Learning the Ropes 🏋️♀️
CrossFit uses a technique called “kipping” in lots of exercises because it helps you do more in less time and really gets your whole body working together. Kipping also helps you finish your workouts faster 🏁. But, it’s very important to remember that you need to learn how to do the basic, slower, strict version of an exercise before trying the faster, kipping version.
Taking It Slow 🐢
If you already know how to do a kipping handstand push-up, does that mean you should stop doing it and learn the strict version? Well…yes — at least when you’re doing a lot of them during your workout. If you still want to practice the kipping version, you can include it in your warm-up, as long as you’re really good at controlling the lowering down part of the move. This might not be the most exciting news 😞, but learning the basics before moving to the tougher stuff is crucial.
Safety First 🛡️
Why should you master strict movements before trying kipping? It’s mostly about safety and getting better in the long run 📈. If you rush into kipping without mastering the strict versions, you risk the real possibility of injury.
This is especially true for exercises like the handstand push-up. Take it from me…the only time I have ever sustained a real injury doing CrossFit was from doing kipping handstand push-ups before I was strong enough to do them safely.
But if you take the time to get really good at the slower, strict versions, you’ll be safer, stronger, and will avoid hitting a progress wall too soon 💪.
The Road to Kipping 🛣️
So, what can you do until you’re ready for kipping? Start with the easier versions of an exercise and then slowly work your way up to the harder ones. Once you feel confident with an easier move, you can then try a slightly harder one.
We call this process using progressions, and it is at the heart of how we help you get better!
Here’s an example progression for a handstand push-up:
- Start with a pike handstand push-up on the floor. This version is a bit easier because you’re bending at the waist 🧘♂️.
- Then, try a pike handstand push-up with your knees on a box 📦.
- Next, try it with your feet on the box 🚶♀️.
- Try a pike handstand push-up with one foot on the box and one foot lifted above your hips 🕴️.
- Now, try a negative handstand push-up, where you focus on the lowering down part of the move ⬇️.
- When you feel confident with that, you can try a strict handstand push-up. This is the slower, more controlled version 🐢.
- Finally, once you’ve mastered the strict handstand push-up, you can add in the kipping handstand push-up 🚀.
Always remember that doing any movement correctly is more important than doing it fast. Take your time to learn and practice, and you’ll keep getting better 🎉!
Adapted from a CrossFit Training post, July 2023.
About the Author
Edward Getterman is a Certified CrossFit Trainer (CF-L3) and the owner of Twin Bridges CrossFit in Waco, Texas. If he can’t be at the gym or at home, he’d prefer to be at Walt Disney World. He loves deadlifts, hates running, and believes above all else that CrossFit is for everyone.