4 Benefits of Butterfly Pull-Ups

In this article we will discuss in deeper detail the benefits of the butterfly pull-up, an advanced pull-up variation that helps an individual conserve energy, save time, and often perform more repetitions and increase performance at competitive fitness workouts and events.

The Butterfly Pull-Up

In the below video the butterfly pull-up is demonstrated. Note, that this movement differs from a standard kipping pull-up and regular, strict pull-up.

4 Benefits of the Butterfly Pull-Up

In the below sections we will discuss four benefits of the butterfly pull-up. Note, that many of these benefits are inherent to most forms of kipping pull-ups, with some exceptions.

Kipping Pull-Up Efficiency

The butterfly pull-up is one of the most efficient kipping pull-up exercise techniques as it saves energy and time. Unlike the strict, regular pull-up araion, the kipping and the butterfly pull-up allow for an individual to use body momentum to assist in the movement of the joints (via muscle contractions). In doing so, less strength and muscle mass is required to perform a repetition.

Muscular Hypertrophy

While the strict, regular pull-up still wins out against kipping pull-up variations, including the butterfly pull-up, muscle growth can still occur. Muscle hypertrophy can be brought about by increased muscle damage and metabolite build-up, often done through a combination of high amounts of tensile loading, time under tension, increased training volume (loads x repetitions and sets), and restrictive recovery between sets. Strict pull-ups are a necessary part to muscle hypertrophy of the back, however performing butterfly pull-ups can contribute to additional muscle damage, especially when paired with strict pull-ups in a training program.

Competitive Fitness and Gymnastic Performance

Competitive fitness requires pull-up movements during some workouts, competition settings, and as the basis for more advanced gymnastic skills necessary for performance (exercise output). The butterfly pull-up is one of the most efficient pull-up methods as it allows an individual to use body momentum to repeat repetitions in a cyclical manner. Unlike kipping pull-ups (non butterfly), the butterfly pull-up has an individual continue their momentum in a very energy efficient manner rather than stopping in between kipping pull-ups to reset. This not only saves time (allows for more repetitions) but also increases a lifter’s ability to be more efficient with muscular contractions (complete more repetitions).

Grip and Muscular Endurance

Higher repetition pulling movements, like the butterfly pull-up requires a great amount of grip strength, endurance, and physical stamina. Increased demands of muscle tissue strength, coordination, and endurance are all seen as a lifter is often able to train with more training volume than strict pull-up movements. Competitive fitness athletes, climbers, and gymnasts may find these extremely beneficial in their overall performance in competitive session/WOD.

Are Butterfly Pull-Ups Safe?

In a previous article we discussed the leading concerns for performing a ballistic, high repetition movement like the kipping pull-up in regards to joint, connective tissue, and muscular health. In short, more advanced ballistic movements can be deemed injurious if the individual is not properly progressed and in a state of readiness to handle the skill and force demands of such a complex movement. When done correctly, which includes building a proper foundational of strength and movement coordination, and sound programming, kipping pull-ups may not be any more detrimental than other movements. You can read the full article here (let us know what you think in the comments).

Pull-Up Progressions and More

Take a look at some of the progression guides below and learn how to master some of the most challenging bodyweight and gymnastic movements the fitness world has to offer.

Featured Image: @superfitgames on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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