Advanced Muscle-ups

I know what you might be thinking, “Advanced muscle-ups? Aren’t muscle-ups already an advanced exercise?”

Yes, the muscle-up is a fairly advanced exercise by itself, but with practice, muscle-ups will eventually become manageable. That’s when it’s time to raise the bar!

Plyo Muscle-ups
If you know about plyometrics, it’s easy to figure out what a plyo muscle-up might look like. To do this move, keep pushing after you get to the top of your muscle-up and try to
get some hang time.

A muscle-over takes the plyo muscle-up to the next level. Instead of just getting a little hang time at the top, a muscle-over involves throwing your entire body over the bar. This is typically done by bouncing your hips off the bar at the top to get a little extra momentum (sometimes referred to as “casting off”). Psychologically, the muscle-over can be quite intimidating at first, but do not let your fear stop you from trying. If you can do a muscle-up and a vault, you can do a muscle-over.

Reverse Grip Muscle-up
Unlike the pull-up, which is typically easier with an underhand grip, performing a muscle-up with your palms facing towards you is much harder than with your palms facing away. In order to perform a reverse grip muscle-up, you need to generate a lot of explosive power by kipping from your hips and creating a large arc with your body as it moves over the bar. Since you can’t use a false grip when your palms are facing you, allow your palms to spin around the bar on the way up.

Circle Muscle-ups
The circle muscle-up begins like an archer pull-up. Once you get your chin over the bar, begin bending your straight arm and shifting your weight to the other side as you press your body all the way to the top. This move takes a lot of practice but if you are willing to put in the work, it is attainable.

Performing any of these moves requires strength, skill and grace. They’re all still works in progress for me. If you’ve read this far and you don’t know about the Bar-barians, check them out. I made up some of these names for moves but I didn’t make up the moves themselves. Make sure you’re comfortable with how to do a muscle-up before trying these advanced progressions.

Watch the video below for more:

18 thoughts on “Advanced Muscle-ups

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  • By John Danforth -

    Those moves are insane! I'll settle for being able to do a “regular” muscle-up in my lifetime.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Good plan, John. One thing at a time!

  • By Dannypersonaltrainer -


  • By Danny Kavadlo -


  • By Richard Mulholland -

    Dude… insane, love it.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Thanks, Richard!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    You know how we do it.

  • By Jax444 -

    Excellent video! Great work!

  • By Al Kavadlo -


  • By Adam -

    Awesome video, I'm starting to get comfortable with regular muscle ups/muscle overs so this was great to motivate to push even further. Thanks.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    That's great, Adam. If you're doing muscle-overs then you are already in pretty good company – but never get complacent!

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  • By 1mrmason1 -

    Muscle ups are getting easy, I do them everyday now but these variations here are the next level I need to get to.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Right on – keep challenging yourself!  Also look for a new post on muscleup variations coming soon!

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  • By Peter -

    I can hold the one leg extended front lever for 12 seconds, but can’t hold a straddle front lever nor the both legs extended front lever.Any suggestions on how to get to the other variotion(straddle) ?

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I think you meant to post this on a different topic, but I’ll forgive you!  As for improving your front lever – be patient, it takes lots and lots of practice!  It took me years to get to the full front lever.

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