We've all been there, mid-WOD, struggling to get our chins over the bar with banded pull ups, and we look over to see somebody else in class run in and bust out their pull ups in half the time it's taken you because they're doing this thing we call, a "kip". So what exactly is a kip and when do we use it? A kip is derived from gymnastics in which we generate power from our hips to create horizontal and vertical movement.
In CrossFit, we use kipping pull ups because they are more efficient in the middle of a workout than doing reps on reps of strict pull ups. Our shoulders are made up of a bunch of small muscles and pulling or pushing our bodyweight can tax those muscles to the point of exhaustion, leading to muscle failure and incomplete reps. It can be very tempting to start doing kipping pull ups before what your coaches deem as "ready". We're not out to get you or being mean when we say that kipping pull ups aren't recommended until you have strict pull ups. Despite the power generated from your hips in a kip, kipping pull ups require a lot of shoulder strength because of the way you are moving your body through space. Kipping pull ups put a lot of strain on your shoulders, which means that if the strength in your shoulders isn't substantial enough, you will end up at best making one of those muscles angry requiring a week or so off to rest, or at worst, tearing a muscle and needing surgery to repair it. The rule of thumb Armen gave me when I started asking about kipping pull ups was, until you can do 8-10 strict pull ups, kipping is off limits.
That being said, I don't think kipping practice is ruled out. Practicing your C's & D's doesn't just transfer over to pull ups, but it transfers to toes to bar and knees to elbow as well. Learning how to control your body through hollow and arched positions will help make any of the movements we do on the pull up bar more efficient for you. So when we throw C's & D's into the warm up, or if you're a few minutes early to class and you'd like to practice kipping, let your coaches know so we can help you and take you through some drills!
6 rounds for time:
4 power cleans (155/105)
6 front squats
*rest exactly 90 seconds between rounds
Posted by Megan