How To Do A CrossFit® Pull-over

Written By Ben  |  Pull-up 

It's Ben from WODprep, and today, I'm here to unveil the secrets behind one of CrossFit®'s most exhilarating movements – the pullover. This movement has generated a considerable amount of buzz and curiosity within the CrossFit® community, and I've received numerous requests to create a comprehensive tutorial on it.

I initially thought mastering the pullover would be a breeze when I observed athletes executing it flawlessly at the CrossFit® Games. However, upon stepping into the studio, I quickly realized that it's a lot more challenging than it appears.

But fear not, because I've dedicated myself to uncovering the essential techniques that will help you achieve your first pullover. So, if you're eager to learn this impressive skill, you've come to the right place.

The Challenge of the Pullover

Before we delve into the techniques, let's acknowledge the difficulty of the pullover. Even after practicing it a few times, I've gained a deep appreciation for the skill required to execute it successfully.

Watching CrossFit® Games athletes seemingly perform pullovers effortlessly only amplified my respect for their abilities. So, we will primarily focus on how to achieve that elusive first pullover.

Understanding the Key to Success

When attempting a pullover, it's easy to think of it as an aggressive toaster bar or even a reverse bar muscle-up.

However, the real key to consistent pullovers lies in having forward momentum during your swing or kip. This is where we need to revisit the concept of the "Tarzan swing."

The Tarzan swing is typically something we aim to avoid in other CrossFit® movements, such as kipping pull-ups or bar muscle-ups.

It occurs when our kip is off balance, causing us to swing forward and backward. While it's detrimental in those contexts, it's surprisingly beneficial for pullovers.

How To Do A CrossFit Pull-over

Embracing the Tarzan Swing (Method 1)

To execute a successful pullover, you can leverage the forward and backward momentum generated by the Tarzan swing.

This involves allowing yourself to swing freely, essentially creating a pendulum motion. By initiating your pullover during the forward swing, you can harness this momentum to propel yourself up and over the bar.

The Strict Pullover (Method 2)

Another effective approach to pullovers is the strict pullover. In this method, you'll perform a partial pull-up or even a half pull-up before executing an aggressive knee tuck.

The key is to bend your elbows, allowing your feet to flip over the bar, while your hips nestle into the crease of the bar. This action generates the necessary momentum to complete the pullover.

Maintaining Momentum Is Crucial

Whether you opt for the Tarzan swing or the strict pullover, one crucial aspect to remember is to maintain your momentum.

Failing to aggressively tuck your knees and generate sufficient speed can result in getting stuck on top of the bar, making it nearly impossible to complete the movement.

 Continuously driving the momentum forward is vital for success.

To Summarize

In summary, achieving your first pullover requires dedication and practice. You can choose between the Tarzan swing, which harnesses forward and backward momentum, or the strict pullover, where a partial pull-up and aggressive knee tuck generate the necessary force.

Whichever method you prefer, honing your pull-up strength and body awareness is essential for mastering pullovers.

As you embark on your pullover journey, remember that it's okay to face challenges and setbacks.

Keep practicing, maintain forward momentum, and never stop pushing your limits. If you find success with these techniques or have additional tips to share, please leave a comment below.

For more CrossFit®-related content and training guides, visit our website at And remember, pullovers may be tough, but with dedication and perseverance, you can conquer this exciting new movement. Good luck!

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