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Coach Sommer

Failure to Develop Strength with the Muscle-up

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Coach Sommer

Past a certain very basic level of competence, most people are unable to either begin or continue building maximal strength when training the muscle-up. Why? The problem is actually four-fold:

1) The athlete is physically weak through out the transition portion of the muscle-up. Other than gymnasts who are either preparing to or are actually training the iron cross and other more advanced ring strength elements, most people have never developed extreme strength in this range of motion (ROM).

2) The athlete is unfamiliar with the technical aspects of the transition and it usually takes some time to learn the correct coordination of moving from a pull-up to a dip.

3) The athlete learns to use momentum and begins to kip through the transition completely. This is acceptable for a raw beginner not yet capable of executing a strict muscle-up. However, continuing to use the kipping technique once the athlete is capable of 3-5 reps, is simply sidestepping the strength development that he was seeking in the first place. This gives an artificial sense of accomplishment, but little to no long-term strength gains.

4) The athlete fails to move on to harder muscle-up variations. This is key. Variations include, but are certainly not limited to: kipping narrow grip (inside shoulders), kipping medium grip (shoulder width), kipping wide grip (outside shoulders), kipping wide with no false grip and then proceeding through the order again but this time strictly with no kipping. Of course weights may be added to any of the above strict variations.

I have yet to see someone able to perform a kipping muscle-up with half their bodyweight hanging on them. That much weight precludes any possibility of kipping. The only way to manage a muscle-up of this magnitude is with pure raw strength built from years of dedicated and progressive effort.

And yes, my own elite athletes were capable of performing strict MU with nearly half their bodyweight added.

Strength development progress does not arise from beating one particular variation to death, but in understanding the basic movement, the subsequent progressions associated with it and then carefully proceeding through the kipping to strict variations. It should also be remembered that there are far harder exercises than a muscle-up. Once you are proficient and have progressed through the variations in question- move on.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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peer

A nice wide grip muscle up

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kbryk

^Peer did you get that from beast skills, that is probably the smoothest transition muscle up I've seen.

2) The athlete is unfamiliar with the technical aspects of the transition and it usually takes some time to learn the correct coordination of moving from a pull-up to a dip.

3) The athlete learns to use momentum and begins to kip through the transition completely. This is acceptable for a raw beginner not yet capable of executing a strict muscle-up. However, continuing to use the kipping technique once the athlete is capable of 3-5 reps, is simply sidestepping the strength development that he was seeking in the first place. This gives an artificial sense of accomplishment, but little to no long-term strength gains.

I've have seen these as the greatest two down falls that everyone seems to fall into while attempting the muscle up.

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peer

Yes, saw it at beastskills first, i agree thats the best muscle-up i have seen. I can do regular m-ups, but i am a loong way frome that...haha

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zennode

Beastskills is a great site.

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Ricky Dawson

Dear Coach/All.

a very interesting post, thank you...

I am capable of one full MU with what i hope is very little to no kip, i haven't been able to video it for analysis yet but feel like i dont cheat at all.. its certainly nothing like the kipping ones on crossfit etc.. (not knocking them)

anyways, my question is regarding attaining multipe MU's. At the moment i can perform the non-kipping first part of the move and then lower back to a dead hang with false grip, upon pulling for the next rep i feel i do not have the strength for the pull let alone the transition.

Should i concentrate on false grip pulls to increase my strength in this specific area? or simply carry on trying to get the second one...? i think i'm maintaining the false grip enough through the descent so this may not be the problem.

any advice greatly received,

thansk, Ricky, London

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Neal Winkler

That was a nice ring routine, and a beautiful muscle-up. I think the ring routine looks like one that could actually be achieved by us amateurs. I definitely have something to strive towards with this.

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Fabio Gutierrez

Where would the l-sit muscle-up fall within that progression? I'm thinking it would completely negate any possibility of kipping, but would it be recommended after one can do a wide-grip MU w/no kip, or perhaps before, or does it really matter?

Thanks!

Fabio

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John Sapinoso
I have yet to see someone able to perform a kipping muscle-up with half their bodyweight hanging on them.

I'll take that challenge. . .

[=

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pistol33

I've seen a few people able to do it with half their bodyweight.

Myself, i'm at 50lbs for 2 reps

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Richard Duelley
Where would the l-sit muscle-up fall within that progression? I'm thinking it would completely negate any possibility of kipping, but would it be recommended after one can do a wide-grip MU w/no kip, or perhaps before, or does it really matter?

Thanks!

Fabio

I would say that the L-sit muscle up would be after the 'wide' variation. In the narrow variations the shoulders lean forward so it would be awkward to try and keep the L-sit level. If you dont keep the L-sit level I would say that would constitute a 'piking' of the hips and would thus not count as a 'strict' muscle up. However during a 'wide' muscle up the chest and shoulders lean as little as possible (zero lean is ideal) so keeping the l-sit level would just be another challenge while executing the move. I think its kind of the same reasoning behind an L-sit pull up.

Dear Coach/All.

my question is regarding attaining multipe MU's. At the moment i can perform the non-kipping first part of the move and then lower back to a dead hang with false grip, upon pulling for the next rep i feel i do not have the strength for the pull let alone the transition.

Should i concentrate on false grip pulls to increase my strength in this specific area? or simply carry on trying to get the second one...? i think i'm maintaining the false grip enough through the descent so this may not be the problem.

any advice greatly received,

thansk, Ricky, London

When I work muscle ups I do as many as I can in a row and then I take a break. I then I work on my muscle up transition. I simply do a muscle up but I do not do the dip after the transition instead I perform the negative transition as slowly as I can, but I do NOT lower all the way to a dead hang (I am a very high pull up still). I then press back up through the transition but again dont dip up into a support. I keep working up and down through the transition 3-4 times with 2 or 3 sets.

I have found my pull up ability is progressing nicely just by working on the various pull up progressions in 'Building the Gymnastics Body,' for example I am currently working on L-sit Pull Ups. Even though I dont specifically work false grip pull ups my gains in regular grip pull ups is transferring nicely to my false grip pull ups.

Hope that helps everyone.

-Ricky

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Gregor
I have yet to see someone able to perform a kipping muscle-up with half their bodyweight hanging on them.

I'll take that challenge. . .

[=

Why kipping? STRICT :lol::lol:

Ts00nami I'm sure you could do it :wink:

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sasquatch

I found out the reason why I lost my muscle-ups. :D

I was keeping my arms to wide in the transition. After I tried doing it with the rings closer to my body I could do them again.

I was evan able to do what I thought was a L-sit MU, but after reading kbryk's post, I realized it's just a piked muscle-up.

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Gregor

It would be interesting to see MU directly to V-seat :mrgreen:

So in hanging position you rise youre kegs to your face and from that position you must do a muscle up to V-seat :lol: I gues it would burn your triceps :mrgreen::mrgreen:

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matthew.percussion

After reading the posts in this thread I remembered seeing a great video on training the muscle-up. It took me about 30 minutes to find it but, here it is.

FnzOmNJLHAg

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Edward Smith

I'm not a hater of crossfit, like Ido I don't believe their system is optimal but I think it's a good way for someone who just wants to be healthier/fitter, at least they're up off they're asses. But I do hate their muscle ups. They are a prime example of just having a pull up kip to dip and not seing the muscle up for what it is (or should be) the transition!

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matthew.percussion

I completely agree, but the video doesn't have this problem. With the resistance band it may be the most effective way I've seen a crossfitter work the transition. I can also see this exercise improving strength in the false grip. Of course the transition is the weakest part so the actually pull-up and dip don't get worked very hard in that variation so you would have to supplement it with actually muscle-ups.

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Edward Smith

There are a few of things I think can be done to improve that training method:

1) Do it slowly, very slowly, otherwise it won't have any real effectiveness, and, will lead to pull up kip to dip.

2) Do it from standing, there are subtle (and not so subtle) differences in torso position in an exercise like this when standing.

3) Do it with very good technique, on completing the transition he does more of a press down than dip like movement. I have only seen a couple of pros perform muscle-ups like that. Also your shoulders and pecs will be in a stretched position when you get to the bottom of the dip. Using a training tool like this without pretty much perfect technique is just stupidity.

Matt, this isn't an attack on you by the way. It's just I've seen many people making these sorts of mistakes on stuff like this. One thing I will bring up which Gregor often states in reference to assisted cross work, is that this is not a muscle-up. There is no perfect replication of the actual thing.

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steviec.54
A nice wide grip muscle up

That was sick!!! Dude is a Manimal.

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Ibn Saeed
There are a few of things I think can be done to improve that training method:

1) Do it slowly, very slowly, otherwise it won't have any real effectiveness, and, will lead to pull up kip to dip.

2) Do it from standing, there are subtle (and not so subtle) differences in torso position in an exercise like this when standing.

3) Do it with very good technique, on completing the transition he does more of a press down than dip like movement. I have only seen a couple of pros perform muscle-ups like that. Also your shoulders and pecs will be in a stretched position when you get to the bottom of the dip. Using a training tool like this without pretty much perfect technique is just stupidity.

Matt, this isn't an attack on you by the way. It's just I've seen many people making these sorts of mistakes on stuff like this. One thing I will bring up which Gregor often states in reference to assisted cross work, is that this is not a muscle-up. There is no perfect replication of the actual thing.

Thanks for the steps

Then how should a complete beginner begin. ?

Are there any training videos ?

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MaxPowerDK

I do crossfit and got my first kipping MU a few months ago - the first ones starting with bend arms, now starting at dead hang.

The way I see it is that the kipping MU is merely a way to get off the start line regarding MU's. Being proficient in multiple reps kipping MU definitely doesn't hurt either, but of course it won't build max strength. I'm working on the strict version now, trying to grease that transition.

Several others at the gym can do strict MU's and at least one guy is working on L-sit MU and getting pretty close, so it's not like "we" think that the kipping MU is the end of the line or anything. :wink:

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shiftedShapes
A nice wide grip muscle up

Coach I can do a slow wide grip muscle-up now, but I hit a point where I can't remain upright anymore and I have to lean the chest forward somewhat to complete the rep. How would I work torwards a rep like Andreas Aguilar in the above video? just progressively trying to push further whilst remaining upright or is their some other advice you might have. Maybe working the negative as wide as possible from the top?

Thanks.

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matthew.percussion

Aguilar does something very difficult. Not only is his muscle-up wide, smooth, and in an L-Sit, but he also never leans his shoulders forward.

He does a full bodyweight tricep push-down. In my opinion, this is many, many times more difficult than a dip.

Not sure how to train it but I think it will be more difficult than at first perceived.

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David Picó García

Aguilar demonstrate an incredible triceps/everything :P strength

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WadeWilson

Thought you guys might like this (though the 30kg muscle up was done with slight momentum, it's still incredible for a non-gymnast)

Edited by WadeWilson

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