James Newbury Sets Unofficial World Record of 120 Consecutive Kipping Pull-Ups, Credits Frog Grips for Helping him Hang on
A couple months ago, four-time CrossFit Games athlete James Newbury unintentionally did 100 pull-ups in a row during a group class workout.
- “I just got to 50 and felt great. Then 60, then 70, and it just kept going. The workout was 100 reps to start and so when I got there, I just stopped, unsure of how many more I could do,” Newbury explained.
Needless to say, Newbury’s curiosity was peaked to discover what his true max was.
So earlier this month, Newbury put himself to the test, and logged 120 consecutive kipping pull-ups in two minutes and two seconds, setting, to the best of our knowledge, an unofficial world record in the process.
Newbury, who managed to hang on to the faster butterfly kip for the first 113 reps before switching to the more traditional, slower kip for the final seven reps before coming off the bar, was pleasantly surprised by the result.
- “The goal going in was just to get to 100 and prove I didn’t dream the last one. I was expecting around 100 to 110. The thing is you just never know how you’ll feel on the day,” he said.
Worth noting: It is believed CrossFit pioneer, seven-time Games athlete Chris Spealler had the previous unofficial world record with 106 consecutive kipping pull-ups, a feat he performed a week before the 2009 CrossFit Games, Spealler remembered.
- His reaction to Newbury’s result: “Great work James, It’s great to see people pushing the boundaries of things beyond just the barbell. Now buckle up for all the comments on social media,” he said.
One big thing: Newbury, whose old pull-up PR of 71 reps dates back to 2012, said he never would have been able to compete 120 unbroken kipping pull-ups without wearing Frog Grips, the popular grips designed for CrossFit athletes.
- “I think the froggies contributed a solid 30 percent of this total. The way they are constructed allow for ultimate grip, comfort and control on the bar,” said Newbury, who wore the fingerless Frog Elite HD grips.
- “If you have to grip the bar 25 percent more on every rep, you’re diminishing your grip reserves rapidly. It’s all about how relaxed you can be,” added Newbury, who started wearing Frog Grips at Wodapalooza in 2022 and “noticed a big difference in terms of comfort, protection and grip.”
Spealler, who didn’t wear grips back in the day, also said he can imagine wearing Frog Grips, which didn’t exist back in 2009, would make a big difference.
- I always did my bare hands. They didn’t make grips for training like they do now so we would make our own, out of tape,” he said, adding that it was always his grip strength that wore out before his pulling strength.
- “If the (Frog) grips make it tackier and easy to hold onto the bar, it would definitely make a difference,” he added.
The bottom line: Newbury certainly looked relaxed during the 120 reps, and, in fact, it wasn’t even his grip that was his limiting factor. It was his lower abdominals and hip flexors that he felt getting the most fatigued, he said.
The craziest thing of all: Newbury did it all on a day where he was nowhere near 100 percent.
- “I think given a really good day, without being under the weather, fully hydrated and recovered without bicep DOMS from the previous weekend’s competition (and was due to compete again the next day), I’d say there are 20 odd more in the tank,” he said.