Client Spotlight: Kartik's First Muscle-up

Kartik has been one of my most consistent and hardworking clients for a long time, so he’s no stranger to pull-ups and dips.

Despite a shoulder injury from before we met, Kartik’s built a considerable amount of upper-body strength and power in recent years and he’s now stronger and healthier than he’s ever been.

Always seeking to challenge my clients, Kartik and I decided it was time for him to begin training for his first muscle-up. After a few sessions spent practicing explosive pull-ups, straight bar dips and assisted muscle-ups, Kartik was ready to try the real deal. There were lots of unsuccessful attempts, but Kartik persevered and finally achieved his first muscle-up!

It's normal for one arm to come over first when you're learning to do a muscle-up

It wasn’t the best looking muscle-up, but nobody’s first one ever is. It’s normal to have to kick your legs and throw one arm over before the other when you’re first learning to get the movement pattern down. Do whatever you need to in the beginning – with practice you’ll learn to keep your legs straight and make the movement fluid. Don’t get hung up on perfecting your form before you can even do a single rep.

Now that Kartik got the first one out of the way, we can work towards improving his form. Check back this summer for an update on Kartik’s training and watch the video below to see his triumphant break-through moment:

For more information about muscle-ups, pick up a copy of my book, Raising The Bar: The Definitive Guide to Pull-up Bar Calisthenics.

28 thoughts on “Client Spotlight: Kartik's First Muscle-up

  • Pingback: Some Inspiration For Anyone Who's Working On Their First Muscle-up | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  • By Bluesky1199 -

    Awesome job! Inspirational!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Right on – thanks!

  • By Jim Arkus -

    Cool stuff, congratulations!

    I kind of forgot about them for awhile when I got into using heavy weights, but I think it’s something I want to work towards again. I’m doing some CrossFit now, and they just taught us kipping pull ups last week. So a muscle up is basically a kipping pull up but you keep going?

  • By Andrew Preece -

    Great stuff 🙂

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Andrew!

  • By Carlh -

    That was sweet! At 0:47 I was all “yeah! get it! GET IT!!! AAAGH! so close.” But then the one right after I was going “awww yeah…”

    Nice vid.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Carl! Glad this clip kept you on the edge of your seat! haha

  • By Jenifer -

    very cool stuff. 🙂

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Jenifer!

  • By Timothy Bell PTS -

     Is it weird that the trainer in me was talking to my computer during this encouraging him and providing tips even though he can’t here me lol?? Great job tho, I remember being there last summer when I was learning them, it’s only up from here EXCELLENT work Kartik! =)


    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Haha – that just shows what a passionate trainer you are, Tim!

  • By Chris B -

    Great job! Thanks for posting this. I started out only being able to do 1 1/2 pull ups in a row & am now up to 8 in a row. I have a ways to go before I can get a muscle up but I know with enough work I’ll get there & seeing stuff like this gets me hyped.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Glad to know you’ve found inspiration here!  Congrats on your progress – keep training hard!

  • By the sorrow -

    Hey Al how to use muscle up with both hans tgt? Is momentem required?

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      If you’re asking about doing a muscle-up with both arms coming over the
      bar together, it can be done without momentum.  It takes lots of
      practice and you have to be quite strong, but it is doable.  Check out my muscle-up
      tutorial if you haven’t seen it yet:

      • By the sorrow -

        Oh, but how do we use the momentum? Can u post another muscle up tutorial regarding this? And btw how do we train for muscle ups?

        • By Al Kavadlo -

          I already covered your questions in the previous tutorial. There is nothing I can write in an article or do in a video that will make you able to do a muscle-up without lots and lots of practice.  Train hard and be patient.

          • By the sorrow -

            Haha ok thx alot 🙂

  • By the sorrow -

    Hey Al, can I start to do muscle ups with one arm to come over first? Will I be able to train it into both hands tgt?

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Yes – I directly state this in the post and the photo caption.  I don’t know how I could have been any more clear.

      • By the sorrow -

        oh, ok thx alot. I am deeply motivated by u.

  • By vvhh,kk,hj -


  • By Uncle Hero -

    Al, thanks for all the advice! After warming up with jumping muscle-ups I finally did my first dead hang muscle up today! It felt better then any other PR to date. Thanks again for the help and advice!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Congrats!  Anyones first muscle-up is definitely a big milestone!

  • By Filip -

    Very motivating post, Al! Couple days ago I made my first muscle up and it looked like this. I didn’t know am I doing it right or not, and this post gave me an answer. Thank you for all your advices, they helped me a lot, you are a true motivation! Cheers!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks, Filip! Congrats on your first muscle-up! Keep practicing!

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