Guide To Chest To Bar Pull Ups

One of the dreaded exercises in CrossFit is the Chest To Bar Pull Up, aka C2B Pull Ups.

Especially if you can’t do a pull up or chin up. There’s no mystery behind the C2B pull up but there is technique. Once you understand how your body needs to move, you can start doing them correctly and avoid injury.

Want to master pull-ups? Check out the Ultimate Pull-Up Program

Is there a difference between a pull up and C2B pull up? Yes. A pull up, also known as a chin up, is when you hold onto a bar and pull yourself up. You go as far as bringing your chin on top of the bar. C2B is similar to the pull up only you’re pulling yourself up higher so that your chest touches the bar.

How To Do A C2B Pull Up


C2B Pull Up Video

C2B is not about just arching your back to get your chest high in order to touch the bar. It’s pulling yourself up in such a way that you maintain a neutral spine while bringing your elbows back as if you were doing ring rows.

When executing the movement, you want to make sure you keep your trunk (belly and butt) tight; shoulders strong; your head in a neutral position; and your feet together.

As you pull yourself up, you want to maintain those positions while bringing your elbows back behind you and shoulders into extension.

Your C2B’s begin deteriorating once you start arching your back; tilting your head back, and letting your feet go all over the place. When working on form, start slow and take your time.

Camille doing C2B's

2014 CrossFit Games Champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet

How To Work Your Way Up To C2B Pull Ups

If you’ve never done C2B, there are exercises you can do to help you progress.

Want to master pull-ups? Check out the Ultimate Pull-Up Program

Some of them are:

  • Shoulder position – You want to make sure that your scapula (shoulder blades) are in a strong position. That means they should be back and down. Once you become aware of how your body should be positioned, you can go on to the next progression.
  • Ring rows – With rings, your focus is going to be on the scapula and shoulders. Perform rows with your feet further from the anchor point if you’re a beginner. As you start getting stronger, you can move your feet closer to the anchor point for more of a challenge.
  • Inverted rows – You’ll need a smith machine for this one. With the bar set low (about your arm’s length from the floor), place your hands on it at a little more than shoulder width. The bar should be right above your chest. Your body can be straight or you can keep your knees bent. Your trunk needs to be kept tight and strong. From the floor, proceed to pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar.
  • Band work – Using bands for assistance, attempt to do C2B as if you didn’t have them. Here you want to keep in mind everything you’ve read earlier as far as form.

If you’re not at the level you feel you should be, don’t get discouraged. Everything takes practice. And like a lot of CrossFit worthy exercises, this one will be challenging. C2B’s are not as easy as some make them look. And those same people will admit that it took practice to get where they are.

Once you’ve practiced all the above and have gotten proficient at them, you can start doing C2B pull ups without assistance.

How To Make C2B’s More Challenging

If you’ve mastered the C2B and are looking to make it more challenging, try adding weights. You can put on a weighted vest and see how that works. You can also “hold” a weight with your feet or legs keeping in mind that your feet need to be together.

As athletes, we strive to be better at whatever sport we choose. We push ourselves beyond our comfort zones and break barriers. Go get working on your C2B pull ups.

Want to master pull-ups? Check out the Ultimate Pull-Up Program

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