The Big, Flashy Kip: Why You Should Ditch It

So you’ve got the pull-up, the dip and a powerful kip but it's that darned “transition” that’s got your number. Attempt after attempt leaves you feeling a sense of deja vu day to day, and muscle up work quickly turns into a battle with frustration from tearing hands and failed attempts. If it’s the transition that seems to be a barrier, the problem isn’t your lack of kip. In fact, I say ditch that ridiculously powerful kip… it may not be helping as much as you think!

Links of the Muscle Up Chain

If you can recall the first time you learned or taught an olympic lift, you probably remember going through the motions slowly, moving from position to position, under a watchful coaching eye while learning new patterns of movement. Adding speed didn’t come until later down the road. The muscle up is the same concept. Teaching your body to move from one position to the next should happen slowly at first. By adding speed (aka kipping) to the muscle up, you potentially miss important positions. The muscle up can be broken down into grip, pull, transition then press. Having a huge kip may give you a ring-height pull, but once you’re done fighting gravity, you are blockaded by momentum and poor positioning to transition on top of the rings. Having a huge kip no doubt gives you stellar height, but a good pull is only one link in the chain. Point being: adding speed often sacrifices form.

Ditch the Kip and Go Strict

If the words “strict” and “muscle up” in the same sentence put a sour taste in your mouth - it doesn’t have to be that frustrating. We are still going to be fighting gravity, but the strict muscle up allows us to slowly tackle each and every important component of the muscle up so that you don’t have to sacrifice form. The great aspect of the strict muscle up is that it is infinitely scalable/modifiable. Scale or modify with toe assistance or boxes or bands to execute perfect form, progressing gradually until you no longer need weight assistance. Once you’ve got your first strict muscle up, you’ve set the stage nicely to add that kip back in.

First Step: Grip Strength

Where we use power from the kip is where we use strength for the strict. In the strict muscle up, pulling strength, pressing strength and grip strength are prerequisites. Grip strength is often overlooked, but it is the first component of the strict and kipping muscle up. In the kipping muscle up, grip strength is important, but not nearly as important as it is to the strict muscle up. Strength in the false grip is crucial in the strict muscle up to execute the strong and deep pull necessary for the transition. Hence our motive for our product, False Grips. No longer do we want to see athletes turn a cold shoulder to strict muscle ups because of their inability to hold a good false grip.

So instead of going through that familiar cycle of frustration and avoiding strict muscle ups at all costs, take a step back and start prepping for your first strict muscle up. Continue getting stronger in your false grip, pull-up and dip while prioritizing your positioning through challenging modifications. Don’t waste any more time or energy on a flashy kip - ditch that kip and go strict. 

Find out more about our grip strengthening product that was built for all ability levels.