To Kip Or Not To Kip?

It’s no secret that we love learning new things, and for most of us, we love challenging ourselves. However, as a society, we also love our health and want to be able to move and live pain-free and healthy for the rest of our lives.

So, with goals of overall health, is there a place for kipping movements in workout routines?

When the functional fitness movement started picking up steam back in 2010, kipping gymnastics movement became a staple. In fact, most people started doing kipping movements before learning the movements themselves, as a way to be more efficient and complete more reps in less time.

Unfortunately, at the time, this led to several injuries and created a stigma of “dangerous” or “too intense for me” around the sport. That’s why at 6S, we only introduce kipping movements to people who can demonstrate the requisite strength to do the movements strict (and handle volume). In fact, in our ideal world, everyone would be doing strict gymnastics.

While kipping movements are required of competitors who compete in the sport, to everyone else who prioritizes health over performance, in our opinion, there is no need to kip movements. Kipping (including butterfly) movements, like pull-ups and chest-to-bar, place a significant amount of strain on the muscles and joints. Thus, without the requisite strength, there is a greater risk for injury. Even then, if you have the requisite strength to complete kipping movements, everything changes under fatigue, and if there is an emphasis on kipping to “increase volume”, then at some point, volume may be prioritized at the expense of good form. Again, over time, likely leading to pains and/or injuries.


In gymnastics/bodyweight movements, strict movements are the KEY to building strength and body awareness. The reality is, that if you cannot complete a movement strict and controlled, then you should not be doing the movement while kipping.

We love challenging our athletes to build strict strength under fatigue because it mimics the challenges and adrenaline release people get when kipping. Not only do strict movements build more musculature strength, but they contribute to better joint health, while allowing us to really understand what our bodies are trying to tell us. That’s also why we love TEMPO work: it gives people an opportunity to build strength at EACH position of the movement. If the TEMPO or form breaks down, then we can assess why and attack that weakness.

Feel like strict movements can get boring? Try adding a tempo, add weight, put them into workouts with different movement pairings, or simply increase the volume, just as you would with kipping movements.

Strict > Kipping, unless you are a competitive athlete who needs to have kipping as a skill to compete. Even then, no matter who you are or where you are at in your journey, you should always work with a coach to determine what requisite strength and skills are needed prior to attempting any kipping.

Let’s be clear: we’re not telling you to never kip. Maybe a kipping pull-up or butterfly chest-to-bars are personal goals of yours – which is GREAT! However, we encourage you to reflect on WHY this is a goal of yours – is it for personal growth or because you saw someone on Instagram do it and it looked cool? – and to work with a coach to determine if kipping movements are right for you.

Not sure where you fall?

Our coaches build out programming that prioritizes overall health and strength, so you don’t need to worry about rushing through steps. Our coaches are here to guide you along the way to make sure you stay on track! While we won’t hold you back from challenging yourself physically and mentally, we will make sure that whatever your goals are, you’re setting yourself up for SUCCESS.

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