Raise your hand if you’ve ever been frustrated with the muscle up.
Every single one of you sitting at your computer eating kale chips reading this blog better have your hand in the air. The muscle up is one of the most difficult gymnastics skills; with a whole slew of components and queues that make it complex to master and perform.
But they’re also really awesome looking and everyone wants to be able to say they can do them.
As a coaching staff, we want you to accomplish the muscle up one step at a time. You have to crawl before you can walk, and walk before you can run. So let’s get you on the road to running.
Progression 1: Assisted from the ground
This progression is ideal for super newbies to the muscle up game. This helps you understand the mechanics of the movement with the assistance of earth under your feet.
Progression 2: Banded muscle ups
Now that you’ve graduated from the first progression, you could move on to using the band. Like pullups, the band assists with your explosiveness.
Progression 3: Jumping ring muscle ups with assisted ring dip
You’re a champ with the band, time to get vertical and build strength and muscle memory in executing the movement.
Progression 4: Jumping ring muscle ups with strict dip
A lot of the same as the third progression, but introducing some strict movements in there.
Phase 5: Strict Muscle Up
But wait, shouldn’t a kipping muscle up come before a strict muscle up? It actually is more difficult for someone to control their bodies on the rings while kipping. Ideally, you want to get a strict muscle up before you move to kipping and stringing multiple together.
Phase 6: Kipping Muscle Up
Kipping on the rings proves to be more difficult than bar kipping because of the instability of the rings. It requires so much more core strength to control your body in a way that won’t allow the rings to swing out of control before you even attempt the actual muscle up. In order to control your body, it is important to keep your entire body tight and use your shoulders to initiate the movement.
You might be thinking, “uh, ok, easier said than done, guys.” And you’re right. It is much easier to write words about doing a muscle up than to actually do a muscle up. Just like anything in life, you’re probably not going to succeed on the first try. Or the second, or third, or 198th time. It’s fine! Also, if you get to the 198th attempt, it might be time to go back a step and perfect that technique before trying again. That’s also fine!
CrossFit is hard, but accomplishing new goals is so satisfying. It is so important to have specific things you want to accomplish, but it is so much more important to know practical steps to reach those specific things. If you’ve always dreamed of achieving bar muscle ups, I hope that now you have a realistic place to start.
Work hard and work smart. Give yourself grace when you fail, and then get up and try again. Now let’s get to runnin’.