Our Moonee Ponds personal trainers often get asked how to do a kipping pull up, kipping muscle ups and kipping knee to elbows? Our answer is always the same, “can you do 10 strict pull ups, 10 strict dips, 10 strict HSPU, and 10 strict knee to elbows (actually getting your knee to your elbow)?” Then we get started on achieving those milestones which is no easy task in itself. It all starts with strength.
It’s the opinion at Collective Fitness that if you can’t do the each of the movements without swinging or swaying or kicking frantically to make it happen, forget kipping. I think I’ve said the statement many times over the last few weeks, “quality reps gets results”. In fact, in my opinion…there is really no reason to kip, UNLESS your goal is to bust out a lot of reps for time on a benchamark CrossFit workout. Nothing wrong with that, but by doing so you’re entering in to the “sport of fitness” as CrossFit has created, this is a world where points mean prizes. But if you’re concerned with primary health related goals such as becoming stronger then forget it.
Kipping is a more efficient way to move from point A to point B and requires coordination and rhythm. The problem with a kip is that most often it is performed incorrectly and prematurely in a training program. It is a movement that has to involve huge amounts of core and most often what happens is that people sacrifice safety in order to complete a task.
Do you dread strict pull ups or anything that doesn’t allow you to get your whole body “kipping into it”? Yeah, it’s harder but, I can’t say I dread it.. in fact I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy it because I know it’s going to be a lot harder. Clients stare up at our tallest chin up bar which is 47mm thick and know that they’re going to have to do less reps, go slower and actually do the movement CORRECTLY…but, the whole process is designed to optimise the health related results.
People do say, “Dan, why don’t we ever see you doing butterfly pull ups or kipping toe-to-bars or burpees without a strict push up?” There is a time and place for this type of more “freestyle” movement, but hand on heart, I’m never chasing a best Cindy or a Fran time, EVER. For me, the results (score/recorded time) do not out-way the level of intensity that you put the body though in the process. My reasons for strength and conditioning training are different and I know I can achieve results keeping the level of intensity up but with workouts built specifically for me. Metcons in particular need to be transferable and have progressions throughout a training schedule, not just hit each week in a haphazard mash-up of named workouts.
If you want to see how a pro does Fran then check Rich Froning out here…
Okay… with all of that said, if you still think that learning the proper kip is something you want to achieve, just do it. But you have to follow a progressive path in order to learn the movement correctly and safely. Let’s use pull ups as the movement for our example. If you don’t have 10 strict pull-ups yet, that’s where you need to start. Each time you’re in the gym/studio/box do at least 10 pull ups. This may be in the programming for the day or it may be something you need to do before or after a session If you don’t have a strict pull up yet, work with the bands and make sure each reps you are keeping legs tight, butt tight and abs tight. Make sure that you’re not lifting your chin over the bar, but rather keeping a neutral head position and pulling your chin over the bar. Each reps should be pretty perfect. Each week try to use less of a band than you did the week prior. If you do have a pull-up, the same rules apply. Do as many perfect pull ups as you can without the band and then when you reach a point where your form starts to break, then use the band to complete the reps. Log your progress so you know where you were at the week prior and can reflect back to see your success. Working on just the kipping movement (without the pull) in my opinion is okay. But…again you have to maintain that tight butt, abs, legs (global flexion and extension) position while kipping…NO FLAPPING! Also, do these in small reps and sets as they can play havoc on the shoulders. After you achieve your 10 strict pull ups, then we can start working at incorporating a kip. These same rules apply to all kipping movements (dips, burpees, knee to elbows, toe to bars, muscle ups, etc). In summary, learn to do a strict pull up first.
So back to the blog title… please remember that kipping does not replace strict movements, they are different movements with different purposes. Different tool for different jobs.
Quality reps get (health related) results! Also, please don’t attempt this on your own… have a coach help you!