What’s up Gronk Fitness,
Whether you are an athlete or just someone who wants to improve on what they got, the Muscle-Up is a fun and functional exercise that can help make you stronger, more flexible and more athletic.
In fact, there are THREE specific mistakes that can hold you back from completing a few reps at a time. Now, if you can currently do 8 or 10 pull-ups in a row, then there is NO REASON why you can’t do at least one (if not several) muscle-ups. If you CANNOT perform 8-10 pull-ups in a row, then you need to work on that before attempting the Muscle-Up!
Tip #1 – Proper Hand Placement
The first mistake has to do with your wrists and your grip. This is very critical, as messing this one up means you’re doomed to fail before you even start swinging to try your first muscle-up!
The most difficult part of the muscle-up or the sticking point if you will, is the transition from the pull-up into the dip. Most people when attempting the muscle-up, grab the bar with a tight grip and at the same time their wrists are hanging directly underneath the bar.
These two in combination will make the transition to the dip portion of the lift IMPOSSIBLE. So:
- Don’t grip the bar too tight! Instead loosen up your grip and this will allow your hands to slide as you go up and over, setting you up for a successful rep.
- Don’t start with your wrists directly underneath the bar. Doing so will get you stuck as soon as you reach the top of the pull-up because your wrists will not possibly be able to bend more. Instead start with your wrists HIGHER and that is going to help you swing up and over. (see image below)
- If you are having trouble maintaining your grip, feel free to use some chalk, if your gym allows it.
Tip #2 – Keep Your Core Tight
The second mistake is all about your starting position. The muscle-up is not a muscle-gain exercise, which means you do not have to maximize its range of motion, therefore don’t treat it as such. Even if your grip is relaxed and you are starting with your wrists a bit over the bar, if you are dead-hanging underneath the bar you are making the muscle-up way harder than it should be.
Starting from a dead-hang means two things.
- Your upper body is far away from the bar which means it will have to travel more distance to reach the bar.
- Your back muscles and especially your lats are not tensed up which means the energy you will have to expend to get your body up and over will be much greater than the alternative method I am going to show you.
So here’s what you do. Start by tensing up your back and getting your elbows slightly forward. Notice how much closer your upper body is to the bar just by doing that. You just shaved off at least 4 or 5 inches from the range of motion by doing nothing but simply altering the starting position of the movement.
This is going to make a huge difference in terms of how fast you go up and over and how much energy you save to perform more repetitions.
Tip #3 – Take Advantage Of Your Momentum At The Top
The third and final mistake is that you are not taking advantage of the momentum and energy you are generating at the top of movement to complete your repetition.
As mentioned before, the transition part of the lift is very critical. When most people reach the top of the pull-up portion of the movement, they literally try to use their muscles to get up and over, not taking advantage of all the momentum they have created.
Here’s the obvious solution. As soon as you get high enough to be able to throw yourself forward and over the bar, that’s exactly what you need to do! Only once you have successfully thrown yourself over the bar, that’s when you perform the dip portion of the lift, completing one full repetition!
So don’t be afraid to generate and use as much momentum as you need to get yourself up and over the bar.
If you apply these 3 tips to your muscle-up and get rid of the mistakes, you will be able to do it in no time! Of course your ultimate goal as far as muscle-ups are concerned is to be able to do them without using as much momentum which will naturally come over time as you practice more and more!
And as always…get your mind right!