It is everybody’s (least?) favorite month: No Kip November! This CFS tradition started a few years back when Dan and Mikey were inspired by other gyms who practiced the trend, but also because one of the best decisions we can make for our CrossFit selves is to work our strict movements. Often, those who CrossFit bypass strict strength for the sake of kipping; in reality, no athlete should attempt kipping movements until they have mastered the strict (except for a few exceptions). The reason? If we can do a movement strict it guarantees we have the strength to maintain control in the kipping movement, therefore preventing injury. CrossFit “promotes strict movement before applying momentum.”
This strict/kipping dilemma can sometimes be a point of contention in our CrossFit journey. In fact, when we master a kipping movement but our coach reminds us “strict first,” we feel a bit like a kid who has just had his favorite toy taken away. We feel elation with our first kipping pull up or muscle up, only to be congratulated then promptly reminded to go back and work on the strict version of the movement. Insert frowny face here. Even though our coaches know best and are looking out for our safety, many athletes kip away having never mastered the strict movement at all.
CrossFit sets pretty steep prerequisites necessary for strict-work mastery before kipping is allowed. Just take a look at what CF Gymnastics sets as its prerequisites for both pulls ups and bar muscle ups:
Before a kipping pull up, the athlete must be able to do 5-7 strict pull-ups, proficient hollow/arch swing
Before a bar muscle up, the athlete must be able to do 8-10 gymnastics kip chest-to-bar pull-ups, strict ring muscle-ups, highly proficient hollow/arch swing
Whoa. This just gives us a clue as to how strict (no pun intended) CrossFit is with its standards for safety and efficiency. Instead of feeling frustrated by these pre-reqs, use November as an opportunity for some accessory work. We know Mikey will be programming plenty of strict practice, but pick a skill for yourself: pull ups, handstands, dips, muscle ups, and put in strict work all month. Set yourself a weekly goal or a goal for the whole month; either way, put in the time. Your muscles and joints will thank you!