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Kipping Pull-Up: Cheating ?


Are kipping pull-ups cheating? And what are the finer points of the kipping form?
Thanks in advance


check out crossfit web site for all your kipping answers!



Ahh yes the great grey area that is crossfit. I have read over there that kipping on a pullup is a kin to swinging your arms when you run.....But I am still not convinced that kipping is the best method for strength increases. Maybe strength endurance.

Well I feel that I am on a slippery slope.


The Marine Corps used to allow kipping during the pullup portion of it's Physical Fitness Test. In the early 90's they went to deadhang pullups only. It changed PFT scores dramatically.

Every weak body could kip out 20 pullups to max out the event, it was all technique and not much strength. I used to bang out 40 or 50 kipping pullups.

In my opinion, kipping is cheating because as you get your technique down, you need less strength to get over the bar. Kipping is useful in crossfit though when you have do one of those crazy workouts that involve 100 or more pullups. I kip after I have failed on deadhangs in crossfit.


Read the article at crossfit. From My perspective it is just different the way a push-press and strict military press are different. Except one lets former lets you handle more weight the latter variation lets you do more reps. Lots of folks think the push press is cheating when its actually a useful variation.

Similarly you cant compare abilities on the two...just as you should be able to push press more you should be able to kip more. The article is written by a friend of mine its worth a read.

In addition I guess I feel "cheating" is getting the the weight up in a way thats random and not safe....just kinda hoisting it up see: Diesel Weasels Deadlift. The kip pull up is not random failing to make it up to the bar there is a specific technique to the movement. A friend who trains it freqently told me he and others have great results from the excersise.

I doubt you could kip with weight belt so when you get to a certain level kips became strength endurance. I guess if your goals are in line with those of cross fits methodology then that will be useful to you.


I knew guys in the Corps who were around when kipping was allowed. There were very few who couldn't get 20 pulls or damn close to it. When I was in, we had about 6 guys out of 60 who could do 20 dead hangs. We would sometimes do kips during PT for the hell of it, and it made doing 20 a breeze.

I guess it depends on your goals. If you just want to be able to get over the bar a bunch of times, kips are the way to go. However, if you're looking for muscle stimulation, dead hangs are it.

There is a technique to doing kips properly, though. You basically "pop and drop." There is absolutely no negative resistance at all. It will give you an extra 5 or 6 reps on your max almost immediately.


i wouldnt ask this question on crossfit...they will all just start talking about power output and how if you were hanging from something and you were gonna die and needed to pull yourself up, you would kip.

if your looking to develop your back you should keep them strict. better yet, try L-sit pullups, the strictest pullups on earth, besides maybe lever pulls


If they that someone should remind them that they couldn't kip if they were hanging from the ledge (tight) to a building! Then deadhangs would be important..lol


Cheating? In what sense?

In the sense of letting you get more numbers with less work from the upper body? Absolutely. However, the assistance doesn't come from a gravitron or a JS band here. It comes from your hips. And that means that you're doing some extra work while kipping by getting the whole body into the pull-up?

In the sense of retarding your progress? No. When you cheat by spastically kicking your legs, not going to full extension at the bottom, not getting your chin above the top, and so on, you compromise your progress. Doing those kind of cheated reps doesn't even help you do more CHEATED reps as much as doing reps with good form would, let alone help you increase your number of reps with good form. Kipping is not cheating in this sense: Your kipping pull-up numbers will go up, and your dead-hangs will go up with them.

Are they as good as dead hangs for developing the ability to do dead hangs or weighted pull-ups? I don't know. Some people have claimed substantial weighted pull-up gains from just kipping pull-ups (e.g., from BW+100 to BW+140 or something like that), but I haven't seen any weighted pull-up gains. But then I didn't see any from pure dead hangs training either.

As I see it, the only completely persusasive argument that you should kip is that it allows you to squeeze more total effort into a given time period when you're doing a circuit of multiple exercises, because you're using your legs, too. Forget about all the power calculations for a moment and just ask yourself which is more of a puker: A circuit of front squats and military presses, or a circuit of front squats and push-presses? That's the real reason for kipping.

Form: Kipping is damn complicated. Diffeent people seem to do it in different ways. Lots of people sort of rock on the bar (round back - arched back - round back - arched back). The best guys and girls (the ones with 50+ pull-ups) seem to do more of a frog kick thing, bringing the legs rapidly up and back.

I have the up part of the kip down, but the eccentric still escapes me. The trick seems to be to push the bar right before the top of the pull, almost as if you were doing a steep incline bench, and then somehow get your hips back into position to kip again. It's the hip reset that's got me right now. I'm at 28 now, could probably crack 35 if I could push the bar away on each rep instead of locking at the top and lowering.

If you want to learn, watch lots of the videos posted to the CrossFit front page and front page archives - check out all the ones that mention pull-ups (duh) and also all the ones of the workout 'Fran' (which includes lots of pull-ups).


It is not cheating. To get your chin over the bar from a hanging position takes just as much energy no matter how you do it. The kip uses more muscles and also takes some advantage of momentum. Not kipping forces all the work into fewer muscles and does not allow for the use of momentum. I think the comparison is apples and oranges. Good luck. jamej


The Marine Corps moved from a comabt readiness test to the PFT during the vietnam war. The reason they allowed kipping was because the were thinking about the guy trying to pull himself into a chopper from the skid (I have this on good authority). Additionally, I found that if I could do 8 dead hang pull ups I could do 20 kipping. If I was king I'd allow Marines to kip but also add 50 push ups to the PFT. Good luck, jamej


Well I know: THEY ARE NOT!


I agree. I used to do as many dead hangs as I could, then kip out what was left. I remember lots of us being not too happy when they made that change (along with others).


Marines don't do pushups on the PFT. When I was in, it was a 3 mile run, 80 situps in 2 minutes, and 20 pullups.

The Marine Corps felt pullups were a better strength test than pushups, or so we were told in boot camp.