If you start a conversation about functional fitness, one specific debate is almost certain to happen: kipping pull-ups. Are they real pull-ups? Many disagree on the answer. Are they dangerous for shoulder health? Are there even any benefits to your fitness? The questions go on, but it turns out the CEO himself, Greg Glassman, once shared his stance on kipping pull-ups.
In an interview with Lewis Howes posted on YouTube back in 2016, Howes asked if Glassman had any regrets about the way he had built up the sport. Glassman’s answer? If he were to do it all over again, he would devalue the kipping pull-up. Furthermore, he said trying to do kipping pull-ups when you can’t do strict pull-ups is wrong.
See his full response below.
The kip gets a lot of hate, but it’s widely misunderstood. It’s not meant to be the same as a strict pull-up. It’s a short-cut — a way for athlete’s to get their chin over the bar in a faster, more efficient manner. No, we don’t do kipping pull-ups to build strength. We do them to move fast.
However, as Glassman said, kipping should only come after the strength does. This is why kipping can be risky for shoulder health. You still need to build that musculature first. If you haven’t, and kipping pull-ups show up in a WOD, you should scale your workout accordingly.
Need some help building your pull-up strength? Check out our blog on how to scale pull-ups without bands.