4 Progressions for the Pull Up (Video)

Kip-Pull-Up: A Beginner’s Guide to Kipping Pull Ups

The first thing to understand when it comes to kipping pull ups is that they are not just a way of getting extra reps in your workout. They are also a great way of improving your overall strength and power.

For example, if you want to get stronger in your deadlift, then you need to do some sort of heavy weight training. If you want to improve your squatting technique, then you will have better results with kipping squats. And so on…

If these things sound like what you’re looking for, then kipping pull ups might be right for you!

However, there are a few things to keep in mind before jumping into them.

1) You need to be able to hold the position for at least 2 seconds.

If you can’t do that, then don’t bother doing them! Even if you manage to complete the movement without breaking down or falling over, you won’t gain anything from it.

2) You need to have at least a 6 inch distance between your elbow and your belly button.

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If you don’t have that extra space, then it’s most likely because your lat muscles are too weak to pull the arms back. And if that’s the case, then you won’t gain anything from doing kipping pull ups either.

3) You need to be at a good weight:not too light and not too heavy.

So this rule doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you find that kipping pull ups are too tiring, then you might want to consider losing or gaining a few pounds.

Now that we’ve gotten these three things out of the way, let’s begin with the proper kipping pull ups grip.

Kipping Pull Up Grip

The grip is very important for kipping pull ups.

The last thing you want is to not be able to keep the arms back because your palms are facing down, right?

Well that’s why it’s important to make sure your grip is correct. If you’re a lefty, then just use your right hand to turn your palms towards the ceiling. This will give you the necessary clearance.

The next thing is to place your hands on the bar, with your knuckles pointing towards your body. This will allow you to use your forearm strength while kipping, rather than relying only on your arms.

Once you’ve got that down, you’re ready to kip!

Kipping Pull Up Execution

Now that you know how to grip the pull up bar, and you also know what NOT to do as well, it’s time to get started.

The first thing you need to get right is the placement of your feet. They have to be facing away from the bar at a distance that’s neither too close nor too far. If they’re too close, then you won’t sail through the movement. If they’re too far, then you’ll lose momentum and won’t be able to complete the rep.

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The next thing to pay attention to is your legs. Make sure you keep your legs straight while performing the kipping pull up (and also when you land from them). It might be tempting to curl them inwards as you move back and forth, but this is something that will get in the way of your performance. The only thing your legs should be doing is keeping your knees slightly bent and pushing you forward.

Now that you have the placement and execution of the movement down, it’s time to focus on the kip. Remember, a lot of this will come naturally to you based on what you already know about how to jump. Try a few reps without any extra swing or movement first.

Kip…

Once you’re ready to add the kip, all you need to do is thrust your hips as you push with your arms and jump. You don’t need to jump super high; just enough that your body starts to turn over in the air. As you start to go back down, use your upper body strength to pull yourself up a little more so that your chin is above the bar. That’s one rep!

Just make sure that you aren’t trying to pull yourself up by only pulling on the bar with your hands. You should be using your back and shoulder muscles as well, not just your arms.

Kipping Pull Up Tips

Keep these things in mind as you practice your kipping pull ups:

Don’t rush through the movement. Rushing will tire you out quickly and can lead to bad form.

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Don’t throw yourself at the bar and struggle to get your chin over it. This is called “white knuckling” and can lead to losing your grip. The bar is there to be gripped, not to be grabbed at in an attempt to pull yourself up.

Keep your legs straight as you move back and forth. Curling them inwards will cause you to lose momentum.

Don’t tuck your legs in too close or too far from the bar. The same rules apply here as they do to the placement of your hands on the bar.

Don’t jump with enough force that you push yourself away from the bar. This will make it more difficult for you to pull up since you won’t be able to get your chin above the bar.

Don’t stick your knees out behind you too much. This can cause strain on your lower back. Also, don’t bend them in too much. This will cause strain on your hamstrings and your knees.

You should be able to keep a 90-degree angle at the knee when your legs are extended back and forth.

Don’t push with just your arms. This will tire you out quickly and cause bad form as you struggle to complete reps. Use your back and shoulder muscles as well.

Don’t move too fast through the movement. This is yet another thing that will cause you to lose form and tire you out.

Don’t be afraid to take breaks. If you’re feeling pain in your back or arms, or if you find you’re losing your grip, then it might be a good idea to slow down and take a break. This can help to prevent injury.

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Practice these tips and the kipping pull up technique until they feel natural to you. Then, you’re ready to put them into practice during a real pull up.

Keep in mind that your kipping pull ups should be done at a faster pace than traditional pull ups. So, if your goal is to be able to do 20 traditional pull ups, then your goal should be to do about 15 kipping pull ups. This also holds true for other rep goals that you set for yourself.

Kipping isn’t just used for pull ups either. You’ll find that this movement is used for a variety of other CrossFit exercises, like the muscle-up and the handstand push up. We’ll get more into these in later sections. Just remember that kipping is all about using your core to throw your body in a circular motion to help propel your body to complete the movement.

Common Kipping Pull Up Mistakes to Avoid

Mistiming Your Power: You want to make sure that you’re using the power in the right way so that you don’t tire yourself out too quickly and waste all your power. Though you can always redo a kipping pull up, and other CrossFit exercise, if you pull yourself up at the wrong time, you could very well pull a muscle or lose your balance and fall off. Instead of pulling with all the power that you’ve kipped up with, it’s a better idea to push yourself away from the bar with straight arms. Then, use your arms to slowly bring yourself back towards the bar before you kip up again.

This will save you from getting your balance wrong and also will give you plenty of energy for the next rep.

Not Using Your Legs: You might feel more comfortable just using your arms and upper body while you’re working on these. But, if you really want to master the kipping pull up, you’ll need to use all of your muscles. Your legs are just as important as any other part of your body when it comes to doing these kipping pull ups. Try and keep your knees in close as you push yourself away from the bar after your first kip.

This will keep your legs from getting in the way and really take some stress off of your arms.

Bending Your Knees: Like we said before, you definitely want to keep your knees in close when you’re doing your kipping pull ups. However, if you do this without keeping your legs straight, then you’re going to lose a lot of power. Even if you’re a beginner, you should be trying to complete this exercise with a full range of movement. Not only will this help you to become better at them, it’ll also help you with other CrossFit exercises that might have similar movements.

Forgetting to Breathe: Are you having a hard time holding your breath while doing these?

If so, you aren’t alone. A lot of people seem to struggle with this when they first start doing kipping pull ups or any CrossFit exercise that requires them to hold their breath. You don’t want to hold your breath while doing these or you could pass out and really damage yourself. The easiest way to avoid this is to take quick breaths in through your nose before you start your kipping motions and then continue to breath out through your mouth during the exercise.

How to Improve Your Kipping Pull-ups

There are a lot of different strategies that you can use to improve your kipping pull ups. Some of them you’ll learn here and others you’ll have to learn through practice. As always, make sure that you’re properly warming up before you start doing any CrossFit exercises.

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As we said before, there are a lot of different CrossFit exercises that incorporate the kipping motion. These can be good to practice on if you’re new and don’t have a lot of strength behind your kipping pull ups. Even if you are new, you should still be able to do at least a few normal pull ups before working your way up to the kipping pull up. From there, you can try doing some flex hangs from the bar.

This will help to strengthen your arms and teach you how to swing and use your core to bring yourself up to the bar.

If you’re a little stronger, then you can try doing some weighted kipping pull ups. You can do this by hanging a weight (maybe a small sandbag) over you as you perform your kipping pull ups. This will force you to use more of your muscles in order to move yourself up to the bar. You can also try kipping on a taller bar.

This will require you to swing your body more in order to reach the bar, which will work more muscles and help you build up your strength.

If you’re really strong (or feel adventurous), you can try one arm kipping pull ups. As you can probably guess, this is when you use only one arm to bring yourself up to the bar. This is a really difficult exercise that can take a lot of time and practice to get right. Be careful whenever you try this one and never hesitate to scale back the amount of arms you’re using if you start to feel any pain.

Always keep your body aligned when performing these as well in order to avoid injury.

Tips to remember:

Always warm up before beginning any exercise routine.

Don’t forget to breathe! If you’re struggling to hold your breath, try taking small breathes during the exercise.

Try not to use too much strength when first learning the kip. It takes time to get used to the motions and you don’t want to tire yourself out before you’ve even really gotten started.

Don’t be afraid to scale back the amount of arms that you’re using during one arm kipping pull ups. Each person has their own limitations and it’s important that you don’t push yourself too hard.

Work your way up to weighted kipping pull-ups and one arm kipping pull ups. You’ll get there eventually!

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As always, make sure you’re properly warming down after each session of kipping pull ups (and any CrossFit exercise). This is just as important as warming up. Make sure to do some light stretching and take your time.

Tips and Warnings:

Be careful whenever you’re doing one arm kipping pull-ups. This can be a very dangerous exercise if you’re not paying attention or don’t have your body aligned properly. Don’t push yourself too hard on this one, especially when you’re first starting out. Always make sure you have a spotter around to help you in case something goes wrong.

Don’t try to rush yourself with one arm kipping pull ups. These take a long time to get right and it’s better to be patient and work on your form than to try to rush through it. You also don’t want to hurt yourself or push yourself too hard. Take it nice and easy when you’re first starting out with this exercise.

Don’t forget about your core! When you’re bringing yourself up to the bar with your arms, use your abs to ‘pull’ yourself up to the bar. It may seem like common sense, but a lot of people forget to use their core during pull-ups and this ends up causing a lot of strain on their neck and back.

As always when doing kipping pull-ups, make sure to have a spotter around. This is an incredibly dangerous exercise if you don’t have someone around to help you in case something goes wrong. Even with a spotter, be sure to always keep your body aligned when doing one arm kipping pull-ups.

Kipping pull ups aren’t for everyone and they can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Always make sure you’re warmed up properly before attempting them and be sure to never push yourself too hard.

Grip strength is very important when first starting out in CrossFit. This is why you’ll probably notice that many of the workouts that CrossFitters participate in (especially the ones who participate in the high-intensity ones on a regular basis), incorporate pinch grip pull-ups into their training. These are a great way to strengthen your grip and help you get used to holding on to the bar for extended periods of time.

So what are some good pinch grip exercises?

Here are a few:

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Pinch Grip Block Pulls:

You’ll need access to a pair of smooth blocks that you can firmly grip with your hands. You want the blocks to be at least 2 inches in height and no more than 4 inches in height. Place the blocks on a table, flat surface or anything else that allows you to grip the blocks at the same time.

Have your fingers facing each other (like when you do a normal pull-up). Grip the blocks as hard as possible and then pull yourself up, away from the blocks. Try to get your chin above the blocks and then lower yourself back down slowly. Move into a rhythm and repeat until you’re done for the day.

Pinch Grip Pull-ups:

This is another exercise that can be done using an elevated bar or using rings.

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