4 Benefits of Chest to Bar Pull-Ups

In a previous article we discussed the chest to bar pull-up, a bodyweight movement that is seen in both strict and kipping forms; with the purpose of back development, gymnastic ad competitive fitness skill, and even grip training. In the below article we will offer a brief recap of both the strict and kipping chest to bar pull-up, review exercise video demonstrations, and discuss the main benefits of the chest to bar pull-up (both the strict and kipping variations).

Chest to Bar Pull-Ups Variations

The chest to bar pull-up is similar to the standard strict or kipping pull-up, however the range of motion is slightly increased to account for the lifter pulling themselves a few more inches higher to touch the chest ot the bar. In doing so, pull-up strength and skill is increase offering coaches and athletes a logical progression from a standard strict or kipping pull-up.

Strict Chest to Bar Pull-Up

In the below video, the strict chest to bar pull-up is shown. Please note that the lifter must touch their chest to the bar, which increases the upper back engagement and range of motion and demands greater pulling strength.

Kipping Chest to Bar Pull-Up

Like the strict chest to bar pull-up, this exercise entails the lifter to touch their chest of the barbell, increasing the demands and range of motion. In this variation however, the lifter can use a kip to increase the involvement of the body and momentum, which decreases the upper body strength demands yet increases the need for midline stability, mobility, body awareness, and grip/muscular endurance (often due to higher repetitions being able to be performed).

4 Benefits of Chest to Bar Pull-Ups

Below are four benefits of the strict and/or kipping chest to bar pull-up. Many of these benefits are also inherent to the standard pull-up, however, the addition of the kip does offer some unique benefits for coaches and athletes to consider.

Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength (Strict)

While both movements can produce increases in muscular strength and hypertrophy (growth), the strict pull-up may have the slight edge over the kipping version. Unlike the kipping chest to bar pull-up, the strict version uses minimal body momentum which in turn increases the need for upper back, arm, and overall pulling strength to place the chest to the bar. That said, the kipping chest to bar pull-up can be used to help some lifters increase volume (by being able to perform more repetitions that strict versions); therefore increasing muscular damage and muscle growth.

Body Awareness and Fluidity (Kipping)

Bodyweight training forces greater awareness, midline control, and universal stability. The addition of the kip to the chest to bar pull-up reinforces these attributes as a lifter must find fluidity in their movements and stay in tune with their mechanics. This timing and proprioception/body awareness is key for gymnastic movements and competitive fitness workouts.

Gymnastic and Competitive Fitness Application (Both)

Gymnastics and competitive fitness both include chest to bar pull-ups either directly in workouts/competition and/or as a precursor movement to other competitive routines. The ability to perform both strict and kipping is key for both populations, as failure to do so means lower competitive scores and inability to progress onto more complex movements(such as muscle ups).

Grip Endurance

Higher rep-based training, especially with the kip, creates high amounts of eccentric loading onto the forearms and grip muscles (even more so that hanging from a bar). Both the strict and kipping chest to bar pull-up can increase grip strength and endurance, however due to the high-rep and ballistic cycling (kipping), the need for grip strength and endurance is slightly higher in the kipping chest to bar pull-up.

Bodyweight Moves You Must Master

Take a look below at some of the most essential bodyweight gymnastic movements for functional fitness athletes!

Featured Image: @lucianemacias 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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