50-40-30-20-10 reps for time of:
What The Heck Does a Well-Executed Push Jerk Have To Do With A Kipping Pull-up?
The answer: a complete and full hip extension! There is no other answer.
A kipping pull-up is to a pull-up what the push jerk is to the strict overhead press. In both the kipping pull-up and the push jerk, you’re using the momentum created by the lower body to help with what is normally an upper body movement. And the more momentum you can create with the lower body, the easier the movement becomes — you can lift more weight or perform more reps. Now think about that for a moment. Isn’t that a large part of why we’re all here… to improve our overall work capacity? After all, more work faster is the name of the game.
However inevitably, the bigger question always becomes, “Well, isn’t a kipping pull-up considered cheating?” So, is that to say the push jerk is also a cheated movement? Or could it just possibly be a different exercise than the strict overhead press? Well, one thing is for certain: in both cases, the person doing either movement can either look very athletic, coordinated and powerful, or like a total spaz’.
A true kipping pull-up isn’t just a ‘cheated’ pull-up. It’s actually a very technical movement. Proper execution requires timing, power, and coordination, especially when you’re linking them together. The same thing can be said for the push jerk. A proper push jerk isn’t just a cheated strict press. It’s actually a very precise movement requiring specific body positions as well as a lot of timing — just as the kipping pull-up demands. Each movement requires a fully extended hip to either elevate the barbell, or in this case, to elevate our own bodyweight skyward.
Not many people criticize the push jerk, yet the kipping pull-up receives more than it’s fair share of hate mail than any every other exercise combined. That’s odd. In both cases, you’re doing the same thing: using momentum originating from the hip to help the upper body do the job. And in both cases, we’re talking about a compound movement. In both cases, anyone doing it wrong looks like an epileptic patient and runs the risk of injury. Done correctly however, both are quite safe and can generate a tremendous amount of power.
So when should you try the kipping pull-up, unassisted? To answer that, let’s go back to the push jerk by comparison. If someone is weak and can’t hold a 45lb barbell (pressed) overhead without wildly flailing about, it’s probably not a good idea to have him/her do push jerks under any amount of load. That said, it’s best to hold off on all things kipping until you can get a decent amount of strict pull-ups, performed from a dead-start and with a pause at the top of each rep. How many reps, you ask? At least three to five. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, try it. Start from a dead hang. Pull yourself up with zero momentum, bring your chin above the bar, hold for two seconds. Lower yourself under control back into a dead hang and repeat. Much tougher than it looks.
It’s not enough to be able to carry your bodyweight through time and space; you must be able to fully control it in all phases of a given movement, just as the push jerk demands. So either get busy lifting, or get busy swinging. The choice is yours.
Here’s more on the kipping pull-up.