Well, as suggested, I’m starting a fresh thread on the topic that has me intrigued right now, kips.

At the time Coach Davies article came out mentioning them as a test for atheletic fitness I considered it beyound me. I gave them a go anyway and didn’t quite make it after a few tries. Since they’re something I would have to go out of my way to practice(can’t do them at home, and wouldn’t do them at the gym, which leaves sneaking them in at work) and, other things were more important to me at the time, I let it go as something for the leaner, more fit bunch.

When Chris Shugart mentioned having done them when less then atheleticly built, I both remembered my past interest in the kip(its one neat movement) and reconsidered whether it might be beyound me. It also seems to me that in theory it would make for good GPP or perhaps warmups(especially for lower body and back movements).

I’m hoping that Chris, and others, can give some tips on how they mastered kips, and what they found to be vital to that, as well as what they found it useful for.

Just FYI, I’m more of a short/thick body type(5’8") and, being a FFB, still carry extra skin about the middle. I’m not ripped, nor am I fat, somewhere in the middle, perhaps the best example that comes to mind might be Dan John, just not as old.

I second this. Any kip tips would be cool.

I used to be into breakdancing a little, and every now and then I like to bust it out at a party or practice when I’m bored. Kip ups are used in breakdancing, so I can tell you that to get better at it, just practice. I used to practice on a bed a lot, and once you get that down with proper technique then it makes it lot easier on the floor, and a lot less painful. Its actually a pretty easy move to do, especially for smaller, stronger guys. I realized that I could kip up without any support from my hands when I really worked by back and abs. I was just much more explosive in everything. Lie on the ground, roll the lower half of your body up so your feet are by your face, then spring up and OUT. The momentum should be enough to get your feet on the floor and the upper half of your body standing. Your hands should be placed behind your head, helping you to get your torso up off the ground. Hope thats not too confusing, looking at a picture/video helps.

The Kip-Up

From a standing position, squat down and roll onto your back in one smooth motion. As you roll back, place your hands beside your head and chamber your legs to your face. Get your feet BEYOND and OVER your face, not just by your chin. IMMEDIATELY reverse direction; kick and press against the ground simultaneously. Do NOT kick straight up; kick out at what sometimes feels like a 60 degree angle to the ground but is actually about a 45 degree angle. Before you feel like you have fully extended your legs try to bring them both down to the ground as fast as possible. This is the most crucial element of the kip - the faster you reverse the movement of your legs, the more angular momentum you create to spin yourself around. Bring your feet down wide enough that you end up in a squat sitting BETWEEN them - that way you don’t just bounce of your heels and end up on your back.

In brief:

  • Squat
  • Roll back, putting hands by head
  • Chamber your legs to your face
  • Fire your legs, push the floor away
  • Stomp! Land in a low squat, like the bottom of the Oly snatch.
  • Stand up.

Standing up between each rep helped me to use the momentum of the roll back to do the kip-up; it is really crucial that you not pause while you’re on the ground, at least when you’re first trying it. Also, getting into the squat position after each failed kip-up attempt keeps you aware of the position you’re trying to move to.

No-hands kip-up

The only difference between the assisted version and the true kip-up is that you have to snap off your kick more quickly and precisely, and that you have to push hard with your head instead of with your hands. Good Breakdancers can kip-up without even pushing off their heads (merv has probably done it) but I haven’t quiet pulled that off yet.

Hope that helps.

Lie down on your back.
Put your hands down behind your head so that they palms of your hands are on the ground and your fingers are facing down pointing towards your feet…
Now curl up your knees towards your chest.
Now EXPLODE your legs out at a 45degree angle to the ground and push hard with your arms
Try to land on your feet.

Yes, I’m not so sure of this as a test of athletic ability. I think I first did one as a middle school or early high school kid… and I wasn’t a gifted athlete. I’ve performed them when I was fat a decade ago and I can do them now with single digit bodyfat. Haven’t tried a “no hands” in a while so maybe that’ll be easier now. That was always hit or miss with me.

As I remember, I learned to do it in my living room floor using a pillow at first to soften the failed landings. Experiment with how far you bring your legs up and back. You’re almost kicking “up” at first using a knee bend. Most people don’t come back far enough at first.

Explode. You can’t do these slow. Think power clean. Try them from a static position (already rolled back with legs in air) and from the roll (start sitting on your butt, then roll back and pop up.)

Just play around and you’ll nail one. Do it once and you’re good to go.