One of the questions I get asked regularly from people who have seen CrossFit on television
“Isn’t the kipping pullup cheating?”
As with most question the answer is: It depends.
The kipping pullup is simply a pullup that uses the hips to generate momentum to help complete the rep.
So to determine if the kipping pullup is “cheating” we need to look at the intent of the training. In many CrossFit WODs, the intent of the workout is to do as much work as possible in as little time as possible while moving safely and effectively. In these cases, the kipping pullup is well suited to help athletes do more work in less time assuming they are moving well.
Many people do still need to work on strict pullup strength though. So in some workouts or as supplemental work, the strict pullup is a key aspect to helping build a better shoulder and back that is capable of supporting high intensity workouts.
Another question I get asked frequently
“Is the kipping pullup safe”
If the kipping pullup is done will then yes it is safe. Problems do come up when athletes focus so much on generating power through the hips that good body mechanics are thrown out, and the shoulder and grip is exposed to a load that can’t be handled.
A good coach can help an athlete (you are an athlete) understand how to progress both kipping and strict pullups safely and effectively to help reduce the risk of injury.