I absolutely love Chin Ups and Pull Ups. I think they are key exercises in developing upper body pulling strength. They are featured in our program year round including at least once per week during the season and twice per week in the off-season.
Since my RKC cert back in August, I have certainly done more reading into the RKC system. I am continuing to be really intrigued by some of the methods involved with some of the lifts.
One exercise that I really like is the Tactical Pull Up. I am not saying or suggesting the Pavel and the RKC community invented the tactical or “RKC” pull up. However, I first read about them through looking at the RKC 2 requirements. The actual tactical version is a thumbless overhand grip with the pull up being performed to a position where the neck is touching the bar at the top. As someone who is very average at pull ups, I communicated with Pavel on this exercise to ensure that I was doing them properly. I had to make some adjustments as I really like pull ups in my own training and I am currently still following the Right of Passage program. I have actually done the 24k kettlebell hooked onto my foot for 1-rep.
What kind of changes did we make?
When performing standard pull-ups, it seemed that athletes just grab the bar and do the required number of pull ups for the set. While there is not a lot wrong with doing standard pull ups, I have found that some of the little coaching cues have made them easier and less painful in some cases. When I say painful, I am referring to someone who can’t do a pull up because of a shoulder issue such as impingement.
One change that we are making is that we are asking the athlete to suck the arms into the sockets. When we are grabbing the bar, we are thinking about driving the arms down and lifting the torso without bending the arms. Doing this seems to turn on some of the scapula retractors and free up the biceps tendon from impingement. We cue our athletes to do this first and set the scaps. It is important that we reiterate this prior to every rep.
Here is a clip of myself doing 2 standard chin ups and then doing 2 of the newer version.