• Tips for Kipping Pull-Up Success

    January 3, 2013

    Hi, friends! How’s your day going? Mine is flying by, and I love that tomorrow is FRIDAY! Hooray! :mrgreen:

    A number of you guys recently asked me about kipping pull-ups, and I saw that some of you had pull-ups as a goal for 2013, so I decided to write a post about what helped me learn how to do them. Hopefully, my tips will help you too!

    kipping pull-ups
    [image source]

    Learning progressions from my coaches

    If you’re a CrossFitter, you’ve probably seen the kipping pull-up progressions before. (If not, check out the Jason Khalipa video that I posted below.) Practicing these progressions over and over again and asking my coaches questions (over and over again) was key to me learning how to do kipping pull-ups.

    Watching videos on YouTube

    After months and months of practice, I knew I was strong enough to do pull-ups, but I could not figure out the motion for the life of me. I could kip, no problem, but I couldn’t connect the dots with how to pull myself up to the bar. Watching videos of people doing kipping pull-ups (at home and on my iPhone at the gym) really helped me visualize what I needed to do. This video with Jason Khalipa was especially helpful.

    Pausing at chin up and pushing off

    When Mal coached at our box this summer, he helped me with kipping pull-ups. One of his tips, in particular, really helped me understand the movement. He told me to hold the chin up position and then push myself back and off the bar. Pushing off and swinging forward showed me just how big the kip need to be and let me feel the proper movement and momentum.

    Practicing side-by-side with someone who knows how to do them

    The day I did my very first kipping pull-up, I was practicing next to a friend, who already knew how to do them. I watched her do a bunch of kipping pull-ups and then I mimicked exactly what she did. Having a live example right next to me definitely helped make it possible!

    Using a small band (off to the side)

    When I finally learned how to do a couple of kipping pull-ups, the next step was stringing them together. (I’m still not a master at this, but I’m getting there!) What helped me was using a small band to support me while I practiced multiple kipping pull-ups in a row. One of my coaches suggested putting the band off to the side of my hands, instead of right in the middle of my body, so it was a more natural kip and didn’t pull me all around, which helped a lot. When I do WODs with a lot of pull-ups, I’ll often use a small band off to the side like this.

    Be aggressive

    The momentum of the kipping really helps to propel you up, so being more aggressive and “active” with my shoulders and hips really helped me string together multiple pull-ups.

    Practice, practice, practice

    Last but not least (and most important): PRACTICE! Lots of practice! It took me 7-8 months to figure out how to do kipping pull-ups and about a year to be able to do them in (some) workouts. It’s a hard movement, so don’t get discouraged. Practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. Eventually, it will click!

    Lunch

    When lunchtime rolled around yesterday afternoon, I remembered that I planned pizza made with a cauliflower crust for dinner, so I got a head start on it. (I added two eggs to the mix this time, which helped to firm it up.)

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    Since I was turning on my oven to cook the cauliflower crust, I multi-tasked and cooked some Sweet Potato Wedges and chicken breasts as well. Then, I made some Cheesy Cauliflower Puree (with the extra cauliflower from the crust) since my kitchen was already a mess. And now I have a bunch of healthy, prepared foods in my fridge!

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    Cheesy Cauliflower Puree

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
    • 1 cup shredded cheese (any kind will work – I used sharp cheddar)
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1 tbsp minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Break cauliflower into florets and add to a food processor (or blender); blend until the consistency is that of rice.
    2. Heat a large skillet on the stove and add olive oil, cauliflower, garlic, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower turns translucent and begins to soften.
    3. Transfer cauliflower mixture to a large mixing bowl and combine with shredded cheese and Parmesan. Mix until the shredded cheese is completely melted.
    4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

    For lunch, I topped some of the Cheesy Cauliflower Puree (it sort of reminds me of mashed potatoes) with peas and leftover meat from the previous night’s dinner. It was SUCH a delicious and filling meal. Win-win!

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    Once I finished eating, I wanted something sweet to eat, so I ate a few Sweet Potato Wedges that I cooked in coconut oil.

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    Snack

    After lunch, I ran a couple of errands and then returned home to find a package of goodies on my front porch from Brookside. Inside was some dark chocolate-covered goji berries, which looked quite tasty, so I immediately broke them open. And, holy goodness, they were delicious! So delicious, in fact, I ended up eating about half of the bag! Oops. Hopefully, I don’t plow through the rest of them just as quickly.

    I posted the photo below on Instagram and a bunch of my followers agreed that these things are truly amazing. I can’t believe I didn’t discover them until now. I was definitely missing out!

    darkchocolategoji

    Workout

    With a stomach full of chocolate-covered goji berries, I headed to CrossFit for a workout. (I’m surprised I didn’t barf them up during the Box Jumps!) On the agenda:

    STRENGTH

    Overhead Squat 6 x 3
    Add weight every set.

    WOD
    AMRAP 12:
    8 Push Jerks
    8 Box Jumps
    8 Barbell Rollouts

    Rx: (155, 115) (24″, 20″)
    L2: (135, 95) (24″, 20″)
    L1: (115, 75) (24″, 20″)
    Beg: weight determined by coach

    I worked with a couple of friends in class, and we worked our way up to 75 pounds for the overhead squat. I wish we hadn’t run out of time because I could have kept going. Oh, well. Next time!

    For the WOD, I used 65 pounds and finished 7 (rounds) + 19 (reps), even after Push Pressing the first two rounds. Brain fart. Thankfully, one of my coaches noticed that I was doing the wrong move and corrected me during the WOD. You know what? Push Jerks are way easier!

    Dinner

    After CrossFit, I came home and made dinner, which was chicken, broccoli, and feta pizza on a cauliflower crust.

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    Delicious X 1,000,000!

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    I’m seriously obsessed with this recipe. Brittney is a genius.

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    I ate two pieces and then went back for a third.

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    Question of the Day

    Are pull-ups a fitness goal for you? Have you ever tried to do kipping pull-ups? If you can do kipping pull-ups, what are your tips for mastering them?

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    { 71 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jolynn January 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Cool vid! Thanks for sharing. I want to do 5 unassisted pull ups in a row this year. I know, not a huge amount, but it’s definitely a goal.

    Reply

    Rana@Life Love Pursuit of Running January 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I love the Brookside chocolate covered berries! Costco actually sells mini packs of them that are great for snacks, so you aren’t tempted with too many :) I love them, and the box has lasted us a month or so!

    Reply

    Tina January 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I should probably buy those! :)

    Reply

    Peach January 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    So great of you to post about kipping, which I’m struggling with you at about the same spot! I have managed to get the movement down to get one solid kipping pullup, but can’t seem to string two together! My coach advised to use a light band to work on the movement, but didn’t say to offset it – going to try that! Kick some ass with Elizabeth! Oh, and ps – your sweet breakfast scrambles have become my morning staple. <3

    Reply

    Kelsey January 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Totally making that pizza this weekend! Thanks!!

    Reply

    Lisa January 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Amy, this is exactly how the coaches at my box feel about kipping pull ups. They teach how to kip, but unless you can demonstrate that you can string together strict pull ups they would never let you do them. They say in order to kip safely, your shoulders need to build the requisite strength first, otherwise risk of injury is very high. They really look down upon boxes that have people kipping before doing strict pull ups. They say it’s just bad coaching and that there’s a serious risk of injury.

    Reply

    BethT January 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I saw the original recipe calls for one egg – did you double it to get to two eggs, or did you think 2 eggs just helped it firm up? I’ve been wanting to try this for a while!

    Reply

    Tina January 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    @BethT: I used 2 eggs in the original recipe to help firm it up. It’s a good one! :)

    Reply

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