Kipping Pull Ups: How To And Benefits

There's nothing like seeing a butterfly pull up with perfect form. But to get that form down you have to start with kipping pull ups, and building efficiency and finesse can take some time. We're going to talk about kipping pill ups, the benefits, and how to master the movement. 

What Are Kipping Pull Ups

Kipping pull up is a functional fitness movement, typically programmed in CrossFit. Kipping pull ups are different than strict pull ups. They use a hollow hold that generates momentum helping to get your chin up and over the bar for a successful rep. Believe it or not, the kipping pull up does require some skill, but we’ll get into that next.

Benefits Of Kipping Pull Ups

1. Conditioning

Improving your conditioning and overall fitness is always the goal with CrossFit whether you’re training for fun with some buddies on a Saturday or pursuing your ambitions at becoming the next games athlete. By developing your conditioning you are not just becoming better at kipping pull ups but you’re also encouraging your body for muscle growth, even out muscle imbalances, stabilize your joints, improve coordination, mobility, posture, and even your peripheral skills. All of these development pieces contribute to your overall performance and help you become a better, healthier, more capable athlete, both in and out of the gym.

2. Grip Strength

Having solid grip strength in both the hands and the wrists is crucial for banging around a lot of weight in the box. Obviously you’ll be able to lift more weight if you can hold onto the weight better, but in terms of kipping pull ups, having quality grip strength is going to allow you to complete more reps unbroken working towards your total set count. Having a solid grip also contributes to your success with both the pulling and pushing movements of kipping pull ups. Grip will be a limiting factor to performance in not just this movement, but many.

3. Gymnastics Training

Pull ups are a fundamental movement to building gymnastic skill in the sport of CrossFit. Whether you’re working on your kipping pull ups, bar muscle ups, ring muscle ups, or otherwise, with more advanced body weight movements comes a higher development of muscle, endurance capacity, and skill. By mastering kipping pull ups you’re not only going to be able to crush the WOD but you’ll be able to efficiently progress into bigger movements like BMUs, RMUs, and even hand stand walks. 

4. Training Endurance

Training your endurance capacity is going to be another benefit of working on this movement. The better your movement, grip, and overall muscular development gets, the longer you’re going to be able to hold onto that bar and to rep out the movement. Kipping pull ups are an introduction to the butterfly pull up, which will improve your cardiovascular endurance. 

5. Muscle Strength and Development

Kipping pull ups work a lot of similar muscles to the traditional or strict pull up but a little differently due to the swinging motion (arch/hollow) of the movement. You can expect to see muscular strength and development in the hands, forearms, biceps from pulling up to the bar, the lats and back muscles that contribute to the vertical pull of the kipping pull ups, as well as your other muscles of the scapular stabilizers which keep the shoulders in the correct position. Making sure that you have proper development of these muscles prior to heading to the bar for the kipping motion is going to be important to avoid injury. 

How To Do Kipping Pull Ups


  • The movement begins by initiating the kip into the arch position. Drive your head through the arms, engaging the lats and shoulder blades together so that you can dive your head forward.
  • Once you reach peak position in the arch, begin to push the bar away from you as you move into the hollow position of the kip
  • From here, you’ll want to generate your force backward and upward as you push the bar down, pull yourself up, and get your chin up and over the bar for the full rep completion
  • Once the chin is up and over, push the bar away from you as you descend and repeat the movement into the arch, hollow, pull up positions. 

Kipping Pull Ups: Takeaway

While kipping pull ups aren’t quite traditional pull ups, they do have their time, space, and purpose. They can bring a wide variety of benefit to an athlete’s training and performance, especially in CrossFit. When you practice these you will not only gain endurance, grip strength, muscular strength, and overall coordination, but you’ll enable yourself to progress into more technical bodyweight gymnastic movements.


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Tags: Training