How to Rehab Your Athletes Back to Kipping Pullups – Part 2

By djpope

January 29, 2017

Crossfit, injury, kip, kipping, modification, muscle-up, pain, physical therapy, pull-up, pullup, rehab, Rehabilitation, Shoulder, strengthening, Technique, toes to bar

In last week’s article we talked about:

  • How to restore full shoulder range of motion
  • Teaching hanging position
  • Phase 1: Beginner hanging exercises to build tissue capacity

In this article we’ll expand on last week’s article:

  • Phase 2: Advanced hanging exercises to build tissue capacity
  • How to modify difficulty of kipping pull-ups
  • Introducing kipping back into your programming

With kipping pull-up variations generally the toughest part of the movement is falling back to a full hanging position (Click HERE for a more in depth explanation).  Because of this we need to fully prepare the shoulder for these stresses.  Phase 2 rehab exercises are a progression on phase 1 but also have increased emphasis on the eccentric or lowering portion of the movement as well as control at the bottom fully hanging position.

Obviously every athlete that you work with is going to have a different level of shoulder strength.  Not all athletes can bust out large sets of kipping pull-ups.  However, I do feel that most people can safely work the rhythm and timing of a kipping pull-up without pushing past their current strength level.  Here’s how I modify for those athletes getting back to C-kipping:

Here’s how to do it for butterfly pull-ups:

I’m a fan of first being able to perform straight sets with solid technique outside of a conditioning environment prior to adding it into met-con.  Once you’ve built back your strength and technique it’s time to start incorporating kipping movements into your conditioning.  Here are a few tips for returning safely.

  1. Make sure you’re using the right variation of kipping as shown in the videos above
  2. Your first met-con back should not have a heavy emphasis on kipping.  Choose a met-con to return to where pull-ups are not the limiting factor
  3. Reduce the repetition number of pull-ups in a given met-con to start
  4. Keep in mind total volume throughout the week.  Try not to introduce too much volume all at once.

There you have it.  Safely get back to kipping.  Hopefully this gives medical providers some ideas on how to get their athletes back to kipping safely and an idea of how coaches can help guide their athletes back after they return from a shoulder injury.  Let me know how it goes.

Kipping it real,

Daniel Pope, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CF-L1