Pull-ups are a staple of any back workout. Though, butterfly pulls ups are a variation of pull-ups often programmed in CrossFit workouts.

While it may look easy, butterfly pull-ups are actually one of the hardest functional movements to perform, especially with optimal technique.

However, butterfly pull-ups are regularly in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. As a relatively new movement to the fitness scene, it’s not always fully understood and is criticized for being a poor form, or “sloppy”, movement.

This article takes a deeper delve into the pros and cons of butterfly pull-ups!

What Are Butterfly Pull-Ups?

Butterfly pull-ups are known as a variation of traditional pull-ups commonly used in CrossFit-style workouts. This variation of pull-ups is a quicker and efficient way to do the movement, thus helping you to complete more reps in a period (when under time pressure) as opposed to doing traditional pull-ups.

This is why they are often programmed into high-intensity, functional workouts where high reps, or as many reps as possible, need to be completed within a certain time.

So, what are the pros and cons of this movement?

Butterfly Pull-Ups: Pros and Cons

Pros of Butterfly Pull-Ups

  • It’s a quicker and more efficient way to do pull-ups

If you’re in a rush to get your reps done in a quick-paced workout, butterfly pull-ups will be the best option. This is often why they are taught in CrossFit classes to prepare you for future workouts.

So, one of the pros of this movement is the fact that it turns a slow movement into a quicker one, thus enabling you to complete more reps in a quicker time.

  • It can translate well to other gymnastic movements

One of the key form cues of butterfly pull-ups is kipping and shoulder activation. These cues, particularly kipping, can translate very well into other gymnastic movements such as toes to bar and muscle-ups.

Being able to perform butterfly pull-ups successfully will help your progression with many other movements, particularly those that require gymnastic skills.

Cons of Butterfly Pull-Ups

  • When done incorrectly, it can cause injuries

Butterfly pull-ups are very easy to perform badly due to the nature of the movement and the stress it puts on your shoulders. Thus, it can be a risky movement when proper form and technique are lacking.

To avoid this, it’s important to keep your legs straight and together, core tight, and shoulders activated and engaged. If any of these cues are out of place, your momentum will break, therefore increasing your risk of injury.

  • It’s a technical movement that takes much practice to master

This movement is really only relevant for those who partake in CrossFit or similar training methods. As it’s a difficult movement to master and can be risky when done incorrectly, it may not be as beneficial for recreational gym-goers who aren’t as focused on gymnastics or competitive, timed workouts.

This technical movement should only be programmed under the supervision of a coach or personal trainer, someone who is qualified to correct any errors and help the movement progression.

Is There a Difference Between Butterfly Pull-Ups and Kipping Pull-Ups?

These terms are often used interchangeably, though they are slightly different movements.

The main difference between these movements is that kipping pull-ups require you to push away from the bar to get back into the arch position, whereas butterfly pull-ups require you to focus more on moving forward through the bar to keep the circular motion going.

Butterfly pulls ups are a more streamlined, clean movement that’s easily repeatable as opposed to kipping, which is a little slower.

The Take-Home

Butterfly pull-ups can be a complex and technical movement for many of us, despite it looking easy.

It takes time to master the rhythm of butterfly pull-ups, so it’s important to follow cues and advice from a coach to perfect the movement bit by bit.

Once butterfly pull-ups are mastered, you will be able to complete pull-ups at a much faster rate during a workout, which would also boost your overall high-intensity, functional performance.

Additionally, these skills would also transfer well to other gymnastic-based movements such as handstands, toes to bar, and muscle-ups.

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