Be Strict with Strict Pull-ups!


Strict vs. Kipping?

The pullup is essential and is incorporated in many of the CrossFit workouts. As a crossfitter, it is important to know how to progress and the importance of this movement.

Strict pullups are integral. They are a fundamental and important movement to learn before adding in the kipping. For most, kipping is easier to learn and pick up in regards to the strict movement, but in most cases, can yield harmful implications in beginning with a movement that demands powerful momentum from the core versus a movement that demands body awareness, control and strength.

Strict movement builds strength. Anything strict is building strength in specific muscle groups. Because there is no momentum involved in the movement, a crossfitter must rely purely on the muscles and how much they can move under the load of your bodyweight versus inertia that is generated during kipping movements.

Strict movements utilize time under tension. Kipping movements are fast, that’s why people tend to kip when doing time sensitive WODs. When a strict movement is involved, there is no period of weightlessness in the body (unlike the kip), so the body is in constant tension with the body weight. Time under tension builds strength by using  contractions, which also have an added benefit of building control over the body in the movement.

Strict movements prepare the smaller muscle groups for kipping. Strict movement preps the smaller muscle groups to protect the shoulder girdle from the intense movement of the kip. The smaller muscles that stabilize the shoulder girdle (rotator cuff) include teres major, supraspinatus, teres minor, infraspinatus, levator scapula, and subscapularis. Other muscles that are being utilized also include rhomboid major and minor, serratus posterior superior, and biceps. These small muscle groups are essential to keeping the shoulder mobile and supported.

Strict movements build up those smaller muscles to support the shoulder and prevent slap tears, bicepital tears, shoulder dislocations, and glenoid labrum tears. Those injuries can come from kipping too much, and it is best to be aware of why.

Strict movements prevent the sporadic kip. Many times when a crossfitter does not have the strict pull up, it is obvious to others. The sporadic kip stems from lack of strength in the shoulders and back, therefore the athlete has to use momentum rather than strength to pull up to the bar.

Master the strict pull up, then the kip comes easy. The kip will have a smaller base, which prevents injuries, most importantly, but for those of you who are competitive, it is also much faster to have a smaller base in that you are able to recoil back into the next pull up rather quickly. Remember, the more you have to move forward and back, the more apt you are to have repetitive use injury. This is especially important for those who butterfly kip. If there is no strength in your base, your chances of injury go up significantly.

The most important thing is to constantly work on your form and strength building. It’s difficult to go from kipping to a strict movement, but it’s much easier to go from a strict movement to a kipping one. Kipping is just a tool to utilize to be faster during  time sensitive WODs, but the strict movement is translated in all most everything we do in CrossFit.

Ask if you have questions! Never be afraid to get that extra coaching in, and take the time to practice the movements. We’re all here for you.

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