Should we be kipping on a rigid, steel bar?



If we look to the sport of gymnastics and the equipment within it, what do we see?

Men and women’s bar apparatus

  1. Parallel bars- wooden

  2. Uneven bars- wooden

  3. High bar- steel



What do they have in common? They are all flexible (both the wooden and steel), they provide bounce for the athlete and absorb shock. 

Now if we look to the typical ‘functional fitness gym’ we see a fixed, steel rig structure. This is certainly convenient. It is sturdy and has multiple uses, it can support plenty of weight for squatting and you can do pull ups on the horizontal bar. 

Using this structure for strict pull ups or ring work is perfectly suitable. 

So what’s the problem?

The horizontal bar has absolutely no flex.

This forces us to ask the question. 

Should we really be kipping and swinging on a steel, fixed horizontal bar? 

My educated guess is, probably not. Especially not to the volume that we see kipping carried out in a typical CrossFit program. It is very common to see in almost any function fitness program, kipping movements well into the 00’s per week. 

If we know there is no shock absorption or flex in the bar, what kind of damage is this causing to the shoulder joint, tendons and ligaments? What about other joints? Wrists? Spine? 

In our gymnastics experience, we had never carried out a movement on a fixed structure. Not even one rep. 

Further to this, in our teaching experience we know that people are not displaying as much control as they should be during most kipping movements executed. 

So what can we do?

Be aware.

Pay attention to how much volume you are putting through your shoulders with your body weight plus the added momentum of kipping. Ask yourself, is it necessary? 

Can you substitute for a movement with less momentum? 

Will we see a future where we can bring some more traditional gymnastics equipment into the wider fitness industry? 

We certainly hope so and it is something Dalecki Strength will work towards for the future. 

Do you have a comment to add to this conversation? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.


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