140204 – To kip or not to kip


I spend probably way too much time scouring the internet looking at lifting and CrossFit videos.  What’s even more entertaining than the vids themselves is the comments section especially anytime “kipping” is involved.  While this is not meant to sway any hater’s opinion of a tactic used by  many a Crossfitter to increase the number or rate of pullups performed, I would like to offer my $0.02.  I’m predicting some entertaining comments.

By Webster’s Dictionary definition a pullup is “an exercise in which you hold onto a bar above your head and then pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.”  Going by this definition, whatever means one uses to get their chin above the bar would be considered a pullup.  The argument for the validity of a kipping pullup should end there, but alas.  By CrossFit’s very nature, isolating muscle groups is usually not the norm, to which I’m assuming the typical gym-rat can’t grasp, hence the hatred of the kip.  And although many sources you’ll find concerning the subject will tout the kip as an “easier” way of doing a pullup, I beg to differ.  While a person kipping can likely do a far greater number of pullups and at a faster rate (especially the Butterfly-Kip) they are by no mean “easier”.  Kipping involves a far greater number of muscle groups and requires a certain degree of agility, coordination, and athleticism that a strict pull-up just does not.  Repping out 20-30 Butterfly-pullups will not only exhaust one’s arms and back, but the oxygen-debt it creates from using so much of your body at once is remarkable.  Coach Glassman once said concerning the kip “We do your stuff almost as well as you, you can’t do our stuff at all and we do stuff neither of us do way better than you can.”… not very humble but true.  Claiming a kipped pullup isn’t legit is like the little kid on the playground yelling “no fair!” to the fast kid who just juked him.  If functional-fitness is all about actually having carryover to real life, wouldn’t one want to practice a skill that would be used in a real situation?  Sorry, but a soldier in urban-warfare trying to lift his body from point A to B will instinctively do it the fastest way possible in a dangerous situation, which will probably involve some kind of use of his major core musculature…ie “kip”.  Worrying about whether his form was strict or his buddy next to him is going to “no-rep” him never crosses his mind.

Now, if the objective of a workout is to develop strength of selected muscle groups is desired, then a strict pull-up is the way to go.  But to dismiss a kipping-pullup as “not a real pull-up” is silly.  One simply uses a larger portion of the body to accomplish the same objective.  Other examples of this can been seen in almost every other sport, from a pitcher’s wind-up to a place-kicker’s approach.

Modified Outlaw

3mi Tempo run.  This should be at or above 10k race-pace.  Find a pace that is manageable to hold yet “Moderately-Miserable”

CFV Tuesday Open-Prep WOD


30x Clean & Jerk (any style)


2K row


4 thoughts on “140204 – To kip or not to kip

  1. Jabe Underwood says:

    I agree with all of it. As a gym rat for years I did body movements stricked. But in my time with operations in the Corps and a LEO now it really is doing you any good using stricked form because the body doesn’t function like that. Plus why not do exercise that works more at once and puts strength and endurance training together. O that’s right I want big pretty useless muscle. Lol train bleed eat and be merry.

  2. Eric says:

    To add to the ” we must be doing something right” teus. am, I PR’d Grace by 3:34 minutes, got in my truck drove 4:30 hrs to Austin, drove straight to Crossfit Central, knocked out FGB, w/ 262 reps, PR X 40 reps. This after taking 2:30 Minutes off my Fran yesterday. All this barbell shit is working!

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