If knowledge is power, then what you don’t know CAN hurt. After browsing this article, readers will have the knowledge that the kipping pull-up is a big no-no in the gym. Why? First of all, a study by Ronal Snarr et al. out of Georgia Southern University performed a study examining the electromyographic activation (what muscles are being used and how much) of different pull-up variations. Their study found little significant differences based upon whether the grip was supinated or pronated, wide or narrow. However, they did find that muscle activation levels in all of the Latissimus Dorsi, Biceps Brachii, and Middle Trapezius being lower in kipping pull-ups compared to other variations(1). Second, performing kipping pull-ups can be dangerous as it pulls the scapulae into a protracted position, decreasing subacromial space, increasing the chance for impingement or rotator cuff tears (2).
Ergo, doing kipping Pull-ups not only yields less results in terms of developing strength and hypertrophy, but it can also be harmful. Instead, focus on doing pull ups with good form: scapulae retracted, minimizing swing, depressing the scapulae during the range of motion and minimizing swing rather than relying on generating momentum out of the lower body as with a kipping pull-up.
Snarr, Ronald & Hallmark, Ashleigh & Casey, Jason & Nickerson, Brett & Esco, Michael. (2015). ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC COMPARISON OF PULL-UP VARIATIONS.
Mey, K. D., Danneels, L., Cagnie, B., Huyghe, L., Seyns, E., & Cools, A. M. (2013). Conscious correction of scapular orientation in overhead athletes performing selected shoulder rehabilitation exercises: The e.Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 43(1), 3-10.