Saturday, 3 November 2012

Muscle ups

muscle up progression
This post is going to focus on how to achieve strict muscle ups, without assistance from your leg swing (kipping). The basic movement involves performing a pull up, followed straight away by a dip, in order to get on top of the bar. The main difficulty of the move resides in the transition from the top of the pull up position to the bottom of the dip position. Though a deceptively simple move, the muscle up is a true test of upper body strength, and achieving your first one will require a significant amount of training.

Before attempting your first muscle up, you should have reached level 11 in the pull-up progression, and at least level 10 in the dip progression (though it is recommended you go to level 12).

muscle up progression
If you have followed the pull-up progression so far, it is likely that your wrist at the top of the movement on belly button pull-ups, is still underneath the bar (look at the kink in my wrist in the picture alongside).
The key to transitioning from here to the bottom of the dip position, therefore, is going to be rotating the wrist, in order to get the elbows over the bar.

muscle up progression
There are two key points you need to focus at this stage when performing belly button pull-ups:

1. Keeping your elbows close to your body, and driving them back: keeping your elbows close to your body forces your forearms into an horizontal position ; as you drive them back past your torso, the elbows will naturally end up higher than the wrist. This will be a perfect set up for the transition to a dip.

2. Wrist rotation: as you drive your elbows back, you will need to rotate your wrists in order to bring them at first level with the bar, then over it...

muscle up progression
This next picture shows the correct wrist rotation in order to set up for the transition from a belly button pull up to a dip. Notice how the kink in my wrist is now gone.
Note also the position of my legs, which are not underneath me, but rather in front of me.
By driving my head forward, I will now end up in the 'modified russian' dips position...

This is a position you should be familiar with if you have followed the dips progression up to this point.
Note again that my knees and legs are in front of me.
Note also how much forward my head is here: hence the importance of driving the head forward during the top phase of belly button pull-ups, in order to get your center of gravity directly over the bar.

You might remember practicing 'legs forward' dips, in the dip progression. You can now undertand the importance of this variation for the transition to a muscle up.

muscle up position
All that remains to complete your first muscle up, is now to perform a single bar dip.

The modified grip:
The modified grip, on muscle ups, is one way to get past the wrist rotation. By holding the bar with the fleshy part of your palm (and your thumbs over, rather than wrapped around the bar), you will naturally end up in the correct position on top of your pull-ups.
It is important however that you still drive back with your elbows, in order to get your forearms horizontal.

Practicing for muscle ups:

- Try 'jumping' muscle ups at first: stand underneath a low bar, and jump into the pull up position in order to get a little assistance, and to practice wrist rotation and driving back the elbows.
- Make use of the stretch-shortening cycle: it is easier to perform an initial half a pull-up before attempting your first muscle up: a muscle which has been pre-stretched (the downward phase of your initial half pull up) will yield more strength than an extended one (the deadhang position). Effectively, bounce back from your first half a pull up into a muscle up.
- At first, you will probably only manage to get one elbow over the bar. This is fine initially, but you should focus as much as possible on equal wrist rotation for both wrists, and to bring both elbows over the bar simultaneously.
- Once you get your first muscle up down, perform 5 sets of 1 with 3 minutes rest in betwen, and build up to 5 sets of 6.

1 comment:

  1. Great to read something like this from the economic actors mouth.