Kipping Pull-ups

Cheating, or just a different approach?

Sometimes a straight line isn't the fastest way to get from point A to point B.
While Pull-ups are typically performed by going straight up and down, the kipping pull-up creates an arc, rather than a straight line, as a means to quickly propel the body upward.

In sports, there are rarely slow controlled movements like conventional pull-ups; real life activities typically involve using the body as a whole. Kipping pull-ups are an explosive, dynamic exercise, turning the pull-up into more of a full-body exercise as opposed to just working the upper body.

Utilizing the kipping technique for pull-ups usually allows for more total reps, which is why some gym rats have referred to it as "cheating." But I think that's somewhat of a juvenile attitude.

You Might Also Like...

NB : For a complete list of everything we use and recommend, swing by the reviews area. And of course the Straight to the Bar Store. It's all in there.

To learn how to put it to work, swing by the Guides area.

Now don't get me wrong, pull-up contests can be a lot of fun, and it's okay to make stipulations as to what the guidelines of your particular contest are, but it's a shame to write off a great performance tool like the kipping pull-up due to a narrow minded view of proper form.

While strict, controlled pull-ups are fantastic for body-building and strength training, kipping pull-ups are great in the context of high intensity conditioning and circuit training. They get your heart rate up and they allow you to share the workload amongst more muscles, as opposed to just isolating the upper back and arms. I think the best approach is to have room for both of these types of pull-ups in your workout regimen. Variety is what it's all about.

Watch the videos below for demonstrations and more:

Al Kavadlo

Al Kavadlo is a personal trainer based in New York, New York; and the author of superb books such as We're Working Out: A Zen Approach to Everyday Fitness (review), Raising the Bar : The Definitive Guide to Bar Calisthenics and Pushing the Limits! Total Body Strength With No Equipment.

Swing by his blog for regular updates on bodyweight strength-training, conditioning, and nutrition. You'll also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and Google+. And, of course, in Gymchat 223 - Progressive Calisthenics. Fantastic conversation.

Like this? Check out :

PR Zone : Thrusters and Chins.If you're already a fan of Charles Staley's EDT style of training, you're probably quite familiar with the notion of the 'PR Zone'. Otherwise, here's a quick summary from the man himself : a discrete 15-minute period of time where you complete as many total reps as possible with two opposing or "antagonistic" exercises In this case, the two exercises are thrusters and chin-ups, to be performed as follows : after warming up, select a 10RM for each exercise perform sets of 5 with very short rest breaks (10-15 sec) until fatigue starts to really kick in drop down to sets of 4,3,2,1 with longer rest breaks as needed The goal for future sessions : simply to increase the number of total reps within the allocated 15 min (without directly training to failure). Sounds like fun.
Building a Salmon Ladder.

Up For a Challenge? Try One of These.

Muscle-Up Progressions.

Time for your first.

The Bodyweight Aficionado's Guide to Gear.

A few extras that can add a whole lot of possibilities.

Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar - I love hearing how other people are training - get in touch. If you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Over to you. Leave a comment below, or send us a tweet :

blog comments powered by Disqus
Straight to the Bar Strength Kit

Are You as Strong as You Could Be?

Grab the Straight to the Bar Strength Kit.

Training Guides, eBooks and of course the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Absolutely free.