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Banded Pull Ups vs Ring Rows


Banded Pull Ups vs Ring Rows

Want to do pull ups?  Want to have shoulders that work instead of hurt all the time?  Get your foot out of the band and start doing strict ring rows.

The banded pull-up and the ring row are two bodyweight exercises that are seen in gyms worldwide. While both of these exercises may seem similar, they do have their very drastic differences in safety and benefits that coaches and athletes (of all levels) should be aware of. In this article we will discuss the differences between banded pull ups vs ring rows.  We will also give you a little homework to get pull ups faster than you might think.

Banded Pull Ups

Think about when you’re trying to do a pull up.  You’re hanging from a bar, you retract your shoulders and pull.  Everyone usually can pull at least 2-3 inches up.  The closer you get to the bar, the harder it gets.

Now grab a rubber band and stretch it out.  Now bring your hands closer.  The closer your hands get, the less resistance you get in the rubber band.  If you’re doing banded pull ups, you get less assistance where you need it most (as you get closer to the bar).

Now think of when you’re doing banded pull ups in a WOD (workout of the day).  You’re tired.  You’re trying to go as fast as you can.  You find yourself “dive bombing” to the bottom of each pull up so you can get the most bounce out of the band to help propel you back up to finish another pull up.  This is where we in CrossFit get a bad name for trashing shoulders.  Avoid the band and long live your shoulders.

Ring Rows

Ring Rows are the foundation of any structural strength program to build to getting the ever elusive pull up.  Ring Rows allow for a greater degree of difficulty by moving your feet “deeper” under the rings.  By performing strict ring rows (not throwing your hips) you will make strength gains through all ranges of the pulling motion.  Ring Rows build a structurally sound shoulder that help you enjoy your fitness journey and progress faster than you could ever imagine.

Bonus: once you get great at ring rows and pull ups, you’ll want a muscle up.  Elevated ring rows are a great way to get muscle up strength

Homework to Get Pull Ups

Perform the below sequence 2 – 3 days a week.
3 x 12 Banded Face Pulls @2020 (2 seconds pulling to face / 2 seconds extending arms) Rest 90 seconds between sets
3 x Max Time Eccentric Lowering (jump from box and lower until your arms are fully extended as slow as possible) Rest 90 seconds between sets
3 x 12 Ring Rows @3030 (3 seconds pulling to armpits / 3 seconds extending arms) Rest 2 min between sets

Here at Okie CrossFit we pride ourselves on helping our members progress fast while keeping them safe and moving pain free.  Feel free to share this article or comment on how it has helped you.

Jake Crandall
Owner / Head Coach
Okie CrossFit