Pull-Ups & Pain - The Box

Pull-Ups & Pain

Five different types of pull-ups highlight this fast-and-furious back thrash.
Pull-Ups and Pain

You may think that you’re a skilled practitioner of the kip. But this routine, which features five different versions of the time-honored pull-up, tests not only your technical acumen but also your pure ability to generate power. “You really just have to concentrate on the pull-ups,” says Becca (Voigt) Miller, CF-L1, owner and head coach of CrossFit Training Yard. “Every round, it gets harder. Even those kipping pull-ups are hard at the end because you’re smoked.”

The Workout

  • 5 Rounds for Time:
  • 5 Ring Dips
  • 200-Meter Run
  • 10 Pull-Ups on Pull-Up Ladder

Pull-Up Ladder

  • Round 1: Weighted*, full range of motion
  • Round 2: Weighted*, kipping
  • Round 3: Bodyweight, full range of motion
  • Round 4: Kipping, chest-to-bar
  • Round 5: Kipping, standard

* “I recommend 40 pounds of weight for the men and 20 to 25 for the women, but you can scale it according to your own experience,” Voigt says. “Just lock it securely between your feet and you’ll be fine. Beginners can use bands, if necessary.”

Degree Of Difficulty

  • Technical: 8.5
  • Metabolic: 9.0
  • Volume: 5.5
  • OVERALL: 7.67 (out of 10)


  • Firebreather: 10 minutes or less
  • Excellent: 10:01 to 12 minutes
  • Good: 12:01 to 16 minutes
  • Fair: 16 minutes or more

Coach Says:

  1. Ring Right “If you’re new to the rings, I’d recommend using parallel bars or just holding yourself at the top of the rings for five seconds. If you’re more advanced, you can jump up and do a slow negative five times. But you should work toward five full ring dips.”
  2. Run = Rest “With this workout, the run is a time to regroup and prepare for those pull-ups while keeping your heart rate up. Still, you should take it as fast as you can.”
  3. Divide, Conquer “This workout goes in smaller chunks. It’s not like you’re at one place for 20 minutes. Take each segment of each round as its own separate event.”
  4. Kip Tip “Near the end, you have to focus on using your hips more on the kip. When you fatigue, the tendency is to use your arms more. So be aware of that and drive your hips up on every pull-up.”

Illustration by Alan Stowe