Kipping Pull-Ups

To succeed in bowhunting, learn to pull your weight.

This edition of Fit to Hunt targets a very important part of your bowhunting body -- the pulling muscles. These guys aid in a solid draw, they maintain the draw, and they sponsor the effort involved in climbing trees and dragging game. The kipping pull-up will aid you in all of these efforts.


While most people know what a traditional pull-up is, very few have ever heard of a kipping pull-up -- kip for short. At first glance, kips look like cheating or maybe even spastic pull-ups. They are not. Kipping pull-ups allow you to do more work in less time, thus increasing energy expended. They demand full-body coordination movements that translate directly to the real-life pulling movements previously mentioned. Lastly, the hip motion of effective kips adds to their function by developing the posterior chain -- lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. The posterior chain is your main engine for hiking the high country and a host of other movements.

When it comes to pull-ups, don't be concerned with grip -- underhand or overhand (supinated or pronated). When you can do 30 pull-ups, they all start to feel the same, no matter the grip. Follow these steps to master the kip:

1. Jump up and use the upward momentum from the jump to pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar. You can start the kipping pull-up from a dead hang, but if you're new to the exercise, try starting at the top.

2. Let yourself drop. This first drop gives you enough momentum to start the kip with a little assistance. Pull your hips back and push your shoulders forward while you descend. As you near the bottom of the pull-up, let your body straighten out until your hips are aligned with your torso and your feet are hanging down.

3. Using the momentum from the down phase, bounce into the up phase by swinging your feet forward at the beginning of the up phase. Just make sure that as your feet come forward, your hips stay back. As you near the top of the up phase, your feet will naturally swing back down. When this happens, bring your hips up and out to round out the up phase of the exercise.

4. At the very top of the up phase, thrust your chest out as if you are trying to throw yourself, chest first, over the bar. Then let yourself drop to the down phase again, swinging your feet back behind you as you come down. As you get to the bottom of the down phase, bounce back up to repeat the pull-up.

The goal in your kip workout is to increase repetitions. The more you can do, the stronger you become. Muscular endurance, stamina, relative strength -- whatever you want to define and measure gets better. With the goal being high reps, regular bouts are critical.

One final thought: For peak success this fall, take pen to paper and compose your objectives for the rest of 2010. Construct your plan, eliminate excuses, and make your dreams a reality.

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