Kipping Training

I'm going to say something that make a lot of people happy and a lot of people want to grab their pitchforks.


Kipping isn't all bad.

There. I said it. Kipping isn't all bad. But before you grab a pitchfork and run to bang out an AMRAP workout, let me explain.


Efficiency versus Inefficiency

I said kipping isn't ALL bad. Sometimes, it is appropriate and sometimes it's inappropriate. It all depends on the situation.


Strength training, especially for the upper body should generally be inefficient. By inefficient, I mean using things like straight arms, using only one hand, using a bad lever etc. This inefficiency during strength training builds a more resilient and adaptable mover and athlete. There are less situations where they will find themselves weak and unprepared.


So when it comes to strength training, ditch the kip.

 For strength, pull-ups, muscle ups, dip etc should be strict to build the strength through the full range of motion.

 This is where someone comes in and usually ask "But what if you can't do a strict one? Kipping can progress you there!"

 Kipping is NOT the best tool in the box for gaining strength. For example, in a kipping pull up, the bottom range often goes fairly untrained due to you having the most kip momentum at the bottom. You may find yourself close to being able to do a strict pull up, but unable to initiate it. Why leave holes and weak links in your strength?

 On the other hand, what about during movement?

During movement, we should strive to be efficient.

I will be the first to admit, if I am hanging off a cliff for dear life, I will kip harder than a Crossfitter about to win the grand prize at the Games if it will help me get over that cliff and save my life. The same applies for when I am practicing parkour or various hanging arts. If the kip will increase my efficiency and allow me to conserve energy and move better, I will do it. We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

This applies to more than just kipping. Generally, we want to be efficient during movement and inefficient during training. From years of BJJ, you learn that good technique is key and important. But having the strength to muscle something is great when it comes to competition or a street situation. You want great technique AND the strength to not need it. You want good strength AND the technique to use very little of it. That right there is going to be a great athlete.

So don't completely eliminate the kip from your movement arsenal. There are times where it is warranted like during movement or competition. But remember to leave it alone when you should be inefficient like during strength training.

 Use that and go improve your move!