Since the invention of the wheel, many people have sought to improve upon it, creating such vehicles as the bicycle, automobile, and so on. Such efforts have been made by the CrossFit community to improve on the pull up. However, are all pull ups created equal, and if not, what are the cost/benefits of each type? Today we’ll look at the differences between the strict, kipping, and butterfly. Greg Everett of Catalyst Athletics posted an article about his thoughts on the three types and I have to agree on his main points.
First let’s review the three mainstream types of pull ups:
1. Strict/Deadhang: Exactly as it sounds, it starts from a full dead hang and is finished when the athlete pulls his chin over the bar (no swing, no kip). Overall benefit is strength.
2. Kipping Pull Up: Utilizes momentum generated by a controlled “swing,” this movement is more dynamic but still under control as the athlete keeps his shoulders active and maintains tension in his body when pushing away from the bar. Though traditionally looked at as a “cheating” dead hang, we here at Intrepid see them as two different movements with two different goals and purposes. Still this is a movement that requires shoulder girdle strength which is why we have enforce the strict pull up before kipping rule.
3. Butterfly Kip: Spealler made his signature move more sought after than a muscle up (previous CrossFit holy grail) in his explosive 100 pull up video. However, as Everett says in his article,
[The butterfly kip’s] sole purpose is to serve as a competitive pull-up style (whether or not this is recognized or admitted), and this alone is enough to dissuade me from ever using it, teaching it or endorsing it. The idea of modifying an exercise to reduce effort and increase speed for the sake of beating a clock or another exerciser doesn’t make much sense to me. Exercises should have purpose and rationale; for example, a pull-up is a great way to develop upper body pulling strength, scapular stability and even muscular and cardiorespiratory endurance if performed in higher volumes. The butterfly kip minimizes the demands on the very things that the exercise should be used to develop. Additionally, it brings an element of stress to the shoulders and elbows of which the potential for injury is far greater than a more traditional kipping movement. Were I a CrossFit Gamer or some other type of competitive exerciser, I would use the butterfly kip. But again, that very notion tells me it’s not a good choice for training, other than periodic practice for impending competition…
He goes into more detail about the kip and butterfly, so feel free to check out the rest of the article. CrossFit is defined as a program based on constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. I believe the strict and kipping pull ups are functional and have their roles to play (albeit different ones) but the butterfly kip serves only to beat the clock. As he says above, that should relegate it to pre-competition ramp up only.
Power Snatch 5×3