The first step is getting onto the bar!
We’re always fielding questions on the butterfly kip. Usually they’re technical in nature, but sometimes the question arises as to when someone should learn it. First let’s set the stage and make sure we’re on the same page. The kipping pull-up and the strict or dead-hang pull-up are 2 different movements. Each has a time and a place in a training program. Assuming that we all understand that because everyone who looks at this sit is well educated, smart about training principals, and understands the difference between the two just as they understand the difference between a sit-up and a plank. Right? Good.
So talking about kipping where the focus of the days’ training is to complete as much work as quickly as possible, when talking about pull-ups, the kip is the most efficient way to get that work done. Understand that this comes after we prepare the athlete for the pull-up over time, which includes specific strengthening through other movements, as well as mobility work related to the shoulder. Take a look at the difference:
So my opinion on the kip, and this is my opinion only but I think it’s right…you must master the gymnastics kip before working on the butterfly. Why? First, the gymnastics kip is easier to learn for most. It also transfers to movements like toes-to-bar, so working on one will help you get better at the other. Those who can do both will also tell you that the butterfly is more technical and tougher to get down. Having gone through the process of learning how to do the gymnastics kip and understanding how to control yourself on the bar will shorten the learning curve of the butterfly version.
Finally, and I think that most will agree, is that when you start to loose the butterfly kip whether from the volume of pull-ups or the overall impact of that version with other movements during the WOD, they’re gone. At that point, if you don’t have the gymnastics kip to fall back on, you’re screwed. Especially when looking at chest-to-bar pull-ups, most folks will use the butterfly as long as possible, and then when it stops happening, immediately default to the gymnastics kip.
So, there you have our take on it. If you have questions, get with one of your coaches. And keep practicing!!