Jumping pull ups have some very unique advantages as a scaling option for the pull up or kipping pull up.  We have traditionally used the ring row as a substitute for pull ups in a WOD.  Although we think ring rows are good for building some of the musculature necessary to do pull ups, we think the jumping pull up will yield a better result as you progress into the strict or kipping pull up.   And by the way, jumping pull ups are NOT easy when you do them in volume.  For anyone that has done the “Filthy Fifty” WOD, you know just how bad those 50 jumping pull ups get.  Which leads us to reason number one to do jumping pull ups:

  1.  There is a metabolic element in doing jumping pull ups as we are using a large amount of muscle and energy systems (hips, legs, back, arms and core).  When doing jumping pull ups in volume such as in a WOD, the heart rate becomes elevated which further develops our metabolic conditioning and stamina.
  2. During workouts that involve pull-ups, many athletes may have limitations in strength or skill that makes doing a pull up difficult.  We have traditionally used ring rows to scale down the movement, however this does not correlate to a vertical pulling movement as much as the jumping pull-up.  We have used bands to assist in the pull up movement as well.  Bands are ok and we will continue to use this method, but banded pull ups slow down the transitions during a WOD which in turn lowers our intensity.  Bands also cause us to lose body awareness (see point #4 below) Integrating jumping pull-ups into scaled WODs in place of ring rows can increase muscle growth of critical muscles and enhance angular strength, both specific to the pull-up.
  3. As mentioned above, the jumping pull-up can be used as a progression for the pull-up with individuals who may lack the muscle mass, control, or strength to perform regular pull-ups. By using the jumping pull-up, we are working on proper joint actions used during the upper body pulling movement (retraction, scapular depression, etc) and we can target the exact muscle groups needed to perform strict pull-ups (forearms for grip strength and stamina, core for midline control, and the back and arms.)  For those wanting to do pull up work as part of their extra work, consider holding at the top as well as a slow and controlled negatives back to the start of the movement.
  4. Body control and awareness is key to not only getting a strict pull-up, but also for increased efficiency and performance in athletic movements, especially gymnastics, kipping work, and muscle ups. Increasing body control and awareness of your body in space are two attributes that can be accomplished by doing jumping pull-ups.  In addition, core stability and midline control skills are also developed which will correlate to other gymnastics and bodyweight movements.

And finally, be patient and enjoy the process.  We realize some people can walk into the gym and do pull ups, while it may take others months to get one. We think that building a healthy foundation will lead to you being able to “work out for time” for many, many years to come.