Strict vs. Kipping
Written by: Coach Amy
CrossFit is unmatched in its ability to train individuals to be the best all-around athletes on the planet. Through a variety of high intensity movements done over many different time domains, incorporating things like gymnastics, weightlifting, running, and more, we can improve elements of fitness such as speed, power, flexibility, strength, and endurance in ourselves, and in significantly less time than other fitness programs.
CrossFit often gets a bad rap for certain movements that involve using other parts of our body in order to generate momentum to accomplish the work faster.. i.e. kipping. What many fail to realize is that kipping is meant to be the natural progression of pull ups as an individual increases their strength, rather than beginning with the kip.
Once an individual has built up the ability to do strict pull ups, the next step is not kipping, but rather more strict pull ups. If a person is able to complete a couple unbroken strict pull ups, they can now start adding unassisted strict pull ups into workouts. Taking the classic benchmark workout "Cindy" as an example (5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats for 20 minutes), an individual may attempt 1 or 2 strict pull ups at the beginning of each set before modifying the movement. Once the individual is able to complete multiple unbroken sets of strict pull ups in a workout, the natural progression is to turn to kipping to allow them to complete the work in less time, and in turn, increasing the intensity of the workout.
Take the benchmark "Fran" for example: 21-15-9 repetitions for time of thrusters and pull ups. This workout is intended to be done in 5 minutes or less. To complete 45 repetitions of strict pull ups would add significant time to the completion of this workout for anyone. By using the kipping pull up, the individual is able to complete the same amount of work in significantly less time, and shoot the intensity of this workout through the roof.
All of this is to say that the kip is not inherently dangerous, nor should it be considered "cheating". In order to get to the level of attempting a kip, an individual must first build up their strength, as the movement can put an increased amount of force on the shoulders, especially when learning.
That is why at Triangle CrossFit, we'll be seeing much more strict gymnastics work in the programming than ever before, following CrossFit.com in their daily programming. Recently, CrossFit Founder Greg Glassman addressed this dilemma, stating he wished he had not emphasized the kip as much when first forming the company, as many CrossFitters now skip over the strict work and go straight to kipping, rather than allowing the natural progression of the movement through increased pull up volume in workouts.
This mindset permeates through many movements seen in CrossFit gyms - push ups, handstand push ups, bar muscle ups, ring muscle ups, dips, etc. So come on out and get to work. This will be a great time to truly develop your strength in a way that will benefit you across the board at the gym and in life. The better you are able to control your body, the stronger and more stable you will be, and the less likely to get injured - in or out of the gym. Let's slow it down and do it right. What you do now in the gym will affect the way you feel, move, age, and live for many years to come.