Friday, January 6, 2017

Why we (sometimes) program Kipping Pullups

I stole this from the internet somewhere, I forgot where so if it's yours let me know and I'll give you attribution. This is a pretty good kipping pullup.  I'd want her toes pointed a bit more and a little less break in the knee (frames 5, 6), but I wouldn't complain if I saw someone kip like this.

Other than the deadlift, I think one of the most important movements for everyone is a strict pull-up. Even if for no other reason than your own safety and preparedness, the ability to pull your body weight up with just your arms is an important skill to have. It's the most popular movement on the goal board each year, and everyone is capable of doing a solid pull-up with some practice.

In the fitness (or really just CrossFit, if you follow them) industry there's a great controversy over whether the kipping pull-up is a real pull-up or not. For those of you who don't know what the kipping pull-up is: it's a movement where you go from arms extended to chin over a bar (just like a real pull-up), but you use momentum and a pop (or kip) from your hips to help propel yourself upwards.

Is the kipping pull-up a reall pull-up? No. It's a different movement, that uses different muscles. But is it useful? Yes.

In a practical sense, if you're in that emergency situation where you need to get yourself up with your arms, no one is going to judge you if you get some momentum.

If we're in a conditioning workout, often times you won't have the strength to do 50 pull-ups in an hour, so to get the right intensity, you'll need to kip.

I also add kipping pull-ups to the program because they do stress the shoulders and thoracic spine a little differently than a real pull-up. I noticed this myself last week during the "Death by Pull-ups" workout. The forward swing, the loading phase (the first and last frame in our image) before the kip, really opened up my shoulders and back. If you have trouble opening your shoulders to get your head through on a strict press, the dynamic action of the kip can help work that out. My shoulders and back felt so much better the next few days after that workout, that it reminded me to be sure to add more dynamic pull-ups into our programming.

However, I do not allow you to kip until you have somewhere around 5 good strict pull-ups. Why? The dynamics of the kipping pull-up load your shoulders much more than a strict pull-up (think about the loading of your feet in walking vs running). So we want you to use strict pull-ups to build your strength and then you can add intensity with the kip. It's not cheating - I promise! We also want you to start with strict pull-ups because strict pull-ups will make you stronger and will always translate into more kipping pull-ups. But kipping pull-ups won't really make you stronger. If all you do is kip, you'll never build the strength you need for robust shoulders.

The strict pull-up to kipping pull-up is one of the progressions we have. You may see a post about that soon. We have a series of progression that start with fundamental movements and build to technical ones. That's how we can have an effective class with people of all skill levels.



Workout

squat 8-5-3x5
2 pull-ups between sets

then

15 min to find a heavy snatch
then
5 rounds with full recovery
at 65% of your heavy snatch do the complex
3 power snatches
3 high-hang snatches
3 OHS




Endurance Option

squats
2 pull-ups between sets

then

15 min to find a heavy snatch
then
5 rounds with full recovery
at 65% of your heavy snatch do the complex
3 power snatches
3 high-hang snatches
3 OHS
drop reps if you can't stay below AeroMAX



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