CrossFit Pull Ups: Which Came First? The Strict Or The Kip?
So, the title may sound weird, but it does beg a question similar to “which came first the chicken or the egg?” What does come first when it comes to pull ups or muscle ups, the strict or the kip? Now, I cannot speak for every CrossFit gym out there. Every gym has its own dynamic and group structure. Not every coach teaches the same or has the same course of action when it comes to teaching bodyweight movements.
This is true especially of the pull up, which is essential to pretty much every CrossFit workout. CrossFit WODs usually incorporates pull ups somewhere, or a movement similar to a pull up, like ring rows. So it’s important to know how to progress and the importance of practicing this exercise regularly.
So what is the answer to the question, what comes first?
Well, the most common complaint I hear in my practice is “I hurt myself doing kipping pull ups.” And the most frequent question I ask is, “Do you have your strict pull up?” About 99% of the time the patient says they do not have their strict pull up or they have only done it once or twice and never practiced it again.
It is always important to learn the strict movement before the kipping movement. Yes, kipping is easier to pick up in most cases versus the strict movement, but there can be harmful implications in beginning with a movement that requires powerful momentum from the core versus a movement that requires body awareness, strength, and learning control over the body.
Strict movement builds strength. We all pretty much know that anything thing strict is building strength in specific muscle groups. There is no momentum involved in the movement, thus you must rely on the muscles and how much they can move under load (your load in this case is your bodyweight) versus inertia that is generated during kipping movements.
Just think about it, if you weigh 150lbs, then your load is 150lbs when you are doing a strict pull up or strict muscle up. When you are doing strict movements you are also utilizing time under tension. Kipping movements are fast, that’s why we kip when doing time sensitive WODs. When a strict movement is involved, there is no period of weightlessness in the body (unlike the kip), so your body is in constant tension with your weight. Time under tension builds strength.
When doing strict movements you are building up those smaller muscles to support the shoulder and prevent slap tears, bicepital tears, shoulder dislocations, and glenoid labrum tears. That’s just to name a few injuries that can come about from kipping too much. You only have one body. If you injure yourself because you did not properly progress into the kipping pull up, you will be out for at least six weeks rehabbing yourself, then you will have to start at square one. No one wants to be in that position, ever.
Strict movements prevent the crazy kip. Many times when someone does not have the strict pull up or muscle up it is obvious to see. The reason being is they tend to have a very large, or what I like to call “wild,” kip. This stems from lack of strength in the shoulders and back, therefore the athlete has to use momentum rather than strength to pull up to the bar or rings.
If you have the strict pull up, the kip comes easy. Your kip will have a smaller base, which prevents injuries, most importantly, but for those of you who are competitive, it is also much faster to have a smaller base in that you are able to recoil back into the next pull up rather quickly. Remember, the more you have to move forward and back, the more apt you are to have repetitive use injury. This is especially important for those who butterfly kip. If there is no strength in your base, your chances of injury go up significantly.
There are so many progressions that you can do to learn your strict movements. The most important thing is to constantly work on your form and strength building, even if that means your pride may suffer a bit (for those of you who are heavy kippers). Remember, it’s difficult to go from kipping to a strict movement, but it’s much easier to go from a strict movement to a kipping one. Kipping is just a tool to utilize to be faster during WODs that are time sensitive, but the strict movement is translated in all most everything you do in CrossFit. Take care of your bodies; you only have one to work with.
Read the full article HERE.
Strict Pull Ups 3-3-3-3-3 (Weighted if you can)
Double KB Front Rack Reverse Lunge 20-20-20-20
45 KB Swings 53/35#
20 Burpee Box Jumps 24/20”
45 KB Swings 53/35#
16 Ab Wheels
Aimee F 819
Bill F 519
Aimee O 732
Zack H 745
300 Meter Row
15 Burpee Box Jump Overs 24/20”
30 Walking Lunges
16 Ab Wheels
Jen R 1926