Written by Crista Jorgensen

We have all heard it outside the gym when you tell someone you do CrossFit; “Cheater Pull-ups”. The kipping pull-up has gotten a bad rap simply because it is often misunderstood. As CrossFitters we should know why we do kipping pull-ups in most of our workouts. For this reason I would like to go over the number one advantage for why we perform the pull-up using a kip.

First, the kipping pull-up is an entirely different tool than the traditional strict pull-up. It is not better or worse, we utilize it for a different outcome. Therefore the strict pull-up should still be in any crossfitters workout routine. Building strength for the kipping pull-up is first established by performing strict pull-ups.

But as crossfitters, our results come from the intensity of the workouts. This is what makes CrossFit so fun, moving weight fast! Subsequently this is also what gives the best results. It’s a win-win! And this is where kipping pull-ups come in. The goal in CrossFit is to keep the intensity high in workouts. By performing kipping pull-ups we can accomplish this goal. To give you a better understanding of this concept here is an example of one of the most popular and traditional workouts called “Fran”.

21-15-9 Reps For Time (As fast as possible)



If we do this workout with strict pull-ups versus kipping pull-ups it makes the workout completely different. With forty-five pull-ups, performing them strict would drastically bring the intensity down(lower the heart rate) because muscle fatigue would occur relatively quickly. However, performing them with a kip allows you to keep the intensity high and complete the workout in a shorter time. The shorter the workout the higher the intensity! A good way to think of kipping pull-ups is to consider them conditioning pull-ups. We are using more of our body to execute the same result, driving our heart rate higher, thereby giving us the “Cardio” effect. Maybe if we call them cardio pull-ups the non-crossfitter might grasp the concept better!!!

So if someone ask you why you do those weird looking pull-ups the simple answer is intensity. You can perform more work in a shorter period of time with full body movements keeping your heart rate high and getting amazing results because of it.

“If you complete the same workout in less time or do more work (reps) in the same time, you have increased the average power in real terms.”

“Power is intensity, and intensity brings results.”