CrossFit gets a lot of heat for kipping gymnastics movements, some of it justified, some of it not. Kipping pull-ups, toes-to-bar, handstand push-ups, and even muscle-ups are a way to keep intensity high in workouts with high volume. That being said, it is not a replacement for strict movements. If you do not have a handful of strict whatever you are working on, it is best to start there. There are a BUNCH of muscles in your shoulder, I won’t bore you by listing them all, as well as a small rim of cartilage known as the labrum. Premature kipping pull-ups have the highest risk of injuring your labrum and really anything else.
Let’s say you don’t have strict pull-ups yet but you saw everyone else in class doing kipping pull-ups and you said “hey, I wonder if I can do that”. You pop on the bar and sure enough your chin pops over the bar. Score. It’s not the “pulling-up” that’s the problem though. What goes up, must come down. All that momentum that you used getting yourself over the bar has to go somewhere. To decelerate your moving body all that weight comes down on your shoulders before you get that big swing to catapult yourself over the bar. Multiply that by all the pull-ups we do in CrossFit and something is gonna give.
If you are using bands in workouts with pull-ups, it is in your best interest to keep the pull-ups strict and work toward unassisted strict pull-ups rather than kipping in a band. And honestly, aren’t you sick of hitting your face on the band anyway? After you get a few strict reps down, learn to incorporate the kip to increase the volume. Doing kipping variations can help you build strength in the strict movements and it will help keep WODs fast and grueling.
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