What are plyometric pull ups?
Plyometric exercises are ones which involve a burst of movement such as jumping. So, plyometric pull ups are ones which are carried out quickly. People often demonstrate the plyometric nature by performing a clap because they are able to gain enough height from the momentum of performing the pull up! Here is an example of a type of plyometric pull up:
As with any difficult move, you have to break it down into easy steps that are achievable and train the body to develop the required strength. At this stage, I will assume you can already perform 10 pull ups without problem. If you are still struggling with pull ups, I would recommend that you read my guide on performing pull ups: http://eserv.co.uk/irl2/how-to-do-a-pull-up/ (you can also use the exercises in that guide to improve your pull up strength; of course, to improve your pull up strength, simply doing more pull ups can work)
Exercise 1: move fast
The purpose of this stage is just to perform your pull ups as quickly as you can. Focus on speed when you move upwards. If you normally do 3×6 pull ups when working your back muscles, then continue to do 3×6 but perform each movement as quickly as you can.
Exercise 2: remove one hand
Perform the pull ups as with Exercise 1 but when you get to the top of the move, briefly lift your left hand off the bar; the next rep, lift the right hand off the bar. After releasing the bar, grab it again and lower yourself before the next rep.
Exercise 3: remove both hands
Perform the pull ups as with Exercise 1 but when you get to the top of the move, briefly lift both hands off the bar. After releasing the bar, grab it again and lower yourself before the next rep.
Exercise 4: narrow to wide
Still doing your standard 3×6 reps, you perform a plyometric pull up, at the top releasing the bar and moving your hands outwards into a wide pull up, grab the bar, then lower yourself. Now reset your position either by hanging and shuffling your hands into position or just support your weight with your feet on the ground while you move your hands back to the starting position (ie hands in line with your shoulders). Repeat for the next rep.
Exercise 5: wide to narrow to wide
Now it gets fun and this is where you can start to show off! Perform the first rep, releasing the bar at the top of the move, hands going to the wide grip pull up position, lower yourself then do a wide grip pull up, releasing the bar at the top and moving the hands back to the standard width position. That’s two reps of your set.
Exercise 6: the clap pull up
Finally! By this stage, you should not only have the strength but also the confidence to perform the clap pull up. So with your hands in the standard width position above your shoulders, perform a pull up, at the top releasing the bar and clapping once before grabbing the bar and descending. Well done and congratulations!