New research from the Powell Institute for Fitness and Science revealed that more than 70 percent of athletes misunderstand the term “chest-to-bar pull-ups” and count as legitimate any rep in which the chest moves “toward” the bar during the concentric phase of the movement.
The study of both kinematics and linguistics was commissioned after several Kentucky affiliate owners got together and discovered clients at each gym considered their reps to be good if even the laziest attempt was made to bring the chest near to the bar. The owners contacted the Powell Institute, whose representatives quickly identified a widespread problem.
“During the prep phase, we spent a day at CrossFit Liberal when C2B Fran was programmed. Video analysis revealed that only three of 50 athletes actually touched their chests to the bar during the workout, yet 45 of them used the notation’ ‘Rx’ when posting their scores,” lead researcher Dale Sumner stated.
Diane Cruz of New Mexico was confused when she was asked to participate in the study.
“I try to get my chest close to the bar almost every time,” she said. “I think we can all agree that’s a good, solid chest-to-bar rep.”
Billy McQuaid of Ireland was similarly baffled by the purpose of the study.
“It might not be full chest-to-bar contact, but it’s a good rep every time,” he said shortly after completing 30 pull-ups in which his T-shirt brushed the bar on at least 7 reps.
Researchers have yet to expand their study to toes-to-bars but suspect the problem affects that movement as well, and perhaps to a greater degree. Also on the agenda for study: the term “unbroken.”