Kipping Pullups

I can kip! Finally after months of trying, I have finally gotten it down!  And like everyone always says, once you can do one correctly, you won’t understand why you had so much difficulty before.  Kipping pull ups are a thousand times easier than conventional pull-ups as you are using your body’s momentum to pull yourself up to the bar.  I personally think they look cooler than regular pullups too.

 What to do:

  1. Start from a dead hang on the bar and tighten your shoulders, almost like a shrug, into their “active position”.  You should be able to feel your upper back muscles contract in a proper active position.
  2. With active shoulders, swing your head through your arms while opening your hips forward allowing your legs to swing behind you.  This should be a controlled motion that you are able to stop on a dime.  If you start to loose control of this swing, stop yourself and start again until a controlled motion is achieved.
  3. One your head goes through your arms; continue with the swing by bringing your head back behind your arms and legs out in front of you.  Continue with the full range of motion.
  4. The secret to a successful kip is all in your hips.  You must keep you hips open and swing from your hips, not your feet.  If you swing from your feet, you will loose control and will not get your body up to the bar.
  5. Use the momentum you gain from the swing to create a bigger and bigger controlled swing.
  6. Start bringing your knees up by your chest on your backwards swing.  That is, when your head is behind your arms and your legs are forward.
  7. With your knees up near your chest (in the backwards swing) kick them back behind you as you transition into the frontwards swing.  In this movement, your head should be in front of your arms, and your legs should be bent behind you as if you were kneeling.
  8. Practice this movement until you have accomplished a controlled motion.
  9. It is from this kneeling position you will want to pull yourself up to the bar.  The momentum from kicking your legs back will help you to pull yourself over the bar.  So, during the transition from knees forward to backward, you want to start your pull up.  This is where active hips become very important.  In fact, it is the momentum coming from your hips that is going to get you over the bar.
  10. Once you are at the top of your pull-up, push yourself off the bar instead of dropping from the bar.  This will allow you to retain your momentum that will allow your controlled swing to continue.  Simply dropping from the pull-up will cause you to loose all momentum which is not good.

I know this sound pretty confusing, but just give it a try.  The most important things to remember are active shoulders, a controlled swing and keeping your hips open.  Practice one step at a time and do not move on to the next until you feel comfortable.  The kipping pull-up is a completely natural movement, so once you get the logistics down; your body will know what to do.  Good luck! Disclaimer: That is not me in the picture 🙂

-EB

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2 thoughts on “Kipping Pullups

  1. good post and congratulations, I have been trying to get this style of pull up down for a while and still look like a dumbass every time 🙂 …. very embarrassing at the crossfit level 1 certification lol

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