How to do Kipping Pull Ups

Posted May 25, 2010 in Exercise Technique 3 Comments »

Pull-ups are awesome for developing a strong, hard back. Chin-ups are great too, especially for increasing biceps involvement. Unfortunately, pull-ups are hard. Many new trainees can barely do 1, if any, pull-ups or chin-ups.

Sexy Back Muscles
A strong, hard back.

Sometimes we need a way to do pull-ups when fatigued, or maybe you are looking for a way to include pull-ups in your conditioning routine. There is a way my friends, and it is called the kipping pull-up.

How to Perform Kipping Pull Ups

A “kip” is basically using the drive from hip flexion followed by an explosive hip extension to increase momentum during a pull-up. This is useful for getting your chin up over the damned bar when performing a HIRT or Tabata session that calls for 100s of pull-up in a short period of time. Kipping pull-ups are used extensively in Crossfit workouts, and you can use kipping chin-ups in your workout too.

The types of pull-ups and chin-ups that most of us typically do in a standard weight training routine (unless you train Crossfit), are from a deadhang. Kipping pull-ups and kipping chin-ups are actually completely different exercises, and should not replace the deadhang in a standard weightlifting routine.

How to Kip

Done correctly, kipping involves a hip snap that generates additional momentum that will lift the body with minimal upper body pulling. It is a much more efficient technique for elevating getting your chin over the bar, but a much less efficient technique for isolating or targeting the muscles of the upper back.

It is obvious that athletes who practice kipping pull-ups can achieve much higher numbers with a kip, than with a strict deadhang pull-up. The guy in this video demonstrates several variations of kipping pull-ups, including adding a clap at the top. Man, that must burn.

How to Pull-Up

When kipping, your pull-up technique does not have to be as impeccable as if you were using a deadhang, but it’s still gotta look somewhat like a pull-up.

  • Get your chin over the bar on every rep.
  • Keep your chest and eyes up to help you get your chin over the bar.
  • Use a grip slightly wider than shoulder width unless you are specifically training an alternate grip.
  • Squeeze the bar to get maximum effort out of your arms and back.
  • Pull-ups are done with the palms facing forward – pronated.
  • Chin-ups are done with the palms facing backwards – supinated.

Will kipping increase the number of pull-ups you can do in a deadhang?

Actually, they will.

Kipping will increase your work capacity and conditioning, the pull or chin motion itself will still train the back muscles, and in fact will probably improve your ability to finish reps (get your chin over the bar) since the kip mainly assists the lower portion of the exercise.

Why Not to Use a Kip

Kipping can put a bit of strain on the joints, due mainly to the ballistic nature of the exercise. Heavy folks and anyone with a pre-existing condition or upper body injury should not attempt kipping until fully recovered or cleared by a doctor.

Kipping pull-ups are not really recommended as the best way to increase your deadhang pull-ups, but kipping is definitely a weapon that should be in your training knowledge arsenal.

In my opinion, you should never do weighted kipping pull ups. That just seems like an injury waiting to happen, unless you use a securely fastened weighted vest.

My advice is to use kipping sporadically, as part of a conditioning workout rather than as a gauge of how many pull-ups or chin-ups you can do from a deadhang.

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3 Responses to “How to do Kipping Pull Ups”

  1. […] Re: "Our" fitness journal. How did you manage to tear your ACL? Google How to do Kipping Pull Ups | Project Swole […]

  2. I’ve done kipping pull ups where you extend one hand and do a fist pump. Gives you a great burn on your ribcage area

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