How do you make a pull-up better? Add some air between your hands and the bar as you get to the top, that’s how. Pull-ups and explosiveness are critical skills to prep you for when Tough Mudder comes into town, but are also a great way to develop overhead pulling power, which is not easy to do.
Enter the Explosive Pull-up…
3 Explosive Pull-up Benefits:
- Explosive Strength. Explosive strength in the upper body is difficult to train, especially when you want to build it to be practical.
- Grip Strength. What goes up must come down, returning to the bar and slowing yourself down happens repeatedly during a Tough Mudder.
- Practicality. The pull-up movement is used across several obstacles from Classic and up. Practice makes perfect and while the pull-up bar is bolted to the wall, the Tough Mudder obstacles will not be so forgiving!
How to Nail an Explosive Pull-up:
- Start in a hanging pull-up position.
- As you begin the pull-up, accelerate your body so you get some momentum.
- At the top of the pull-up, keep the momentum going and as your head and shoulders pass the bar, let go of the bar.
- As your body starts to return to the ground, grab back onto the bar and control your descent back to a hanging position.
Now for the level- up question: “I can only do a few pull-ups, how do I get better?”
This is a challenging movement and will take some practice. Here are two modifications that will help you progress into a full blown explosive pull-up:
Pull-up + Reach
Start in the same position as above but once you accelerate to the top of the pull-up, let go with only one hand and reach it above the bar. On your descent, grab the bar with both hands and control yourself back into a hang.
Pull-up + Release
Begin in the same hanging position, but once you accelerate to the top of the pull-up, relax your grip on the bar with both hands (but keep your hands in-line and palms on the bar in the release). Wrap your fingers back around the bar on your descent and return to the hang.
The progressions on this movement are many and the most common is the clap pull-up. The clap pull-up is the same as the explosive pull-up but instead of a simple release, you clap your hands above the bar and return to the bar on the descent. This movement can be hazardous, so make sure that you are comfortable with the above exercises before you attempt this progression.
Mastering the explosive pull-up will help you develop upper body strength and grip strength to conquer some of the most difficult obstacles at your next Tough Mudder event. Although many of the obstacles are designed to be accomplished using teamwork from fellow Tough Mudders, practicing these skills will help you and the other participants cross the finish line.