Pull Ups

Swing Your Pull Ups Into High Gear — The Kipping Pull Up

Written by shapeshifter

If you’ve followed our advice so far, you’ve sharpened your pull up technique to a finely honed edge. Perhaps you’ve used our band-assisted pull up variation to increase your numbers. Maybe you’ve even tried the traveling pull up and the muscle up, or have built yourself a DIY pull up bar.

If you haven’t done ANY of those things, it’s time to go back and revisit our earlier posts. They’re your foundation for this next piece of the puzzle.

If you HAVE been pulling your own weight (pardon the pun…), you may be ready to swing your training into even higher gear. Enter the kipping pull up

The kip adds a swing or a wave to your pull ups. Why do that? Isn’t strict the way to go? Well, the wave adds an extra dimension of timing and coordination to an already powerful and primal movement pattern. You also recruit more muscle mass when kipping, turning the pull up into a true full-body exercise.

Check it out:

Let’s review some of the key points…

  • Palms face awaykipup_hips
  • When the feet swing forward, the butt swings back
  • When the butt swings back, the hips project forward
  • The backward swing of the butt continues into upward momentum
  • When high enough, snap your hips forward and pull with your arms to bring your chin over the bar
  • Push away from the bar and drive your butt back to come back down
  • Keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears throughout

If you’re ready, give it a try. But even if you’re not there yet, the kipping pull up should be one of the exercises you aim to add to your arsenal down the road.

In the video, I mention the Spinal Rock Butterfly. It’s a great movement to help you nail that hip snap, which is such a crucial component of the kip. If you’d like to see it, let me know in the comments. If there’s enough interest — say 50 comments — then I’ll be back with a Spinal Rock Butterfly video in an upcoming blog.

Looking forward to your thoughts!

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  • Great stuff! I would definitely like to see the spinal rock butterfly video. I’m sure it’s something that will kick my butt just the way I need!

  • really cool. i like the de emphasis on strict as it actually makes it more of a fun exercise and thats how your body would move in real life anyway. show me the butterfly!

    • LOL… 🙂
      Still mostly bodyweight stuff. But I’ve never been dogmatic about what tools I use. When I’m home and have lots of time on my hands, I’ll write myself a program to do at the local neighborhood gym. But the go-to stuff is still bodyweight, kettlebells, clubbells, gym rings and other suspension gear, sandbags, etc.

      AND I know guys WAY bigger than me that do ONLY bodyweight stuff… 🙂

      • Can you design a program that can keep a busy person like me stuffed with hypertrophy workouts for 4-6 months? and then go back and repeat the same program but with progression to new levels.. like in BER..

        a functional muscle building program based on bodyweight workouts alone! i did the program in BER and i hate the leg part of the training! oh my god! it’s brutal the second time around! i get nightmares when i reach high intensity day! but the results were worth it!

        just suggesting.. i’d be da first to jump in for a program like that 😀

  • Thanks for posting this “how to”. I’ve been really interested in kipping for a long time but just didn’t know how to do it. I’ve watched videos of people doing them but it’s great to have the explination and step by step visual breakdown as well. Thanks again.

  • Hey
    A few questions..
    Doesn’t the kipping make the pull up easier? I mean I remember when I’ve just started to do pull ups, I used to kip, but everyone told me I should control my body, so it wouldn’t kip. Also, I’m sure that I can do much more kipping pull ups than strict pull ups.
    If it is easier than the strict pull up, shouldn’t it be a progression towards the strict pull up?

  • Just found this website. Cool stuff. Would love to see the spinal/butterfly move.

    This is one of the best tutorial on the kipping pullup. Take me a long time to learn them! Well worth it!


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