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To preface this, the coaching staff of CrossFit 5 Triple 9 recently came out of an amazing CrossFit Gymnastics course run by Tony Ronchi in Aruba. The following thoughts are a combination of direct inspiration and my own interpretation of concepts presented to us at the course.
[K]ipping pullups and even banded pullups have a place, but it must be understood how and when to implement them.
At the heart of CrossFit, our goal is to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains. We do this by blending weightlifting, gymnastics, monostructural cardio elements and a plethora of other movements into workouts done for time, for a certain amount of rounds or reps, for load and a whole host of other “scores.” Because of this data-driven program, now CrossFitters around the world are understanding the value of tracking workouts and measuring progress, and also starting to dip their feet in the waters of competition through whiteboards/leaderboards within their gyms or the interwebs. However, I firmly believe this figurative dipping of the feet is part of a problem.
Luckily, it is reconcilable and the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that there is one.
With whiteboards and leaderboards a common thing in our community, understand that humans are extremely intelligent and will find shortcuts anywhere and everywhere they can to be at the top of a leaderboard or to best a previous effort.
To stay in line with the title of this blog, enter the kipping pullup. Before, if someone was seen doing a kipping pullup, he or she would be considered “cheating.” Now after over a decade, kipping pullups are a norm in CrossFit affiliates and globo-gyms around the world. (As a disclaimer, my intentions are not to knock the kipping pullup at all, because it is a valuable training tool and useful when implemented correctly.)
Let me nip this in the bud immediately and state: If you are a coach teaching the majority of your upper body pulling movements as some sort of kipping variation with little to no instruction on strict variations
, you are doing your clients a disservice.
Similarly, if you are throwing bands on the feet of every client who wants to do pullups, whether strict or kipping, you are also doing your clients a disservice (bands are a whole other topic in itself).
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