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In this short article we will explore the kipping pull-up, a well known pull-up variation seen across competitive fitness WODs and events. In the below sections, the particular muscle worked, movement execution, and training adaptations/benefits will be discussed.

Muscles Worked

The kipping pull-up targets many of the same muscle groups since many pull-up variations (strict, chest to bar, jumping, band-assisted, and butterfly pull-ups). Unlike the strict and banded versions, however, the kipping movement does lower the muscular strength and mass demands needed to execute, since body momentum can be used to assist in lifting the body upwards. In doing so, many of the muscles here are challenged inside a more muscular endurance way rather than maximal strength and hypertrophy (with the exception being made for beginners).

  • Forearms and Grip
  • Biceps
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Posterior Shoulder
  • Scapular Stabilizers
  • Core (midline stability)

Exercise Demo

In the below video the kipping pull-up is demonstrated. Note, that this exercise is often learned in 2 parts, (1) proper execution from the kipping movement to determine body awareness and midline control, and (2) mastering the essential strict pull-up for optimal muscular strength, coordination, and muscle hypertrophy. Without correct understanding and execution of the strict pull-up, performing kipping pull-ups may actually cause more damage than good.

4 Advantages of Kipping Pull-Ups

Below are four benefits of performing kipping pull-ups. Observe that many of these outcomes are similar to chest to close pull-ups and other types of kipping, however will have some differences in comparison with stricter versions of pull-ups.

Muscular Endurance

Kipping pull-ups often allow an individual to do more repetitions compared to what they would certainly be able to do performing strict pull-up movements. Because of the higher volume nature of this exercise, (often, more repetitions are performed as a whole and/or more repetitions per set) muscular endurance plays a vital part in performance. Muscles like the forearms, biceps, latissimus dorsi, posterior shoulder, and core are affected.

Gymnastics Skill

The kip, often seem in competitive fitness (see below) may also be used like a basic movement in gymnastics. The ability to find body awareness, rhythm, and become dynamic is a vital skill for gymnastics. Although this is also learned in other methods during gymnastics training, the kip can also do its part when programmed and done properly.

Competitive Fitness Skill

The kipping pull-up is definitely an exercise that must be learned and performed in competitive fitness workouts and competitions. For this reason, those who place emphasis on this style of fitness and therefore are searching for maximal performance must gain skill and movement strength/endurance specific to performing kipping pull-ups.

Total Body Movement

The kipping pull-up offers us a unique method to help develop body awareness, coordination, joint articulation, flexibility/mobility, and midline control. The kip, often observed in gymnastic movements, requires all of the above attributes. While these can be learned via different ways, the kipping pull-up can help to develop such traits when done properly.

Popular Kipping Pull-Up Variations

The kipping pull-up includes a few variations that have been discussed previously on BarBend. When examining these variations, coaches and athletes must understand the proper progressions that has to occur before advancing to more difficulty variations (for that sale readiness and injury prevention). Movements such as the butterfly pull-up, chest to bar kipping pull-up, and also the chest to bar butterfly pull-up all include aspects of the kipping pull-up in their execution.

Can You Do THESE Pull-Up Variations?

Below are several pull-up variations that beginner and advanced athletes alike should make an effort to master if they are seriously interested in kipping and pull-up performance!

  • Stink at Strict Pull-Ups? Do This!
  • Chest to Bar Pull-Up Progressions
  • The L-Sit Pull-Up: Can You Do One?