To Kipp or not to Kipp, That is the question

Sep 13, 2020

 by Mitch Potterf

“ Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.- Mark Twain


CrossFit is known for many different movements that separate it from other strength and conditioning programs. One of Crossfits most controversial movements is the kipping pull up. There are many arguments for and against but much like many things there is a time and place for most things. Knowing when and why is often more important than what to do.


The kipping pull up is a full body gymnastics pulling skill. The athlete uses the power of their hips and back to propel and pull their body upward toward the bar. The kipp is a full body coordinated movement used to cycle through multiple repetitions as fast as possible. Programmed smartly it is a full body pulling conditioning exercise. Conversley the more commonly known strict pull up involves the same range of motion but only involves the muscles of the upper body and is generally performed at a slower cycle rate and used to develop strict upper body pulling strength.


Crossfit and arguabley most of athletics is about power output. Power is simply Force x Distance divided by Time - More work faster means higher power output and greater metabolic conditioning value. Kipping enables a pulling drill to be turned into a great conditioning tool. Basically kipping pull up is to strict pull up as burpee is to push up. They require a full body coordinated and sustained effort to stimulate an appropriate conditioning response. When was the last time an athletic event or anything in life looked like a strict movement. Does a football coach tell the quarterback not to use his hips to throw because it’s cheating. Train fast , play fast...train slow, play slow. When the technique and strength base is built execute at a high speed for peak performance.

Often times I see athletes get kipping pull ups and stopping working on developing strict pull ups. They get caught up in the trick and speed and don’t always stop and make sure they continue to work on their strength base. Power rules supreme in athletics but the first part of the equation is always Force ( strength). Simply being stronger solves many problems in the physical world. kipping too often or without the appropriate strength base built with strict movements and accessory work will result in injuries.

If your’e new to these or any movements please consult with a professional to ensure proper progression and avoidance of injury and embarassment. Or just put on your big boy/girl pants and take personal responsibility for your own actions.

Perform 21 thrusters followed by 21 pull ups then 15 thrusters,15 pull ups, 9 thrusters and 9 pull ups. See how fast you can do this Elite times are sub 3 minutes. It doesnt matter whether the pull ups are strict or kipping just get the work done as fast as possible. Increase the thruster weight and wear a weight vest for more of a strength based work out or do it as perscribed below for maximum conditioning benefit.



Thruster 95/65

Pull Up