The Kipping Pull-Up

 In Stuff We Say

Most non-CrossFitters would think a workout with 45 reps of pull-ups to be excessive and possibly long-  you know, like Fran (excessive maybe,but definitely not long).  Most of you would not have imagined doing pull-ups at such lightning speeds before walking into the box, but now, 50 pull-ups is probably ‘not a big deal’.

Many fitness enthusiasts say that kipping pull-ups are  cheating.  I suppose that depends on what your aim is-  getting above the bar?  making pull-ups accessible to a vast array of individuals?  Kipping is superior in both respects.  In fact, a kipping pull-up and a strict pull-up have identical amounts of mechanical work- moving some mass from point A to point B.  Kipping just adds speed and more musculature to the equation, which in CrossFit’s opinion is exactly why we want to do them.

There is room for strict pull-ups in training, but kipping pull-ups are more ubiquitous in CrossFit because it follows the tenets better and includes more aspects of physical fitness.  Strict pull ups focus on back and arm in a ‘slow’ movement.  Kipping uses the same back and arm muscles but also recruits the entire torso to the hips.  The kipping pull-up is a whole body, plyometric movement that requires coordination, strength, agility and flexibility to execute.  CrossFit prizes whole-body, functional movements that are patterned core-to-extremity above all others.  In addition, you can do many more kipping pull-ups than strict in the same amount of time; this means that you do the same amount of mechanical work in less time.  That literally makes the kipping pull-up more powerful (and therefore better at creating intensity), and you know how CrossFit is crazy for power.

Also, kipping pull-ups are fun.  Once you get your kipping pull-up it is hard to keep you off the bar!  That is probably why CrossFitters, on average, have more pull-ups (even strict pull-ups) than your average Globo-gym occupant.

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