You can keep your double-unders and your handstand push-ups. The rope climbs and the olympic lift personal records. Okay, it’s exciting when you can master any of these movements, but there’s a bigger fish to catch…The muscle-up.
The muscle-up is an interesting little movement. When you see people that have it, it looks so effortless. Sure, I can do that, you think to yourself as you jump into a big kip. And… you go nowhere. Your chest sort of hits the bar, more like a chest to bar, but it’s just not right.
You go through stages where you work on it all the time. You ask for advice. You read blogs. You watch videos. Everyone has different advice. Jump into it. Keep your toes pointed. Use your hips more! Think of breaking your head through glass.
In truth, you forget everything everyone tells you the moment you swing into it. I’m sure somewhere in the back of your head it’s there, digesting, but the quick movement becomes a blur. So, what really helped me finally get it after almost FOUR years of CrossFit? Here are the 5 things I think helped me finally get that magical movement, the bar muscle up.
1. Box Muscle Ups
One of the girls at my gym suggested I try this out. I don’t remember seeing this one before, even on all the articles I read about it, but I think it really helped me get that flip that I struggled with.
2. Ring Dips
I’ve actually been working on my ring dips, because I swore I was going to get my ring muscle up first. Well, that didn’t happen. But I did get a semi-decent ring dip along the way!
3. Proper Hand Aids
Yeah, there’s other accessory work you should be doing, like strict pull-ups and chest-to-bar, but there’s better people to teach you that, like CrossFit Gymnastics.
When I first started trying to get a muscle up, I didn’t wear any sort of hand grip. Just regular old chalk and the bar. And my hands HURT! I always thought it was because I had terrible grip strength (I’m not denying that I do have terrible grip strength, but it’s definitely helped). I’m a huge fan of the 3-Hole Bear Komplex grips. They also come in 2-Hole if that’s more your preference! Since I got them, I’ve seen my butterfly pull-up, toes-to-bar and even some butterfly chest-to-bar improve as well.
4. Asking for Advice
Why does the easiest thing always seem so hard? If you’re fortunate to work in a CrossFit box like mine, than everyone is always so eager and willing to help you get better. SO ASK!
Each person explained the movement to me a little differently. Of course, everyone’s essentially doing the same exact thing, but sometimes they’ll explain it in a way that just clicks. So ask everyone for all the help.
5. Patience
Ugh, how annoying is it when you hear that? Alas, it is the truth. Unless you’re one of those magical unicorns that get everything the first couple times you try. Just keep working at it. Try different things and research, discover what’s best for you!!
And the feeling when you finally get it and the cheers from your friends, makes all this worth it!
Good Luck!