apparatus. Make sure that you have seen your clients’ stability control on a static plane before allowing clients to use rings…  Core control and strength are needed for all of the moves on rings, even simple support moves.  I like to make sure that clients have shown me good push up, dead hang pull ups, good dips on dip stations before we move to a dynamic training on rings.

Inversion:  Getting comfortable upside down holding on to stuff – nuff said!

I will show you how to do this…  You will take lots of notes  J  Spotting is everything in getting people comfortable on rings and into these movements.

False grip:  Let’s just say this…  It is needed and you will learn it and we can give you tips on protecting your writs and hands…  for the false grip and the damage it can do to wrists – say like when you do 30 of them!

Muscle ups:  Scalability of this movement will allow you to train it properly and thus result in learning how to train your muscle groups to perform this movement.  We can teach you a muscle up transition in 60 seconds!


  • Spotting – Controlled kick up – Controlled falling
  • Lunge – spotting the lunge from compromised to standing positions
  • Balance is found from the wrist up to the knuckles once body form is achieved
  • Using the hollow
  • Chin positions – neutral to looking at the floor
  • Head Stands – pros and cons
  • Handstands – how to lunge and kick up to your spot
  • Body position, width of hands, hollow body, active shoulders, head positions, legs together, toes pointed
  • Wall support – kicking up – walking up –
  • Pulling from wall to balance on the floor and parallettes
  • HSPU – Hand Stand Push Ups
  • ROM  – handstand on the ground with head touching and pressing up
  • EROM – handstand on elevated platform and letting head drop below then pressing up
  • Power Bands harness – self spotting technique
  • Straddle Press Handstands
  • One armed balance work

Exit strategy out of a fall is to turn hips immediately and brings legs pointed back behind you to standing support; basically this is a reverse lung or back out of a cartwheel but it is controlled.  Another method is forward roll – but this is basic tumbling and requires strict form and good teaching and repetition.  One can enroll in a basic gymnastic class and learn this skill. 

Forward roll:  Why do I need to know how to do a forward roll?  Because you need to know how to fall with control, you may also need to know how to have an exit strategy from a handstand.    Important to note that we will dissect this movement fully so it will integrate into a handstand forward roll and much must be explained and executed properly for protection to the cervical spine…  We must observe, practice, and learn this movement and know how to spot it safely, learn how to cue it safely, and learn how to use it properly.

Handstands:  We get many questions about this process – we will break this down precisely and show how to use various scale movements for HSPU’s, HS inversion holds, and how to use your body to work toward perfect from.  Whether u are using a wall, power bands, or a spotter to perform a handstand you must always push for form in handstands…  Repetition will be key for this movement as it will for all gymnastic drills.. Patience also comes into play…  Continual patience will be key as you work toward good form.  Perfection is the goal but never achieved, form – form – form and repetition.

Parallettes and Body Movements


  • Spotting
  • Blocking
  • Tuc supports
  • L-sit and progression – 5 second holds
  • Tucked V-sits
  • Planche tuc holds
  • Push Ups and the EROM
  • Handstands
  • Press Handstands

Parallettes:  The mini parallel bar equivalent is an awesome tool to use in your strength development for body weight work… make this tool part of your daily warm up or put it into your WOD.  The progressions for such will again have transference into your movements for gymnastics and CF – for both strength control gains and advanced movements…

When using these apparatus – again a word of caution, you want to make sure that those you are training have the strength for these moves basic or advanced.

 Implementation of Gymnastic Work for your programming:  There are many ways to add such instruction for your programming…  If you follow the WOD on line with HQ then be aware that you implement proper scalability for newbie’s and even your fire breathers.  Always assess your clients and do not press them once fatigue sets in – save to train such moves when clients are more rested if you need to…  Always assess these moves as cfers work them and strive for form and strength, not mere repetition.   Rest can be your friend and in some cases is needed – so be smart about programming gymnastic drills.  Feel free to have a gymnastic day, keep it fresh and have fun with it