The Development of the Muscle-up

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The Development of the Muscle-up in CrossFit

As one of the most coveted movements in CrossFit, the Muscle-up is seen as a huge milestone in an athletes individually progress and development. Don’t be fooled, it’s not as easy as CrossFit Games athletes make it look. To properly and safely achieve one, you must be patient, dedicated and persistent in your pursuit of the sought-after muscle-up.

A perfectly executed muscle-up looks smooth, graceful and like anyone could accomplish it, but in reality the grip, movement and fluidity prove often a bit unnatural for the first-timers. A muscle-up is the action of transitioning your body from a hanging position on a bar or set of rings by performing a pull-up then straight into a dip in one fluid motion. There are strict and kipping muscle-ups, both of which are effective in their own ways, but both require a standard set of prerequisites to perform them safely.

Once achieved, these general prerequisites will provide a strong and safe baseline for you to begin progressions for accomplishing your first muscle-up.

5 Strict Chin Over Bar Pull-ups. Your body must stay stiff and tight with little to no sway as you pull-up. Your chin must break the horizontal plane of the bar clearly. Descend with control.

5 Strict Ring Dips. Your body must be in a tight hollow body position with your legs straight and toes pointed. Make sure to set the rings high enough to allow for your legs to be straight. Lower your body with elbows driving backwards and your hip closing slightly. Make contact on the ring with your shoulder/armpit and then drive back up to a full lockout.

10 Hollow Body Swings on the Bar. Hang on the pull-up bar in a tight hollow body position with shoulders retracted and tight. Keep legs straight and toes pointed while swinging from a hollow position to arch position.

10 Hollow Body Swings on the Rings. Hang on the rings in a tight hollow body position with shoulders retracted and tight. Keep legs straight and toes pointed while swinging from a hollow position to arch position. Make sure to push and pull with straight arms on the rings to keep your body centered under the rings.

If you are having trouble meeting the above prerequisites, take the next 4 weeks and follow the program below to build some strength. Make sure you focus on keeping proper position to insure you’re building strength in the right areas. If you must use a band for assistance, that is okay, but our goal is to use no bands for any assistance. If you still do not have the prerequisites at that point, increase the difficulty of the program by a variable (band, weight, etc.) and perform the program a second time, and so on.

Monday Wednesday Friday
Week 1 3×6 Strict Pull-ups3x6 Ring Dips 3×6 Strict Pull-ups3x6 Ring Dips

3×6 Strict Pull-ups

3×6 Ring Dips

Week 2 3×8 Strict Pull-ups3x8 Ring Dips 3×8 Strict Pull-ups3x8 Ring Dips 3×8 Strict Pull-ups3x8 Ring Dips
Week 3 3×10 Strict Pull-ups3x10 Ring Dips 3×10 Strict Pull-ups3x10 Ring Dips 3×10 Strict Pull-ups3x10 Ring Dips
Week 4 4×6 Strict Pull-ups4x6 Ring Dips 4×6 Strict Pull-ups4x6 Ring Dips 4×6 Strict Pull-ups4x6 Ring Dips

To learn more about performing muscle-ups or to work on achieving your first one, attend Mission CrossFit San Antonio’s 2-Part Muscle-up Clinic taught my Coach Drew Bignall that starts this Saturday, August 1st. Limited 12 athletes.

Click the button below and go to “Programs” to register

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