Improve your kipping pull-up mechanics - The Barbell Physio
 

Improve your kipping pull-up mechanics

improve kipping pull-up mechanics

Improve your kipping pull-up mechanics

The kipping pull-up is often a polarizing debate in the fitness community. I’ve written about this many times and my viewpoint is that when done properly, the kipping pull-up is a good upper body pulling plus conditioning exercise (read this article for more). The shoulder strength & control that is developed from a technically sound kipping pull-up is great, BUT when done with poor technique I think kipping pull-ups lead to the shoulder being overloaded and the development of shoulder pain. This article won’t review kipping pull-up pre-requisites so please see the two articles linked about for more on my kipping pull-up views before proceeding.

I see a lot of CrossFit athletes that know their kipping form is off but don’t know how to begin improving their kipping pull-up efficiency. This article will serve as an outline for improving kipping mechanics.

Step 1: Understand What Proper Hollow Hang Positioning Looks Like

This may sound simple but more often than not I see really poor hollow body positioning in athletes. What we want is flexion of the entire spine, a posterior tilt of the pelvis, and closing of the shoulder angle from the lats contracting (as you’ll see in the below video). Instead we often see a pike where the hips flex. We discuss this in more depth in my shoulder pain with kipping pull-ups article but in short this just throws lots of unnecessary force on the shoulder when kipping that leads to poor performance and injury.

Step Two: Master Hollow and Arch Positions on the Ground

We can’t start building the kip hanging from a bar without first working on positioning on the ground. The following two videos do a great job breaking down what we want to see on the floor to ultimately improve kipping pull-up mechanics:

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Let’s talk the arch position as we continue with our series on improving your kipping skills. Without the ability to get into proper arch and hollow positions, efficiently in kipping will be greatly reduced. Start by working positioning on the floor as shown here (and the hollow in a post a few days back). Then progress to proper positioning while hanging from a bar. Stay tuned for drills to improve kipping positioning while hanging from a bar this week. ➡️➡️ Does your kipping need serious help? If so, check out “Building Lats To Fly”, a four week program created by @pamelagnon to improve your lat strength and movement! Link in my bio! https://thebarbellphysio.com/building-lats-to-fly/

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Step 3: Bridge the Gap Between the Floor and the Rig

For many the jump from hollow/arch on the floor to hanging from a bar is too big of a jump. So this standing hollow body drill with lat engagement from the band can be a great one to bridge the gap for athletes. Notice how Pamela first pulls her rib cage down (hollow body position) then pulls the band forward to engage her lats. This is what we want to see when we begin working from hanging: the shoulders and core controlling the movement NOT a piked hip position where the hips generate all the motion.

Step 4: Hit Proper Positions on the Rig

Now that we are ready to get up on the rig and work on kipping form there we need to progressively increase the skill level at which we are working. We’ll start with easier variations and progress to faster ones that require more strength and control.

To following box drill gives the athlete some tactile feedback that helps him or her feel the opening and closing of the body. It’s a great start towards improving positioning.

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Box Arch & Hollows demonstrated here by @pamelagnon are a great drill for athletes needing some tactile cueing to get in proper positions for optimizing kipping efficiency. …… 🔺The two shapes necessary for the kip: 1. the arch 2. The hollow 🔺The major muscles needed: 1. lats 2. Grip strength 3. Core strength ….. 🔹This drill isn’t just for beginners – it will challenge anyone! …… SETUP 1. box needs to be about mid thigh height (anchor it w plates) 2. Box needs to be about 1/2 forearm length in front of rig (see video) …… EXECUTION 1. begin in tight arch w thighs on box 2. Pull down on bar to create active shoulders 3. Pull down on bar – pull ribs down and in – tuck pelvis under 4. Hold each position to build strength & muscle memory …… #cfgcoach #cfgymnastics #mastersgamesathlete #crossfitgames #crossfit #crossfittraining #reebok #wodndone #gymnasty #gymgypsyjournal #risingcrossfit #reebok #pamelagnon #gymnastics #crossfitgirls #kip #kipping #kippingpullup @crossfittraining @crossfit

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For a more dynamic exercise, using a band can also give some feedback to the athlete to help with them feeling the opening and closing of body angles that happens when an athlete properly performs the kip.

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| IMPROVE YOUR KIP SWING | …… 🔸Does your “cadence” seem off while kipping? 🔸Do you generate movement too much with your hip (this is NOT a hip generated skill)? …… 🔺DRILL: 1. set up a band chest height 2. place body in-between band and grab rig with a “meaty” grip (knuckles over bar) 3. the object is to “push” the band while using a tight arch/hollow position 4. you will get some feedback from the band, as well, which will help you with rhythm 🔺CUES: 1. if you don’t have a solid arch/hollow & use your hips to generate a swing, the band won’t give you the correct feedback & you won’t be in a set rhythm 2. squeeze glutes & “tuck” ribs down as you press down to hit the hollow 3. push away and press chest open in arch, w. straight legs & toes pointed …… LOVE THIS STUFF? 🔺Work with me & @pamelagnon online 🤸‍♂️ link in bio

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Finally, we want to progress to kipping drills where there isn’t any tactile feedback. This three position kip drill is great and we can then progress to faster and faster speeds of kip swings by rapidly moving to and from the hollow & arch positions.

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Now that we’ve worked on improving the hollow and arch position in the floor we need to work on hitting proper positions when hanging from a bar. Try this THREE POSITION KIP SEQUENCE from @pamelagnon ・・・ •Slow down so you can then speed up. We are going to hit each position, with repetition, so our body builds strength in each & muscle memory. —————————- 1️⃣The first position is center/neutral where you are in an active hang —————————- 2️⃣Then slowly pull down on bar with straight arms – without bending at the hip. Squeeze butt and keep body in hollow (banana shape). Think about your body position from day 1 & 2 drill. —————————- 3️⃣return to neutral (not arch) and control movement through lats/shoulders. —————————- 4️⃣When heading into the arch/superman, slightly tug away from bar to arch position, keeping arms straight. Do not bend at knees. A tighter arch will provide more tension and be more effective. Based on shoulder mobility your arch may be less/more. *use the poll as a guideline to hit neutral each time (if you video yourself or have friend watch). This is Not a drill w momentum…it is a controlled 3 position drill. —————————- 🔺Complete 3×3 of hollow pull backs 3×3 of arch/supermans 3×6 of arch/center/hollow *after all sets – complete max effort strict pull-ups in 1minute —————————- #cfg #cfgymnastics #Crossfit #crossfittraining #gymnasty #mastersgamesathlete #PerformancePlus #kippingpullups #kip

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Step 5: Continue to Build Strength with Other Drills

Once we’ve developed a solid kip form we can then build that into a good kipping pull-up.  But long term development of maximal efficiency in the kipping pull-up will require continual strengthening of both the hollow/arch positions using drills like the below and continued strengthening of strict pull-ups (both for volume and with weight). Remember that kipping is NOT a substitution for strict pull-up strength. Rather and separate skill that both should be developed in fitness athletes.

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| ARCH/HOLLOW DRILL by @pamelagnon | …… * Before you jump on the rig with your class, use this drill as a warmup ….. 🔺How to execute: 1. The closer the foam roller is to your hips, the easier the drill 2. Set hands on plates or dumbbells to “anchor” them with palms down 3. Start in an arch with glutes squeezed 4. To hit HOLLOW – Press down with palms as you pull ribs under and pelvis under 5. Thighs, glutes & lats should fire up! ….. 🔺MAKE SURE in HOLLOW 1. you should have a loss of lumbar curve 2. You should have a rounded “turtle back” ….. ✅TRY 2 sets x 10 SLOW reps holding the hollow for 1-3sec each rep ….. Want more drills to help your kipping, muscle ups, and gymnastics skills? Check out performance Plus Programming

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