How To Do A Kip Up With 5 Progressive Exercises

New training methods are being developed with every passing second around the globe. Additionally, static exercises are not so popular anymore. People tend to shift their focus on movements that incorporate flexibility and overall coordination of their bodies.


I’m pretty sure that many of us grew up watching Jackie Chan’s movies with awe, wondering how on earth could he pull off those almost monkey-like moves. One thing that impressed me the most was the flashy kip-up, which happened more than once in many of his films.

Jackie Chan's Kip Up

The kip-up is a multidisciplinary technique that usually comes up in martial arts, calisthenics and parkour.

Although, it’s not exactly the skill that will save your life one day (though Jackie might beg to differ), nor will it complement your fitness goals, the kip up is still an astonishing feat of body strength, agility, stability and speed.

On the other hand, it looks deceptively simple, doesn't it? Seemingly all it takes is a bit of effort to push yourself off the floor and land on your feet in one articulate and graceful movement.

And that was how I got a terribly swollen ass after seeing the move on screen, because I tried it almost immediately and kept smashing my bottom into the ground, over and over again.

So I’m obliged to warn you that it will take a long time until you can execute a kip-up properly; the bruises on your back and your butt are just icing on the cake. So if you worry about looking stupid in public, I highly recommend home practicing with a soft surface for this one.

Try To Kip Up 

Let us start by accepting the fact that the kip-up is a rather advanced movement. And like all other advanced techniques, it takes time and a great patience because you’ll need to master the progressive baby-steps in advance.

It’s said that the real engine of an athletic body lies in one’s hips, which associate with movement capacity and body coordination.

Athletic Body

Nonetheless, constantly hitting the gym for lifting, squatting or benching aren’t going to make you more athletic. In contrast, they actually add more weight to your body in terms of mass.

The kip-up will serve to build massive strength in your hips as well as your explosiveness. However, it is also a whole-body exercise, which involves four major aspects:

  • Agility: full range of motion is essential for your hips, spine, abs, shoulders, wrists knees and ankles.
  • Strength: since the movement is instantaneous, your back, glutes, and shoulders must be capable of generating a great power to push yourself up.
  • Balance: your core should be stable, on par with your muscle strength, to endure the impacts exerted on your body.
  • Speed: last but not least, simply because you’ll never be able to get on your feet without reaching the fundamental speed.

How To Build Up

First and foremost, you need to build strength in several other parts of your body to withstand the explosiveness of the movement.

Without further ado, here are five prerequisite exercises that will prepare your body for kipping up.

1. Lying Leg Raise

So we kick off with an easy one. The lying leg raise will help developing the strength and flexibility in your abs and hamstring.

2. Rolling Sit-Up

This is another baby-step towards the kipping. Starting by sitting on the floor, then try to roll on your back and move your legs over your head. Bending your knees will make it easier, though you should try to keep your legs straight.

Check out this tutorial video for more.

3. Rolling Squat

The rolling squat slightly alters the previous movement: keep rolling onto your feet. As you can see, there’s no explosiveness involved in the first three exercises. Their one and only target is to develop the required strength for kipping.

4. Pike Push-Up

Pike Push-Up

The pike push-up is somewhat more difficult. It is a necessary build-up exercise for the handstand push-up (a guide of handstand push-up progression can be seen here, in case you’re interested).

These exercises help you build phenomenal strength in your shoulders and arms, which are fundamental for a kip-up.

Your hands should be positioned under your shoulders. The complete range of motion includes heading all the way to the ground and back up.

5. Full Back Bridge

Full Back Bridge

The back bridge is actually a very complicated exercise, which also require a lot of time and effort. A comprehensible tutorial to a full bridge can be seen in the following video.

You should start the progression with more basic exercises, such as: the straight bridge and the neck bridge. Do be very careful with the neck bridge, or your neck might get severely injured. A safe guide for back bridge progression can be found here.

It is obvious that the kip-up taxes your spine heavily. That’s why these back bridges are a must in advance, just to get your spine ready.

Kip Up The Good Work 

The kip up can be divided into 3 basic steps:

  • First, you need to get into the position that can generate and accelerate the explosive motion. The pose is relatively similar to one of the rolling sit up and squat, with your palms on the ground and your hips quickly rolled up to bring your knees close to your forehead.
  • Explosively kick your legs upward, as fast and hard as you can. Your legs and hips will be the main driving forces, but don’t forget your arms. Timing is very important, as you need to push at the right moment to take advantage of the momentum created by the kick.
  • Land on the balls of your feet and stand up; your knees and your chest should be straightly aligned.


Huge kudos to you if you have managed to fulfill your childhood dream by successfully performing the kip up; it’s no easy task. If you cannot pull it off quite yet, I suggest you focus on developing your strength first, and you will be able to do it like Jackie Chan someday.

If the Kip Up has gotten you interested in bodyweight exercises, be sure to check out our post on 5 Of The Best Bodyweight Ab Exercises – Including Upside Down Sit Ups. It's time to get that six-pack you always wanted!

Please share your thoughts in the comment section, let me know how you’re getting on with the exercises or just to say hello. And don’t forget to spread the words so more people can do it too.


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