I’ve decided to start training for my first muscle up and to get there I’m doing high pull ups (i.e. trying to get my chest up over the bar), using a low bar (I’ve seen chest height advised but the lowest I can find is head height) to jump up into the upper part of the muscle up and then (try to) do a slow negative on the way down which I am getting better at. I’m also doing partial range pull ups on the low bar because it is the top part of the pull up I think I need to build strength on. Beyond this I am doing uneven and normal pull ups on top of the above.
I was just wondering if there is anyone here who has managed to ace muscle ups or someone who is moving towards it like me who can offer their personal insight. I seem to be progressing but it is always nice to hear from other people in case you’re missing something obvious or they can offer an interesting twist on things.
Thanks in advances.
I personally prefer a continuous string of rollovers with muscle up negatives rather than the jumping muscle up approach, but either is fine; the most important part is the muscle up negative. For this part, check your speed by focusing on the speed that your elbows come down through the transition. Ensure that you are moving them slowly and with control throughout the movement. In addition to high pull ups (chest to bar), I also suggest deep dips (chest to bar). I personally preferred working false grip pull ups to explosive regular pull ups, however I was aiming for false grip muscle ups from the get go. Either way, at the top of the pull up try to focus on “rolling” your shoulders over your hands. Also, contracting a tight L hold with your legs at the top of the pull up is ideal. To that end, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to work on hanging leg raises and/or L sits as well.
And for the sake of completeness, I recommend also working on pistol squats, handstand push ups, and bridging exercises.
It sounds like you are already on the road to success. Yes, rolling your shoulders over your hands is the hardest part. In fact, performing this mental cue completely is indicative of a successful muscle up transition! Once you get it, you will actually be at the bottom of the dip. Take a look at my avatar and you will see.
As far as your hands dealing with pressure, you can try some gloves; it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, I see some guys use regular cheap gardening gloves for their training. I use baseball batting gloves myself, but it is mainly to avoid developing large callouses rather than for hand pressure.
Pistols are very difficult, of course. I would suggest working on shrimp squats as well. Both are worthwhile, even when you are able to do pistols. While some people find pistols easier to perform, in my experience most people find the shrimp easier to learn. I also recommend working assisted pistols by either holding a weight in your hands with your arms extended (serves as a counterweight to keep you from falling backward), or using a pole or door frame or something like that to guide yourself down with your hands.
Yeah I can see the rollover clearly in your picture. It is really surprising because pull ups aren’t that big a deal, neither are deep dips on a straight bar but getting that little bit of movement that connects them together is quite a challenge!
I’m going to get some gardening gloves at the weekend and give them a go. I’m sure the soreness will fade but I have also been a little concerned about callouses. I have a few little ones at the moment and want to avoid anything more than that. They aren’t exactly very sightly and hurt when you bump them on stuff.
Yes, I’m planning to be able to do shrimp squats and pistols. I think I’ll be another person who finds shrimp squats easier. I can do supported shrimp squats without much problem but struggle a bit more working on pistols. Generally I don’t fall backwards so I don’t think I need the counterweight. My legs just aren’t strong enough yet. So I’m going to give it a go with the pole like you suggested.
Thanks for another round of interesting points. I’ll report back in a couple of weeks if I have made any progress with the muscle ups.
Well I surprised myself today. After four days of not exercising (because I have had a very difficult decision to make) I cycled out to the pull up up bar today to resume my training. I went to a different bar, one where my feet are just off the ground when I hang, and I managed my first muscle up.
The form was absolutely shocking. I lifted my right arm over the bar (I hope that makes sense), dragged myself onto the bar and lifted. But the fact remains it was my first hanging muscle up so there is hope 🙂 now I have to really work on the form and building up the strength to go over with both arms at the same time.
Thanks for the tips and I am going to get back to it!
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