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Old 09-23-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
Pär Larsson
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Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

Anyone have any concrete evidence one way or another that kipping pullups cause shoulder injuries?

All I've got is my own anecdotal evidence that say they're fine.

5 years of coaching and training I've never seen someone hurt their shoulder doing kipping pullups.

Reason why I'm asking:

* People stating it as if it's a well-known fact. (Not terribly unusual, I suppose.)
* http://www.livestrong.com/article/35...lder-problems/ SFW
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:13 PM   #2
Michael Boyarchuk
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

First line
"Kipping pull-ups are a method of jerking and bouncing your way through a pull-up instead of using the actual strength and power of your muscles to get your chin over the bar."

is there any truth to this??
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

There's lots of anecdotal evidence in the Injuries section.

The primary issue is the impact of having the person's bodyweight drop onto the shoulder girdle. It's especially a concern for people who aren't very strong, and either can't do deadhangs at all or can only do a few of them. For that reason, a number of coaches refuse to allow people to kip until they can demonstrate sufficient strength.

Some discussion of the issue here:
http://whole9life.com/2009/03/got-pull-up/ (WFS)

Katherine
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
Preston Sprimont
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence out there... Read the injuries thread, as Katherine mentioned. Or check out this thread on the Catalyst Athletics forum: http://cathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5888 (not WFS). Full of overly-zealous critique of Crossfit, but also full of anecdotal evidence that there are plenty of Crossfitting folk who wind up with pretty extreme injuries (this thread talks mostly about rhabdo, but there are plenty of SLAP tears and other serious shoulder injuries sprinkled in there). Sift through some of the 280 something pages on that thread and you're bound to find some of the anecdotes you're seeking...

Also, you may have "never seen someone hurt their shoulder doing kipping pullups," but I would be willing to bet my left pinkie that kipping pull-ups cause a number of shoulder problems over time. Some shoulder injuries can be sudden and caused by a single, ill-performed movement. But there can also be a lot of gradual wear-and-tear type injuries. Especially in weaker folks, the stresses that a kipping pull-up put on the shoulder girdle can lead to plenty of chronic shoulder problems... some of them can end in a catastrophic pop/yank/tear, others can just turn into chronic nagging pains. As an analogue to this, think about running with a heel strike (or any other nasty running form fault). Someone who runs with a heavy heel strike is not going to break anything the first time he heel strikes, and the injuries that result from his poor form probably won't be the sudden and obvious kind; but, if he runs like that for a while, and especially if he is a heavier person, he will eventually get some unfortunate aches and pains, tissue damage, impingement issues, etc.

Last edited by Preston Sprimont : 09-23-2011 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:48 PM   #5
Preston Sprimont
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

Just googled "kipping pullups slap tear." Plenty of results, most of them seemingly Crossfit related. First one I clicked on: http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=63956&page=2 (WFS). The injured guy who started the thread says that kipping pullups and kipping muscle ups were a big part of his training. From what he posted, it sounds like he slowly injured his shoulder with lots of kipping and it finally gave out on some thrusters. Judge for yourself.

Another link that google turned up: http://theprimordialwingnut.wordpres...sfit-mascot-2/ (WFS)
And a quote from the comments on that page, if you want a more direct and unquestionable anecdote:
Quote:
I myself had a slap tear due to kipping pull ups (stupid stuipid movement).
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Old 09-23-2011, 04:58 PM   #6
Preston Sprimont
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

http://www.board.crossfit.com/showth...ping+slap+tear (WFS)

Not much ambiguity in this one...
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:38 PM   #7
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preston Sprimont View Post
Also, you may have "never seen someone hurt their shoulder doing kipping pullups," but I would be willing to bet my left pinkie that kipping pull-ups cause a number of shoulder problems over time. Some shoulder injuries can be sudden and caused by a single, ill-performed movement. But there can also be a lot of gradual wear-and-tear type injuries. Especially in weaker folks, the stresses that a kipping pull-up put on the shoulder girdle can lead to plenty of chronic shoulder problems... some of them can end in a catastrophic pop/yank/tear, others can just turn into chronic nagging pains.
And the catastrophic event might happen while the person is doing some other movement, and so that movement will get the blame even though the kipping pullups were really the cause.

Katherine
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Boyarchuk View Post
First line
"Kipping pull-ups are a method of jerking and bouncing your way through a pull-up instead of using the actual strength and power of your muscles to get your chin over the bar."

is there any truth to this??
Yes. The kipping pullup uses momentum as well as strength to propel the person upward. That's why they're faster and can be done in larger quantities, but that's also why they are potentially damaging.

Katherine
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pull ups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

One of the issues in CrossFit is a lack of risk management data collection. Because each affiliate is independent and we have a marketing agreement with HQ no one collects injury rate data. This is something I would love to see changed. I believe it is the current biggest weakness in the CrossFit program.

We just can't be sure if certain movements are not unacceptably high risk. Clearly KStarr is pretty clear about doing dips and muscle ups with correct shoulder position, which most people don't have when they get their first muscle up.

As someone who suffered a shoulder injury (not related to movements in question, basically my own stupidity) and had a shoulder MRI last year, one of the things the MRI relieved was what they call normal ware and tear (I'm 43). As you age if you are athletic the labrum frays over time. This equals weakening.

In CrossFit's belief of moving people from sickness through health towards fitness on a continuum a major shoulder, knee or back injury is a big set back. In my gym I encourage strict pull ups to build strength. We don't turn kipping pull ups or muscle ups into the "Holy Grail" of achievements. We respect and build up to them carefully.
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:13 AM   #10
Robert Callahan
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Re: Looking for evidence that kipping pullups do or do not cause shoulder injuries.

It also depends on the type of kipping.

"Butterfly" kips are WAY more ballistic and when done correctly have your shoulder joint go from unloaded to SLAMMED down into a loaded position. This is just terrible for your shoulders and WILL injure them over time, period.

A traditional kipping pull-up, after sufficient dead-hang strength has been established (5-10 deadhangs minimum) should involved the athlete maintaining tension in the joint and thus be reasonably safe. The problem with these is people let their bodies go all loosy goosy at the bottom and hyperextend their shoulders. But a good, tightly preformed, traditional kip with adequate strength developed first is pretty safe IMO.

Muscles ups should never be kipped.
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