So you have your pull-ups, but you’re experiencing pain in the low back and elbows, why is this happening? It’s time to take a closer look at your pull-up technique. It is very common for CrossFitters to be so eager and hyper-focused on getting their first pull-up that they develop bad habits which can result in a lot of pain. Below are 3 common mistakes made with doing a CrossFit Pull-up or wod with kipping pull-ups included.
1. The Infamous Elbow Flair
Sometimes we can be so focused on our kick and hips when doing our pull-up that we forget about our pull with the arms. When this happens you may notice your elbows start to creep out and flare away from your body. This often causes elbow pain, especially when attempting to string butterfly pull-ups, or bar muscle ups. What’s the quick fix? Point your elbows to the ground. Don’t allow them to creep right or left away from your body.
2. Arching For The Sky!
I am very familiar with this pull-up mistake, in fact I recently had extremely bad lower back pain caused from focusing so much on the kip for my butterfly pull-up that I forgot to brace in my abdomen to protect my back. When you are extremely focused on kipping and just “Getting up there” you can forget about form, technique, and your back! Yes even on pull-ups you have to keep your back in mind. At the top of your pull-up when you are closest to the bar, it is very important that you keep your low back and hips working together. If you find yourself breaking into a dramatic arch at the top of your pull-up then you are asking for an injury. Instead of breaking your back position, think about bracing with your abdominal at the top. This should help you keep your alignment and even help you improve your pull-up.
3. Sticky Shoulders!
Have you ever jumped on to the bars, got in position for that perfect pull-up, and you string 1, 2, and the third just won’t happen? This could be a sign that you need to work on your shoulder mobility. If your shoulders are stiff then it can be extremely hard to push away from the bar at the top of your pull-up so that you can get in a really good position for another pull-up. Think about two parts of your kipping pull-up 1) pushing your head through your arms at the hang position of your pull-up and 2) pushing away from the bar at the top. These two parts are extremely important to stringing together consecutive pull-ups.
Hopefully these tips have helped answer some of your pull-up questions, if you still need a little more help checkout the video below!