Why is kipping allowed?


One question that comes up frequently is ‘Why does the World Pull-Up Organization allow kipping/kicking/leg-assistance in their competitions?‘.

The reason is that the World Pull-Up Organization views the Pull-Up Repetitions and the Weighted Pull-Up as sports, not mere strength exercises. And in all sports, technique is a vital part of the performance. To master the sport, one must master both the strength and the skill.

Furthermore, it is practically impossible to do pull-ups without at least some kind of swinging/movement in your lower body, because after all, your legs hang in the air when you’re doing pull-ups. Hence, disallowing kipping would make refereeing ambiguous and open to interpretations. How much movement would count as kipping? Would a movement of one millimeter in the hip or the knee joint be a cause for disqualification and how would the referee be able to detect such a small movement right there on the spot? The same problem arises if the rules would define a certain allowed margin for movement, for example in degrees of flexion at the hip joint. The referee would have to be able to see the difference between, for example 30 degrees (allowed) and 30,1 degrees (disallowed).

The rules of a sport must be as explicit as possible to guarantee an equal and fair opportunity for all competitors.

Picture by Voima-Vahtila