Butterfly Pullup Shoulder Injury

I hate being injured. HATE IT I tell you!

It’s so damn annoying not to be able to workout effectively or do the things I want. Having been given a healthy strong body again, it’s a pain in the butt not to be able to use it. I had to drop out of the CrossFit gymnastics certification in Manchester a few weeks back. There’s a Self Defence Federation seminar I want to go to in a couple of weeks but am unsure whether I’ll be able to. There’s a PDR demo going on at the NEC in Birmingham in a month’s time that I’d better be fit for. Not to mention the CrossFit Olympic Weightlifting certification in Swansea in a few months time.

All this is put in jeopardy due to the recurrence of a shoulder problem, this time brought on by having a pop a nailing the butterfly pull up, as shown here:

Anyone who thinks that the kipping pullup is “cheating”, is going to have a fit when they see the butterfly pullup (or butterfly kip if you will). Just to be clear then, the CrossFit pullup standard is: straight arms at the bottom of the pull up, and chin over the bar at the top. Whatever happens in between is irrelevant. Just as the kipping pullup recruits more muscles so that you can perform more reps in a shorter time period (thereby increasing your power output), so the butterfly pullup does the same.

The reason is even with the more efficient kip, the first thing to fail is often your grip and not your strength or stamina. Hence the more efficient you can make it, the more you can do before your grip fails. As power output is one of the main pillars of CrossFit, anything that increases power output is all good. So in a focus session I spent 30 minutes trying to learn the correct movement pattern to string several butterfly pullups together and to be fair, I managed 3-5 after the 1/2 hour.

It was only the next day when I woke up and couldn’t scratch my head with my left hand due to the stabbing pain in my left shoulder. I’m not sure it it’s an impinged shoulder or rotator cuff tear as they have similar symptoms, but the fact that it’s lasted a month now is not a good sign.

Interestingly I read Greg Everett’s Thoughts on the Kipping Pullup article recently and he pretty much maligns the butterfly kip for all but competitive athletes, for the primary reason that the risk of injury is too high. Ho hum, I’m sure it’ll get better eventually, it always has before.

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