Stronger Shoulders for Pull Ups

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Stronger Shoulders for Pull Ups | Week 63 | Movement Fix Monday

Improving your movement isn't always about just improving mobility. If your goal is to do snatching, overhead squats, pull ups, etc, once you have the amount of mobility in your thoracic spine and shoulders that you need to perform those movements safely, you should be focusing on a few things:

  1. Maintain your shoulder/upper back mobility
  2. Improve tissue strength
  3. Improve endurance
  4. Improve motor control

Everyone focuses 99% of their energy on improving mobility, even if they already have what they need!

I wrote this week's post to share with you guys some stuff I have been working on myself and with patients/athletes to improve their shoulder strength and tissue resilience for things like kipping pull ups, butterfly pull ups, bar muscle ups, and similar movements.

One of the movements we could build up is the negative of a strict pull up. Not just a bodyweight negative, not a weighted negative, but beginning to work on a single arm negative. If you can do a single arm negative pull up, your shoulders are plenty strong to handle the loading in a kipping pull up.

How to do it?

To perform this negative, jump up to the pull up bar. I like my palms facing each other, so one hand is overhand the other is underhand.

Assuming you are grabbing the bar with both hands equally, you are holding 50% of your weight in the right arm and 50% in the left arm.

Transfer some load from one arm into the other (say 60% R and 40% L). Slowly lower yourself to the bottom of the pull up and jump down (aim for 5-8 seconds). Wait 20 seconds and repeat on the other side. Take 1 minute rest. For your first few exposures to this, stay under 5 reps per side until you know how you respond. This can make your muscles and tendon very sore, so please use good judgment and do NOT overdose on your first exposure. You have been warned.

How do you know what percentage side-to-side to use?

The negative of the rep should take 5-8 seconds. The percentage is based on that. If 70/30 is so much load that you can only hold for 2 seconds, go to 60/40, etc etc.

How Often Should Someone Do This?

I program this for myself 1x/week.

Post your experience with this to the comments!

Thanks for reading,


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