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Master the Butterfly Pull Up

Master the Butterfly Pull Up
Published: 19/02/2020

After an athlete has mastered the kipping pull up they can choose to progress to a butterfly pull up. We strongly recommend you have mastered the kipping pull up (can do 10+ consecutive reps with great mechanics) before learning the butterfly because a strong kip is applicable to Toes to bar, bar muscle-ups and ring muscle-ups too. If you get great at butterfly but struggle with your kip these movements will continue to be difficult. Both the kip and butterfly movements are designed around the same foundations. Because of this you will see in our Butterfly progressions many of the same skill progressions used in our kipping pull up video. Let's jump in to it!

As with all our skill progressions, these are designed so that if you can't do all of them you keep practicing the last one you can do and piecing all the drills you can together. Over time you can do more and more.


You will see this movement start all of our hanging skill progressions. That's because getting set up in the right positions is key to the success of your rep. It's ok if you need to stay on this and keep practicing it, nail this every time you jump onto a bar and you will start well consistently. Those who do progress fast!


If you have read our Ring Muscle Up skill progression post you will know that kipping on rings and the bar is different. For all kipping swings, the movement must be controlled from the shoulders. If you start with a good target jump you will naturally fall into what we call the arch position with feet and hands behind you. From this position push your shoulders back behind the bar so that your hands and feet are now in front of you. Limit how much your feet move for now.


This is the same as the small kip swing but now you will push back further and also fall through further. For both kipping swings, your hands should not be moving on the bar. If they are moving already it's putting you in a weaker position to perform any movement bar from. Keep your feet below your knees.


Take the large kip swing and push back as far as possible performing one rep at a time. You can see in the video that Coach Luke's shoulders are a long way behind the bar and this shortens the distance between his hips and the bar.


At the top of the kip and whip movement, you will pull your body slightly towards the bar. Allow your upper body to fall through in an arc underneath the pull-up bar then let go. Ensure you are not kicking your feet back. If you kick your feet back they are leading your movement which becomes a timing issue we will explain further later.


Now you are layering in another kip and whip to become comfortable with going into another butterfly rep and creating a smooth arc. If this feels jerky or hard on your shoulders video yourself to check if you are dropping straight down, this will most likely be the cause.


Start small and as you gain confidence make the circles bigger. Again, don't let your feet drive the movement, let them naturally go to the position they should (if you have master kipping and built the habit of the arch and hollow positions your feet shouldn't have a problem here).


This drill focuses on practicing the skill of opening your hips, FAST! It's important to not push through your feet because when you are hanging from the rings you won't have anything to push your feet against. When doing a hip-pop use your knees to lead your hips. Drive your knees up fast and your hips must follow.


Speed is very important in your hip pop here. Always remember your shoulders put you in the right position and your hips are what drive you upwards, do not let your feet be the driver of the movement. For pull ups your feet should be in front of your body as your chin is above the bar. If your feet go back before this it will force your body forwards and you will be out of time. Same applies for chest to bar pull ups, when your chest is at the bar your feet should be in front of you.

We hope these progressions help if you have any further questions or need help please let us know.

Check out our other skill progressions below:

Ring Muscle Up

Toes To Bar

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