Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Lost Art Of The Strict Pull Up

CrossFitters kip. We love the use any advantage possible when completing a WOD. There's a kip for pull-ups, ring-dips, muscle-ups...there's even videos spoofing kipping. Ultimately, the reliance on utilizing a kipping movement has resulted in a number of CrossFit athletes lacking the necessary strength to complete a strict pull-up. I've worked out next to guys who are able to bang out 100 kipping pull-ups during a WOD in a relatively quick and efficient manner. Those same guys struggle to do 3 or 4 unbroken strict pull-ups.

This is a problem. One of the foundations of CrossFit is the development of functional strength. What could be more functional than pulling your body over an obstacle or barrier. I'm pretty sure you won't be able to utilize a kipping movement to scale over a wall. Sure you'll be able to use your feet, legs, belly, whatever body part in combination with your pulling strength in order to scale a wall. Here's my theory when it comes to kipping. Use it during a timed WOD. Use it during a metcon. Practice it during open gym. Do not use it during warm ups. Warm up doing strict pull ups. The point of a warm up is to get your body ready for the upcoming WOD. Why do you need to kip during a warm up?

Sometimes, we do a "mini" Cindy (3 rounds) to get ready. It combines pulling, pushing, and squats. Other than burpees and wall balls, there aren't many warm ups that engage your entire body in a more efficient manner than Cindy. I religiously do strict pull ups during this warm up. I don't want to rely on kipping unless it is to get me through a high volume pulling WOD. This helps me to maintain my strict pull up performance. It came in handy last week when we did the following WOD:

10 Total Rounds of alternating:
- Strict pull-ups (10, 9, 8, 7...2, 1)
- 30 inch Box Jump  (10, 9, 8, 7...2, 1)

Total Time: 8:33

I was able to get through all pull-up rounds unbroken. Most people were struggling to not kick their knees forward to generate lift. So the next time you're getting warmed up, skip the kip and go with the strict version. It will help you in the long run.

Skip the kip!

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