Perfect Your Muscle-Up: Slow Down Now, Speed Up Later
The muscle-up is, no doubt, an iconic strength exercise and how you perform it can either help or harm you, especially if you are new to training on the rings. When it comes to push/pull combo exercises, it’s one of the best for intermediate level trainees. Here, we’ll touch on correct muscle-up preparation, joint prehab, and how to build as much strength as possible when training this superhuman skill.
First Things First: Prep for It
Just like Olympic lifters begin training form with unweighted tools like PVC pipes (or at-home broomsticks) to learn technique, fitness aficionados must create and work a base of mobility and strength before attempting to train muscle-ups. To safely and properly execute muscle-ups, you’ll need healthy joints (lots of mobility) and a rock solid foundation of basic strength. Trust us when we say that it is well worth getting your basics in order before adding this demanding exercise to your routine. GymnasticBodies Courses have a clearly defined path of progress towards ring strength to keep your training organized and keep you motivated as you progress.
Mastering the GB Foundation Series is the cornerstone of this progression plan. In this series, you’ll develop the shoulder mobility necessary to control the transition from the pull-up portion of the muscle-up to the dip, as well as totally nail pulling and dipping on the rings individually. Throw in the wrist preparation from our Handstand One programming and you’ll soon be more than ready to crush some introductory ring strength.
Now, please don’t let us scare you away from playing with the muscle-up as you progress. It’s not uncommon for GymnasticBodies students to be only a fraction of the way through the Foundation Series and be able to crank out multiple strict muscle-ups in a row. But just because you can do a few doesn’t mean your connective tissue is ready to handle training this movement regularly. Do your elbows a favor and leave this one for playtime until your basic strength has reached a higher – and more sustainable – level.
Strict muscle-ups and all of the benefits that accompany mastering them are yours for the taking with the GB Online Courses.
Skip the Kip
Once you’re ready to begin working on muscle-ups, one of the most important things to remember is to GO SLOW. Although using momentum and “kipping” your way to the top of the rings is easier, it’s a high-risk maneuver for most, especially for beginners to Gymnastic Strength TrainingTM. Kipping often allows more reps to be performed at a time, but is counterintuitive to strength gains and can be incredibly hard on your joints.
Another common error when first learning the muscle-up is to lean into the stronger arm and get that side above the rings before the weaker side. If you’re not able to transition both shoulders above the rings at the same time, without kipping, then you’re not yet ready to work on muscle-ups. If that’s you, then not to worry. The GB Foundation Series breaks down the individual components of the muscle-up and will have you prepped for success in no time!
Control: It’s a Win-Win
The most important piece of the sweet sought-after muscle-up is, without a doubt, the transition between the pull-up and the dip. More advanced strength depends on your early mastery of this transition; if you have dreams of ever moving beyond the muscle-up, you’ll avoid kipping through it.
Combine this with straight elbows at the top of your muscle-up and a controlled descent and you’ll notice an enormous increase in strength. Not to mention, you’ll have more control of your form and avoid putting extra stress on your joints while your shoulder mobility continues to improve. Reduced injury risk AND more strength gains?!? Enough said there.
Muscle-ups are fun AND productive when you build towards them gradually and execute with control. Enjoy these GymnasticBodies Muscle-up tips and the mobile, strong body that you’ll earn as a result!