You know you’re watching a cross fitter when you see them doing kipping pull ups. While it is pretty common for kipping pull ups and other CF pull up variations to catch some head on social media for not being ‘real pull ups’ or for being ‘cheating’, the good news is this, they’re not cheating and they’re actually their own classification of pull ups altogether. If you’ve been struggling with your kipping pull ups you’re in for a treat - we’re going to break down what exactly they are, what the benefits are, and how to do them so you can master the movement in no time.
What Are Kipping Pull Ups
Kipping pulls ups are a CrossFit movement that allows an athlete to not only build strength but also increase endurance to really rep out the movement for a Metcon or in a competition. Kipping pull ups aren’t strict pull ups and can’t really be classified as so because of the arch/hollow movement that generates momentum helping to get the chin up and over the bar for a successful rep. Believe it or not, the kipping pull up does require a little skill, but we’ll get into that next.
Benefits Of Kipping Pull Ups
Improving your conditioning and overall fitness is always the goal with CrossFit whether you’re training for fun with some buddies on a Saturday or pursuing your ambitions at becoming the Fittest On Earth. By developing your conditioning you are not just becoming better at kipping pull ups but you’re also encouraging your body to grow new muscles, even out muscle imbalances, stabilize your joints, improve coordination, mobility, posture, and even your peripheral skills. All of these development pieces contribute to your overall performance and help you become a better, healthier, more capable athlete, both in and out of the gym.
2. Grip Strength
Having solid grip strength in both the hands and the wrists is crucial for banging around a lot of weight in the box. Obviously you’ll be able to lift more weight if you can hold onto the weight better, but in terms of kipping pull ups, having quality grip strength is going to allow you to complete more reps unbroken working towards your total set count. Having a solid grip also contributes to your success with both the pulling and pushing movements of kipping pull ups. Grip will be a limiting factor to performance in not just this movement, but many.
3. Gymnastics Training
Pull ups are a fundamental movement to building gymnastic skill in the sport of CrossFit. Whether you’re working on your kipping pull ups, bar muscle ups, ring muscle ups, or otherwise, with more advanced body weight movements comes a higher development of muscle, endurance capacity, and skill. By mastering kipping pull ups you’re not only going to be able to crush the WOD but you’ll be able to efficiently progress into bigger movements like BMUs, RMUs, and even hand stand walks.
4. Training Endurance
As mentioned a little in the grip strength benefit of kipping pull ups, training your endurance capacity is going to be another benefit of working on this movement. The better your movement, grip, and overall muscular development gets, the longer you’re going to be able to hold onto that bar and to rep out the movement.
5. Muscle Strength and Development
Kipping pull ups work a lot of similar muscles to the traditional or strict pull up but a little differently due to the swinging motion (arch/hollow) of the movement. You can expect to see muscular strength and development in the hands, forearms, biceps from pulling up to the bar, the lats and back muscles that contribute to the vertical pull of the kipping pull ups, as well as your other muscles of the scapular stabilizers which keep the shoulders in the correct position. Making sure that you have proper development of these muscles prior to heading to the bar for the kipping motion is going to be important to avoid injury.
How To Do Kipping Pull Ups
Incorporating kipping pull ups into your training routine is not only going to make you a better athlete but it is going to set you up for success when using the kipping pull up as a gymnastic progression into other, more difficult, gymnastic movements.
Kipping Pull Ups Set-Up
- You may or may not want to have hand grips for the movement, so grab those if you need them.
- You will want to find a high bar that you can hang from with full clearance of the floor.
- You will want to hop up onto the bar, with arms about shoulder width apart.
- The movement begins by initiating the kip into the arch position. Drive your head through the arms, engaging the lats and shoulder blades together so that you can dive your head forward.
- Once you reach peak position in the arch, begin to push the bar away from you as you move into the hollow position of the kip
- From here, you’ll want to generate your force backward and upward as you push the bar down, pull yourself up, and get your chin up and over the bar for the full rep completion
- Once the chin is up and over, push the bar away from you as you descend and repeat the movement into the arch, hollow, pull up positions.
Kipping Pull Ups: Takeaway
While kipping pull ups aren’t quite traditional pull ups, they do have their time, space, and purpose. They can bring a wide variety of benefit to an athlete’s training and performance, especially in CrossFit. When you practice these you will not only gain endurance, grip strength, muscular strength, and overall coordination, but you’ll enable yourself to progress into more technical bodyweight gymnastic movements.
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