Kipping, Pull-Ups, and Handstand Push-Ups

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Coach’s Corner

With Andrew Carnovale

Kipping…..Depending on the circles you travel in it’s either the greatest thing on the planet or the worst thing since the shake weight. As per usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Having been a CrossFitter I have a understanding of the role of a kip in the WOD. As a powerlifter, I wish people paid more attention to their back development than their kip.

As a coach, I see my job as having a singular purpose. To help you achieve your goals. To walk alongside you and be your guide on this journey and help you avoid the mistakes I made. With that in mind, I have to tell you something I wish I could have told everyone who ever walked into the box.

Do everything strict until you’re awesome at it. Once you have that base of strength, kipping will be easy.

So, what should someone do if they are not able to do a strict pull-up or handstand push-up yet? Work on it! I know, that isn’t very helpful but I can’t help being a smart ass from time to time. Putting the coach hat back on, here’s a plan to help get you there. We’ll focus on developing the muscles most used in the two movements (upper back, lats, shoulders, biceps, triceps). I would do this type of work once a week and that’s it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better here.

Pull-Up

A: Negative Pull-up (3 second descent)- start with 5 total reps per session and focus on keeping your shoulder blades tucked into your back pockets). Add one rep each session until you hit 10 reps total. Do these over the duration of the whole workout.

B1: Dumbbell Row 5×10 – start with a weight that is challenging but allows you to control the dumbbell without involving your legs. Make sure to let your shoulder stretch at the bottom and think of pulling up hard with your elbow on the way up. Go up in weight when the 5th set becomes easy.

B2: Band Pull-Apart 5×15-20 – find a hand position that allows you to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as hard as possible. Start with 15 reps per set and move to 20 reps once that becomes easy

C) Bicep Curls 4×8 (3010) – find a weight that allows you to stay in control for all reps and keep the tempo strict. Add weight when that last set becomes easy

***After about 6 weeks of this feel free to test out your strict pull-up when you’re fresh***

Handstand Push-up

A: Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4×8 (3010) – find a weight that allows you to stay in control for all reps and keep the tempo strict. Add weight when that last set becomes easy.

B1: Dumbbell Reverse Flye 5×15-20 – find a weight that allows you to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together hard. These can be done standing with a slight lean or on a bench with an incline. Arms should be slightly bent through the whole movement

B2: Band Pull-Apart 5×15-20 – find a hand position that allows you to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as hard as possible. Start with 15 reps per set and move to 20 reps once that becomes easy

C: Band Tricep Pushdown 100 total reps – do these in as few sets as possible and pause slightly when your arms are fully extended. The goal here should be to get as close to one set as you can

***After about 6 weeks of this feel free to test out your strict handstand push-up when you’re fresh***