May Skill of the Month

Photo credit – Sean Bruce

Hi Zoners!

It is time for the next skill of the month!  The weather is warming up and so are the bars, so the skill for May is Strict Pullups! Pullups are one of those exercises that everyone who begins CrossFit, makes their first goal.  ” I would really love to be able to do a pullup one day, but I am not strong enough.”  Does that sound familiar?  Well it is your lucky month… we will be focusing on Strict pullups 🙂  Check out the info below from an article from CrossFit Rockwall


The standard pull-up used by CrossFit is the “kipping” pull-up. Kipping is a whole-body, athletic movement that demands coordination, agility, flexibility and power. The kipping pull-up recruits multiple muscles, including your hips and torso, to get your chin over the bar.

Video: The Pull-up

Kipping allows more work to be done in less time, thus increasing power output. It is also a full-body coordination movement when performed correctly, which applies more functionally to real-life application of pulling skills. The kipping pull-up promotes athletic development and the hip motion of an effective kip mirrors the motion of the olympic lifts/kettlebell swings. Although, strict pull-ups still have a place in training, and we do incorporate them at times.

Most people cannot do pull-ups, and that’s not a problem. There are many ways to scale this movement. Below are three methods that will help you progress to doing unassisted pull-ups.

Requirements for all pull-ups: Chin comes above bar at top of rep; elbows are fully extended at bottom of rep.

Ring Rows will help you develop the strength and confidence to move on to assisted and unassisted pull-ups. These are perfect for older clients who cannot hold onto the pull-up bar.

Barbara's Ring Rows

Band-assisted pull-ups will allow you to start working on you kip without having to pull your entire weight. The hard part is getting your feet in and out of them!

Sara's Band Pull-ups

The kipping pull-up – Finally, once you work you way down to the smallest band, you are ready to try the kipping pull-up! Check out these beautiful kips:

Ashley Emily


  • Keep the body rigid through the whole movement, no kip or leg movement allowed
  • Keep the shoulders back and down through whole movements, Coaches will be watching out for no douche-bag shoulders as K-Star calls it.  If you can`t keep the shoulders back and down through the whole movement, scale down to a rubber band or ring rows
  • Pullup grip, palms facing away
  • Chin must be above the bar on every rep!
  • FULL EXTENSION of the elbow at the bottom on every rep!

How do I improve on my strict pullup?

  • Add strict pullups into your warmup every time you come in to the Zone.
  • Make sure that you have the shoulders nice and warm and stretched out so that you can get into the required position.  When warming up the shoulders, start with an easier movement such as a jumping pullup, ring rows or a rubber band.  You don`t want to jump up to the bar cold and bang out a max set up pullups.
  • Challenge yourself by making the reps harder. If there was not pullups in the workout that day, through a few reps in at the end of the workout under fatigue.
  • When the workout has pullups in it, do STRICT!

Today`s Workout:

Buy In – Coach led foot drills on the Agility Ladders (7 minutes max)

Then – test your Max Strict Pullups and retest your double unders.  If your hands are ripped from Monday and you can`t hold on to the bar, test your pullups later in the week, but don`t wait too long or you may not improve.


This is a station workout for individual scores.

Station 1 – 10 x 100M rowing sprint (30 sec rest between stations). Record your score as total rowing time (rest not included)

Station 2 – 3RM Squat Clean

Zone 1 – practice technique with a light weight

Station 3 – Gymnastics practice.  Choose 2 exercises and cycle between them working on technique for the allotted time

  • Muscle ups
  • L-Sit
  • Ring Pushup
  • Skin the cat

Score your Row and Squat clean separately in MyFranTime

12 minutes per station

Cash Out – Roll out the whole body and spend some extra time on those spots that need some extra love


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