The ups and downs of the kipping pullup

There is a lot of hype surrounding kipping pullups. I recently had a group of guys impressed by the fact that I could perform kipping pullups – although I am not sure why. You see, they had not been impressed with my deadhang pullups – completed just prior to the kipping pullups. And what is a kipping pullup? Cheating on a pullup.

I do kipping pullups, so I am not opposed to them. I just do not want anyone believing that they will help them be capable of doing strict or deadhang pullups. They are different exercises – with completely different emphases. Here are my ups and downs of the kipping pullup.

The ups

  1. Increased confidence as a result of personal achievement and ability to quickly improve reps and yield a high volume of reps.
  2. Friendly competition (due to the ease in achieving volume compared to deadhang).
    pullups
  3. Mastery of the technique requires self-trust.
  4. They are fun.

The downs

  1. Increased risk of injury – particularly crucial for athletes to be conscientious about – due to the joint strain and repetitive nature.
  2. They do not translate into the ability to perform deadhang pullups. You can argue with me if you want to, but especially as they are taught at CrossFit gyms, there is no lattisimus dorsi recruitment in a kipping pullup. A deadhang pullup is initiated by this recruitment. The kipping pullup is momentum based, not strength based.
  3. It requires greater than average gripping ability (not necessarily grip strength).
  4. They are cardiovascularly exhausting (oh, have I mentioned that as a momentum-based exercise it is therefore a predominantly cardiovascular exercise – like most CrossFit exercise designs).
  5. They will not generalize to anything else in life – except maybe gripping ability on monkey bars???
  6. They will not improve fitness.

The bottomline

A kipping pullup is not a progression towards a strict, deadhang pullup. Hence, why kipping pullups are not part of my training for my 2013 pullup goal. My goal specific training is all pullups, assisted pullups, and lat pulldowns! I just do kipping pullups for fun.

Have anything to add to my ups and downs?

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3 thoughts on “The ups and downs of the kipping pullup

  1. What in the heck is a kipping pull up? I should probably look up a video, but I would have loved some sort of explanation of what it is. I strive mightily to do pull ups, and have never gotten to the point where I can get myself all the way up to the bar.

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