Guide To Chest To Bar Pull Ups
One of the dreaded exercises in CrossFit is the Chest To Bar Pull Up, aka C2B Pull Ups.
Especially if you can’t do a pull up or chin up. There’s no mystery behind the C2B pull up but there is technique. Once you understand how your body needs to move, you can start doing them correctly and avoid injury.
Is there a difference between a pull up and C2B pull up? Yes. A pull up, also known as a chin up, is when you hold onto a bar and pull yourself up. You go as far as bringing your chin on top of the bar. C2B is similar to the pull up only you’re pulling yourself up higher so that your chest touches the bar.
What’s In This Guide?
How To Do A C2B Pull Up
C2B is not about just arching your back to get your chest high in order to touch the bar. It’s pulling yourself up in such a way that you maintain a neutral spine while bringing your elbows back as if you were doing ring rows.
When executing the movement, you want to make sure you keep your trunk (belly and butt) tight; shoulders strong; your head in a neutral position; and your feet together.
As you pull yourself up, you want to maintain those positions while bringing your elbows back behind you and shoulders into extension.
Your C2B’s begin deteriorating once you start arching your back; tilting your head back, and letting your feet go all over the place. When working on form, start slow and take your time.
Related: Top 6 Best Outdoor Pull Up Bars
C2B Pull Up Video
How To Work Your Way Up To C2B Pull Ups
If you’ve never done C2B, there are exercises you can do to help you progress.
Some of them are:
- Shoulder position – You want to make sure that your scapula (shoulder blades) are in a strong position. That means they should be back and down. Once you become aware of how your body should be positioned, you can go on to the next progression.
- Ring rows – These are good beginner gymnastics movement to help build upper bodystrength. With rings, your focus is going to be on the scapula and shoulders. Perform rows with your feet further from the anchor point if you’re a beginner. As you start getting stronger, you can move your feet closer to the anchor point for more of a challenge. Gymnastic rings can also be a great addition to your home gym to help further improve your shoulder mobility.
- Inverted rows – You’ll need a smith machine for this one. With the bar set low (about your arm’s length from the floor), place your hands on it at a little more than shoulder width. The bar should be right above your chest. Your body can be straight or you can keep your knees bent. Your trunk needs to be kept tight and strong. From the floor, proceed to pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar.
- Band work – Using resistance bands for assistance, attempt to do C2B as if you didn’t have them. Here you want to keep in mind everything you’ve read earlier as far as form.
If you’re not at the level you feel you should be, don’t get discouraged. Everything takes practice. And like a lot of CrossFit worthy exercises, this one will be challenging. C2B’s are not as easy as some make them look. And those same people will admit that it took practice to get where they are.
Once you’ve practiced all the above and have gotten proficient at them, you can start doing C2B pull ups without assistance.
Kipping Pull Ups
There are ways that the C2B pull up can be more efficient, like with the Kippingpull up. For those in non-CrossFit world, this type of pullup seems like a cheat. It basically uses momentum to help you achieve chest to bar faster. However, in CrossFit faster is seen as efficient.
Kippingpullup requires that you already have built the strength necessary to do pull ups. This is essential since poor form during a Kippingpull up can actually result in injury. Having the strength to do regular pull ups allows you to do Kipping. So it is recommended that you do not see Kipping as a way to achieve C2B, rather use this technique to achieve C2B faster once you have mastered pull ups. For more on Kippingpull ups check out this resource.
How To Make C2B’s More Challenging
If you’ve mastered the C2B and are looking to make it more challenging, try adding weights. You can put on a weighted vest and see how that works. You can also put on ankle weights keeping in mind that your feet need to be together.
As athletes, we strive to be better at whatever sport we choose. We push ourselves beyond our comfort zones and break barriers. Go get working on your C2B pull ups.