Learn More About Kipping Pull-Ups

What is Kipping? How should I do Kipping Pull-up?

We all know what pull-ups are, how they look and how they’re done, but what about kip pull-ups? If you’re not familiar with working out, you’re probably wondering right now:

“What are kips? What is kipping?” Let’s enlighten you. The common pull-ups, those that draw a picture in your head immediately are called “strict” pull-ups; when you do them, you sit in a vertical position, and you drag your body to the bar above your head.

Now, kipping pull-ups are a little different: you drag your body to the bar with the help of continuous motion. While the strict pull-up necessitates strength, the kipping pull-up requires good coordination skills.

There has been quite a little controversy on this type of pull-up, but it was badmouthed by those who’ve never tried it: they say it’s bad for your shoulders and your joints. That’s true, but only when you’re doing it the wrong way.

Kipping pull-ups are, to put it simply, pull-ups done while swinging your body in an unflawed come-and-go motion. “Momentum” is the keyword here – you must use it to catch speed when you extend your body and to raise the body overhead, too. Let’s break this exercise into three logical aspects: position, speed and use of hips.

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Kipping pull-ups are a fantastic way of creating power and movement by putting your body at different angles. First of all, a kipping pull-up is done in a slightly horizontal position (as a consequence of the swinging).

It is more of a discipline than a simple aerobic exercise. While there are numerous critics that grunt “Kipping pull-ups aren’t really genuine pull-ups,” that doesn’t mean that your body isn’t working. In fact, the muscles of the upper body are hugely affected by kipping.

Even when you strive to keep the correct position, there’s great demand on your muscles, not to say about the swing itself. The proper position ensures the right speed and this provides the power of the movement itself. As a result, your ability to do more pull-ups will be improved.


Crossfit kipping pullups (Crossfit being the “inventors” of the kipping pull-up) are the pinnacle of the body’s mechanical efficiency. Speed is no less important than the position.

You don’t need to break the sound barrier, but you have to make sure that the speed generates enough power to get the body to the bar; you couldn’t do that if you barely moved, or you could, but that would be a strict pull-up.

Put it this way: a kipping pull-up is a fantastic mixture of speed, good coordination, and power. It’s how you learn to combine them harmoniously for top-notch results. In order to catch speed, you close your hip angle, and to slow down, you open it.

It sounds pretty complex, right? It’s like a physics class all over again. But, to be honest, it doesn’t stray far from that.

Position + speed + power = proper kipping pull-up.

Hip Use

In contrast with the strict pull-up, the kipping one is done by generating power through your hips rather than with your arms. In a kipping pull-up, you “pull” when the hips have created that much-needed momentum.

So, first you jerk the hips, and then you pull with your arms. You won’t learn how to do a kip up unless you master this movement. Timing is also vital. You must jerk the hips at the perfect moment in order to generate enough momentum/power to get the arms to do the actual pull-up.

Do you see why kipping pull-ups are so different from the strict ones? You don’t need that much coordination when doing a strict pull-up, maybe not at all; in the same lines, you don’t need to create speed nor use your hips to generate momentum and power.

Do Pull Ups Build Muscle?

Do Pull Ups Build Muscle

Of course they do. In fact, when you do a kipping pull-up, you engage a lot of muscles, particularly those in your forearms and the ones that line your spine (the erector spinae), as well as the abdominal muscles.

Given that it’s a highly technical movement, those muscles are automatically pumped-up in the process. Now you know what muscles are used in pull ups, especially in kipping pull-ups. There’s a great chance that you won’t need to do a Crossfit pull up unless you are actually enrolled in the Crossfit program. Still, it’s not a bad idea to try it out and maybe include it in your workout routine as a slightly exotic exercise.

The Butterfly Kipping Pull-Up

The Butterfly is one of the two kipping pull-up versions. In contrast with the simple one, the Butterfly kipping pull-up doesn’t necessitate as much swinging; it’s perhaps half the swinging for more reps in the same amount of time.

Naturally, you need even more practice to do the Butterfly than you do for the simple version, but once you’ve mastered the latter, the former is going to be easier to do.

Another difference is the process: while in a simple, normal kipping pull-up you put your chin over the bar and then you launch back for the next rep, when you do the Butterfly pull up, you stop with the chin over the bar then you let your body fall down vertically for the next rep. It may not look like that much of a difference, but it is, by definition, one.

When you do a Butterfly kipping pull-up, or a simple kipping pull-up for that matter, try to refrain from looking above your head to see where the bar is. It will interrupt the reps, and you will have to do them all over again.

This, however, is something that you will learn in time when your coordination will not leave any room for head injuries or any other sort of mistake.

Once again, these types of pull-ups are typically used in the Crossfit program, so you don’t need to practice them. They’re mainly used in competitions, but it doesn’t hurt to know how to kip pull-up, does it? If you are interested in methods of spicing up your rather boring workout routine, this may just be the best choice you can make.

If you are still unsure on how to do it, there are plenty of blog posts and YouTube tutorials where you can learn how to do and master them in a short time.

First and foremost, kipping pull ups are considerably more dynamic than the common, strict ones, which means more fun for you. Don’t worry about looking silly – it’s something that “comes with the job” when you do them, but you will polish the posture in time.