S2E2: Are Butterfly Pull-Ups Legit?
In Episode 2 of Season 2 of the Performance Plus Podcast, Johnny and Pamela sit down to talk about butterfly pull-ups and why people hate them so much.
In this episode, we cover
- Why we should learn to do butterfly pull-ups.
- What are the prerequisites for butterfly pull-ups?
- How to develop the skill of the butterfly pull-ups.
- Why hating butterfly pull-ups is silly.
Programs and articles mentioned in this episode:
Butterfly Pull-Up Training Program
Butterfly Pull-Ups For Beginners
Developing Butterfly Pull-Up Strength and Technique
Coach Johnny and Pamela sit down to talk about butterfly pull ups and why people hate them so much.
Johnny: Pamela, do you think butterfly pull ups are a valid form of pull up and should people pursue doing them?
Pamela: Okay, kind of a double edged store question. So butterfly pull ups are a functional way to add to intensity, to get from hanging to chin above or chest to the bar. Now, people love to hate them because people in CrossFit use them in the wrong way. It is not the foundation of a pull up. It is the advanced pull up, meaning when you go to your L one for CrossFit, it’s mechanic consistency than intensity.
Butterfly pull-ups are the most way to bring intensity, meaning it’s the fastest way to do a pull up. So I love them for achieving intensity, but if you do not have control of many strict slow and control. A good test is if you can do a 5 reps of a :03 tempo up and :03 tempo down. If you can’t, you probably are jumping the gun and doing butterfly pull up way too early in your athletic career.
Johnny: I always think of them as a skill. Like a high level skill. It is the application of all this training that people are doing is to be able to apply this to a sport. It’s a sport specific movement that allows you to be fast, like, to move quickly from, like you said, hanging to over the bar. And in other sports, people don’t get crap for being their sports specific skills. Nobody gives gymnast crap for being able to do massive flips in the air on a floor routine or back walkovers on a balance beam. Those are sports specific skills that are built by doing lots of foundational movements. Why is it that everybody hates the butterfly pull up and CrossFit?
Pamela: Well, one, people look like flopping fishes because they’re not strong enough to do it correctly, so it gives it a bad name. And you’re right. Gymnasts do giants on bars. That’s a swinging movement, right. So that’s a skill specific swing. So this is a swinging movement skill specific to our sport. People don’t understand the CrossFit as a sport. And I honestly have to say that a lot of people in the everyday CrossFit class setting kind of don’t understand it either. It’s been lost in translation since 2005.If you look back the old CrossFit Journal videos you will see Nicole Carroll doing Nasty Girls with strict ring muscle ups.
Every sport evolves. Look at gymnastics in the 1940s versus the 1970s versus 2020, right. It’s evolving. Our sport has evolved, but our mentality of why it’s evolving, too many have not caught up. Okay, so when I started in 2011 and I was asking you to do a rain muscle up, it was tricks. It wasn’t even, like, an option. I didn’t learn tipping until probably a year and a half into process. So, yeah, it’s evolved, and we just have to understand why it’s evolving. And as athletes get better, we want to be more intense, but we also have to have them. Yeah. And I think that’s the people want to mimic the people that they admire, I guess. I want to go to the gym. I want to look like Risk Ronnie when I’m on the pull up bar. But the reality is I’m probably not strong enough to be doing that volume or that speed, and I should be staying within my skill set right, and developing my strict strength so I can go out there if that’s something I want to do. But that’s a hard thing to do. When you just see all these people looking so cool doing it or doing workouts really fast and you want to compete, then it blurs the lines a little bit.
Johnny: What are the prerequisites like? If you’re not a butterfly pull up hater and you do want to pursue it, what’s a number of strict pull ups or a definitive measure that people can have where they can then start pursuing butterfly pull up?
Pamela: I like to kind of stay away from numbers and look at the definitive measure of the body control. So when you say in an active hang and do very slow and controlled strict pull ups, strict chest bar is really important. You have healthy shoulders. You understand shaping of the body. So can you hold the arch and hollow on the floor? Can you create a static arch and hollow on the rig?
What I love about our butterfly pull up program is I actually go through each of butterfly pulls almost strict. So it’s like a strict butterfly pull up, and that will highlight if you’re ready or not. So those really are the prerequisites, and I love that our track shows, like, here are the stepping stones to get there, right?
So if you look at our Goals page, you’ll see, like, strict pull up chest of our mechanics, and then we evolve into the butterfly pull up. And I call it the Butterfly Training Program on Performance Plus because I want to train you how to do it correctly. And it was really important to me.
Johnny: Yeah, butterfly for loves, man. People hate them. But if you want to play the game of CrossFit and do it well, it’s a required skill that takes required. The debate will live on. How is that? The debate will live on. But I mean, at the end of the day, until you’ve done Fran in two minutes, or if you want to do Fran in two minutes, you can’t get there without doing butterfly form. So it’s kind of for the sport has to I also think do you agree with this, that if you can actually do it, control it, and do it in a great way, that it’s actually, like, really a testament to all the work you’ve done and your strength. It’s like a bicycle kick in soccer. That’s like a high level skill. That’s like the climax of a bunch of things that somebody’s worked on their entire life. You can’t just roll out on the field and do that. So butterfly pull ups, done well, are actually show that you’re stronger, not that you’re some weak cheater.
Pamela: I agree.
Johnny: Thanks for listening to this conversation, guys. If you agree or disagree, go comment on our social media, because we love it when you guys tell us about how much you hate butterfly pull ups. If you love them and want to get better at them, check out our butterfly pull-up training program inside of our app or on our website, performanceplusprogramming.com. If you have any questions about butterfly pull ups, want us to check out your videos, anything like that, feel free to DM us either at @pamelagnon on an Instagram or @PerformancePlusProgram.