How to Get Better at Pull-ups for CrossFit

How to Get Better at Pull-ups for CrossFit

Bodyweight exercises are foundational CrossFit exercises. Squats, glute bridges and push ups are in daily WODs around the globe. But pull-ups are notorious for being the most challenging — especially for beginners. Upper body strength, hand rips and grip strength are the most common challenges new and veteran CrossFit athletes face when it comes to pull ups.

While it takes time to build upper body strength, grip strength and hand calluses, WODWAX helps CrossFit athletes increase grip strength and reduce hand rips. When applied to the bar, WODWAX creates a helpful barrier of wax for athletes' hands that makes it easier to hold on and allows them to perform their WODs more effectively.

Learn more about WODWAX with the link below.

Workout Progression for CrossFit Pullups

It can be demoralizing watching other gym members crush pull ups like they’re defying gravity. But this strength didn’t come overnight. For many, the progression to be able to do pull ups looks daunting, but the process is simple. The most effective progression is to do inverted pull ups, dead hangs and then increase pull up reps incrementally. These strategies accelerate the strength acquisition athletes need in their upper bodies, while increasing grip strength and building calluses.

Inverted Pulls Ups

Inverted pull ups allow CrossFitters to increase upper body strength no matter what level of fitness. The difficulty of the exercise depends on the height of the bar. The lower the bar, the harder the inverted pull up. To do inverted pull ups:

  • Set the bar around waist height
  • The lower the bar, the more difficult the movement becomes
  • Position yourself under the bar lying face up
  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width
  • Pull yourself up to the bar until your chest touches the bar

Do 3 sets of 10.


Deadhangs help to increase hand grip strength. This isometric workout builds muscle by creating micro-tears in the muscles. These micro-tears heal when we rest. This breaking down and rebuilding of the muscles increases strength over time. Deadhangs make upper body muscles stronger, create more muscular hands and establish necessary hand calluses for pull ups. Deadhangs are simple to do:

  • Find a pull up bar
  • Grab the pull up bar with an overhand grip
  • Hang with arms extended

Do 3 sets of 30-second hangs.

How to Increase Pull Up Grip Strength for CrossFit WODs

How to Get Better at Pull-ups for CrossFit

Athletes can increase pull up grip by performing deadhangs, farmer walks or using pull up bar wax. Deadhangs and farmer walks are isometric workouts that increase hand grip strength over time. By incrementally increasing the duration of deadhangs and gradually increasing weight of barbells used in farmer walks athletes can improve hand strength in 2 - 4 weeks.

Pull up bar wax creates immediate value by making it easier for any level of athlete to hold on to the bar. We’ve found that people who use WODWAX complete pull up WOD’s faster and are able to do higher volumes of reps. Pull up bar wax helps athletes hold on by creating a barrier of tacky wax around the bar that is grippy but not sticky. The pull up bar wax doesn’t leave a residue on the athlete’s hands and it can easily be removed by scraping it off.

Hear from a customer on how WODWAX increased their pull up bar grip:
“I have a slick pull up bar at home and this works perfectly to make it grippy! I love it!”
Erin N.

Learn more about WODWAX with the link.
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Hands Ripping from CrossFit WODs

How to Get Better at Pull-ups for CrossFit

A challenge both new and experienced CrossFitters face is hand rips. When hands rip they are painful to use, are challenging to keep clean, and take a long time to heal. Athletes who rip their hands should trim the skin and sanitize immediately. Soaking them in epsom salts at night will also help with healing.

Traditional ways to reduce hand rips are to use tape, bar grips and gloves. More unconventional methods include filing download calluses so rips are less likely. A modern solution to reduce hand rips is to use a pull up bar like WODAX. Pull up bar waxes create a barrier between athletes’ hands and the bar that is soft on hands but increases grip strength. This wax barrier WODWAX creates protects hands and also has anti-bacterial properties that help keep pull up bars sanitary.

Hear from our customers on how WODWAX reduces hand tears:

“Our gym loves this product. It gives great grip to worn or unworn pull-up bars. Because of this, our athletes use far less chalk and experience far fewer hand tears. GREAT PRODUCT!”
-Timothy P.

Learn more about WODWAX with the link.

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