Quick Overview: A butterfly pull-up enables the combined training of strength, endurance, and coordination. Learn what butterfly pull-ups are, who they are for, and how the correct execution works.
What is the butterfly pull-up?
The butterfly pull-up is a common variant of the pull-up that allows you to perform more repetitions in a shorter time due to the dynamic nature of the exercise. Like the kipping pull-up, the butterfly pull-up is also characterized by a dynamic pull-up movement. The butterfly pull-up is also characterized by the dynamic change between a hollow and an arch position.
The big difference between kipping and butterfly pull-ups is in the shape of the movement. When kipping pull-up, a crescent-shaped movement is performed. This results in a change of direction with each repetition. With the butterfly pull-up, on the other hand, a cyclical movement is carried out that always goes in the same direction.
Important Tip: The butterfly pull-up is an extension of the kipping pull-up. Successful execution of the kipping pull-up is therefore essential in order to learn the butterfly pull-up.
Who are butterfly pull-ups for?
While the classic pull-up training is reduced to increasing strength, a butterfly pull-up improves strength, speed, and strength endurance. For this reason, this variation of pull-ups is particularly popular in Crossfit training.
Butterfly pull-ups, however, are not suitable for beginners. In our opinion, you should do at least 5 clean pull-ups before attempting the butterfly pull-up. The reason is that with a butterfly pull-up (in contrast to the classic pull-up) you push yourself away from the bar and perform rotating movements. This is particularly stressful for the shoulder joints and can lead to serious injuries, especially if done incorrectly.
Due to the rotating movement, butterfly pull-ups invite you to use the momentum for the next pull-up. However, it is essential that a butterfly pull-up is also performed in a controlled manner. If someone can already do 10 or more classic pull-ups, a butterfly pull-up offers the opportunity to combine strength and coordination training. Beginners should initially be satisfied with the classic training on the pull-up bar.
Correct execution of butterfly pull-ups
By using our entire body and in particular the explosive power of the hip opening, we transform the pull-up from a strength-oriented exercise into a fitness-oriented or strength-endurance-oriented exercise.
In contrast to the classic pull-up, you push yourself away from the pull-up bar when you pull it up. Once at the top, move towards the pull-up bar and then lower your body. This creates a circular movement which, if done correctly, is a very efficient whole-body workout, but if done incorrectly, it can cause enormous damage to the shoulder joints.
By not only loading the work on the small biceps and lat muscles but also involving additional, larger muscle groups, we increase the power output while reducing fatigue at the same time.
But be careful: without a basic strength – we’re talking about the ability to perform several strict pull-ups in one sentence – the kipping versions should not be tackled. Otherwise, the risk of injuries, especially in the shoulder girdle, is too high. The whole thing is not as easy as it might look in the above video – the butterfly pull-up, in particular, requires an excellent sense of rhythm, explosive and core strength, and perfect body tension. Nothing can be learned in a day.
Our training tip: To begin with, concentrate on moving your legs and imagine you are cycling backward. Then take your hips with you more and more and feel how you reach closer to the bar just by flexing and opening your hips. First of all, the height doesn’t matter! Practice the right rhythm of lower body movement and pay attention to constant core tension. Only then do you involve a slight pull of your arm so that your chin protrudes over the bar. Prepare yourself for many hours of training on pull-up bars – it will pay off in the WOD!
In most cases, it will appear almost impossible or simply difficult to understand what you are supposed to do. Once you have mastered the movement patterns and metaphorically “unlocked” the neural pathways that enable you to perform them, they will become second nature to you.
To strengthen your foundation, we would recommend focusing on mobility and strength first. The butterfly pull-up is a good way to economically increase the number of repetitions for pull-up movements. However, It is important to have a solid base, namely the kipping pull-up.