The subject of kipping pull-ups verus ‘stricts’ comes up a lot at the edges of the CrossFit community. Inside the CrossFit world they are seen as an essential/cool skill to increase cycle time and thus power output i.e. if I can do 20 (kipping) pull-ups in the same time that you can do 10 (stricts) then I am doing more work in less time.
And isn’t that the point of CrossFit? Increased work capacity?
I have always preferred the description of CrossFit as preparing you to face the unknown and unknowable: real world, unpredictable, non-barbell shaped problems.This is where the argument for kipping pull-ups starts to break down.
You see, kipping does very little to increase vertical pulling strength. In fact, in a non-trivial number of cases in our gym alone, we have seen clients actually get weaker having learned to kip. Surely we can’t be satisfied with this?
In the real world, stuck down at the bottom of a ditch or hanging from a window ledge, what actual use is the kipping pull-up? Short of swinging from tree branches it is next to useless in most real world climbing situations.
So Andrew and I, and the rest of the CrossFit London Coaching Academy, pondered this issue on Saturday. We genuinely feel that we are doing you, our clients, a disservice by not preparing you to face the unknown and unknowable.
Do we think strict pull-ups are an essential component in your armoury in achieving this aim?
And so we are issuing the following mandate, effective immediately:
Kipping pull-ups are banned during WODs for the next three months
We may still cover the skill from time to time, but if the WOD calls for pull-ups* everyone is going to do them strict, even if it means using bands. If you don’t have a strict pull-up, you soon will!
It’s a Cruel Summer…but it’s for your own good!
* Before you ask: Yes, this does include Angie.