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A kip-up (also called a rising handspring, kick-up, Chinese get up, kick-to-stand, nip-up, flip-up, or carp skip-up) is an acrobatic move in which a person transitions from a supine, and less commonly, a prone position, to a standing position. It is used in activities such as polevaulting,[1] breakdancing, gymnastics,[2] martial arts,[3] professional wrestling, and freerunning, and in action film fight sequences.

Not only does the kip-up require muscle activation and strength, but it also requires proper technique for successful completion. A practitioner must perform the preparation phase (initiation of movement until directly before flight), aerial phase (time spent in flight), and landing phase (time from touchdown of the meet to maintenance of balanced standing) using specific accelerations, angular velocities, and joint positions of the extremities in order to land on their feet.[4]

Execution and physics[edit]

From a supine position[edit]

The performer draws both legs (which may be either in extension or flexion) anterior to the chest, rotates back onto the shoulders, and optionally places hands on the floor proximal to the ears. The performer then moves from hip and knee flexion to hip and knee extension while elevating the body away from the floor. The performer creates force against the ground by pushing off with the hands and simultaneously moving the elbows from flexion to extension. This movement requires an extreme amount of abdominal strength.[5]

The leg motion during the thrust involves increasing the joint angle of the hip from flexion to extension. When the thrust is completed, the rotation of the legs with respect to the trunk is terminated and, as a result, the angular momentum of the legs is transferred to the entire body. The linear momentum of the thrust carries the body into the air feet first while the angular momentum causes the airborne body to rotate. The spine moves into greater lordosis so that with sufficient thrust, back curvature, and body rotation, the performer will land on the feet.[6]

From prone position[edit]

With body face-down, the performer creates forces against the floor with fists or palms while kicking back the legs so as to develop momentum that carries the body into the air. The performer lands with the feet in contact with the floor, and knees in flexion. The hands may not be utilized.[7]

Learning the kip-up[edit]

Video has been used to teach movements such as kip-ups.[citation needed]


Kinematic variations
Name Description
Knee extension kip-up The distinguishing feature to this is that the knees remain in extension while they are brought to the chest. All other movements remain the same to the standard kip up. Keeping the knees in extension causes the inertial properties of the practitioner to change, thus making it more difficult to return to standing than if the individuals knees were in flexion.
No hands kip-up This variation is considered more difficult because it generally requires more force to be exerted on the shoulders and cervical spine. A distinguishing feature of the Wushu version is the change in hand positioning. The hands are placed directly superior to the knees as the legs are brought anterior and proximal to the chest. From there the cervical spine and shoulders create force into the ground in order to add extra velocity to the legs as they recoil back to land. Practically every variation of the original Kipup can be done without hands and springing up from the shoulders and cervical spine.[8]
Prone kip-up With body face-down, the performer pushes against the floor with fists or palms while kicking back the legs so as to develop momentum that carries the body into the air. The performer lands in a squatting position. The feet may not be utilized.[9]
Rolling kip A kip-up executed from a push up (prone, knee extension, hip extension, shoulder flexion, palms on the floor, and toes on the floor, trunk and legs remain aerial while the hands and feet hold the individual for support) or kneeling position. The practitioner starts rotating their body toward the anterior, hips and knees move into flexion, while the hands move inferior toward the floor. The individual discontinues half way through the movement and instead of rolling over to his or her feet, the legs are held back and proximal to the chest. This sets up the practitioner to create force against the ground and do a kip-up.[10]
Headspring Also known as "head kip", it is a move that consists of getting in a kneeling position (prone with knees in flexion, and head and knees contacting the floor) and going on the top of ones head. Thereafter, an individual creates force with their palms against the floor while simultaneously moving the elbows into extension. The individual continues to create force until the hands lift off of the ground. The legs move posterior through the air until a standing position is maintained.
Kip-up 180 The difference between a normal kip-up and a kip-up 180 is the rotation added during the phase in which the individual is aerial. The 180 indicates a rotation of 180 degrees before the feet come in contact with the ground. This is a harder variation that works the same way as the kip-up 360.[11]

Hop back variations[edit]

Hop back variations all involve the practitioner starting in a standing position, possibly jumping in the air and rotating posterior in order to land on their shoulders/back. After maintaining the supine position the practitioner executes the standard kip up variation in order to return to their feet.[12]

Name Description
Standard hop back to kip-up, or continuous kip-up The practitioner moves the knees into flexion as if sitting down on an imaginary chair. They then take flight and rotate towards the posterior. The hands are placed posterior and proximal to the back of the neck to protect the cervical spine from receiving damage. Once the body has landed on the shoulders and hands, the hips and knees move into flexion anterior to the chest and a standard kip-up is executed.
Rubber band The rubber band is a breakdancing move which consists of repeated kip-ups which do not go all the way to standing position (the knees never return to complete extension). A rubber band is more like a back handspring, except it requires a movement of slower velocity when lowering the thoracic and cervical spine to the ground to kip back up.[13]

See also[edit]

[14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]


  1. ^ Mariano, 1996
  2. ^ Yamasaki, 2010
  3. ^ Kim, 2010
  4. ^ Begon, 2008
  5. ^ Youdas, 2008
  6. ^ Sok, 2010
  7. ^ Youdas, 2008
  8. ^ Contakos, 2009
  9. ^ Contakos, 2009
  10. ^ Bardy, 1998
  11. ^ Bardy, 1998
  12. ^ Contakos, 2009
  13. ^ Contakos, 2009
  14. ^ Julien Morlier, Mariano Cid. (1996).”Three-dimensional analysis of the angular momentum of a pole-vaulter”. Journal of Biomechanics, 29(8), 1085-1090
  15. ^ Kim, Jae-Woong, et al. (2010). "The effects of target distance on pivot hip, trunk, pelvis, and kicking leg kinematics in Taekwondo roundhouse kicks." Sports biomechanics 9(2) 98-114.
  16. ^ Lovelace, B. (2008). DO THE KIP-UP. Men's Fitness, 24(9), 22.
  17. ^ Smith, M. M., Sommer, A. J., Starkoff, B. E., & Devor, S. T. (2013). Crossfit-based high-intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27(11), 3159-3172.
  18. ^ Taiga Yamasaki, Kiyoshi Gotoh, Xin Xin.(2010) Optimality of a kip performance on the high bar: An example of skilled goal-directed whole-body movement. Human Movement Science, 29(3) 464-482
  19. ^ Begon, M., Wieber, P. B., & Yeadon, M. R. (2008). Kinematics estimation of straddled movements on high bar from a limited number of skin markers using a chain model. Journal of biomechanics, 41(3), 581-586.
  20. ^ Youdas, J. W., Guck, B. R., Hebrink, R. C., Rugotzke, J. D., Madson, T. J., & Hollman, J. H. (2008). An electromyographic analysis of the Ab-Slide exercise, abdominal crunch, supine double leg thrust, and side bridge in healthy young adults: implications for rehabilitation professionals. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 22(6), 1939-1946.
  21. ^ Sok, K. W., Yamane, K., Lee, J., & Hodgins, J. (2010, July). Editing dynamic human motions via momentum and force. In Proceedings of the 2010 ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation (pp. 11-20). Eurographics Association.
  22. ^ Contakos, J., Carlton, L. G., Thompson, B., & Suddaby, R. (2009). The physics of a gymnastics flight element. The Physics Teacher, 47(6), 355-361.
  23. ^ Bardy, B. G., & Laurent, M. (1998). How is body orientation controlled during somersaulting?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 24(3), 963.
  24. ^ Cheraghidocheshmeh Maryam, Mossavi yaghoob, Noroozy Darush, Izadi Mojtaba, The comparison of effect of video-modeling and verbal instruction on the performance in throwing the discus and hammer, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2009
  25. ^ Milanese, S., Gordon, S., Buettner, P., Flavell, C., Ruston, S., Coe, D., ... & McCormack, S. (2014). Reliability and concurrent validity of knee angle measurement: Smart phone App versus Universal Goniometer used by experienced and novice clinicians. Manual Therapy.

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