How to do a muscle-up

Despite considering myself fairly ‘fit’, I’ve always held this exercise on a pedestal. A very high one at that.

Although muscle ups now form part of my training regime, two years ago I saw it as a skill that is only reserved for Olympic gymnasts or people that possess Herculean strength. (I do not claim to possess either..!)


I decided to make it my goal to master the muscle up, the first road block was: where do I start?


I tried many times, arms flailing wildly, scrambling to try and push and pull my way up the rings without success and only very sore trapezius, triceps and biceps as a result. It was the transitional section of the move that perplexed me!

So in order to save you some time (and energy), here are the three pivotal things that helped me execute the muscle-up.


1. Maintaining tension through the core using the dish shape

it is very important to make sure that you are solid and stable by maintaining tension throughout the move utilising the dish shape. This enables you to transfer strength without any energy leaking from the body.


2. Keeping the rings close to the body

Because the rings are not fixed in position they will want to start drifting away from you when you start applying any downwards force. As soon as the rings start to move away from the body the more challenging it will become to execute the move.


3. Ensuring shoulder blades were down and back as I initiated the pull up

This made sure that the correct muscle were engaged throughout the movement and that other muscles were not having to compensate or do extra unnecessary work which lead lead to tweaks and sore necks for example   


I also found that making sure the fundamental movement patterns were refined along with drills focusing on the transitional section of the move. This was important for me to be able to progress through the plateaus I was experiencing. The cherry on top was having a knowledgeable eye to guide me through the process and spot the areas that required more work.


If you are experiencing issues with any of the above or would like to start training for muscle ups, I am hosting a Muscle-up workshop on 11th February. This workshop will be helpful for those who:

  • Have hit a plateau with their muscle-up training

  • Can’t seem to transition into the top of the movement

  • Have spent too long flailing wildly on the rings

In 90-minutes I am going to coach you through every single stage of the movement from start to finish so you can master it yourselves.

Sunday 11th February