Prep Your Muscle-up With This 1 Underrated Exercise
If you’ve got your sights set on developing the muscle-up, then you’re in the right place! One of the best ways to prep your body to execute this skill is to develop sufficient bent arm strength (BAS) to handle the transition. And, like any amazing goal or accomplishment – the key to success for everything in life can be boiled down to how you prepare for it. This same theory carries over perfectly when working towards building something new (a skill or feat) in your fitness routine. We know that our workouts require balance – which means working every angle, specific to each muscle group, and using progressions (think: step by step) to get the desired result.
When it comes to muscle-up development, the russian dip is the perfect tool! Seldom used, this preparatory exercise will help you master your muscle-up faster, by helping you develop the strength to bend your arms through the movement while working the overlooked and under-worked mobility you need to execute it. In preparing your body through balance, you can now work towards your goal safely and effectively. Bingo. Let’s walk through it.
The Preparation Hole
The biggest overlooked key in properly performing a muscle-up happens when students training Dips lack the mobility to descend too low at the bottom.
Mastering the muscle-p requires that you spend time in this crucial ‘sticking point’ position – again, the key is in the progressions. If you’ve got this particular imbalance, then you know it commands your attention. Most adults experience weakness while performing strength training in a maximum range of motion – leaving us unable to pass through the full movement in the Muscle-up.
Now that you know what needs to be addressed, let’s get to work!
Mastering these Russian Dip progressions will pay dividends later as you work toward ring strength mastery!
Building the Russian Dip: The Setup
Russian Dips are most easily done on a set of parallel bars – found at your local gym or neighborhood playground. Using solid equipment is key in training these as you don’t want to use anything that will move as you use it.
How to Execute
On your parallel bars, or similar equipment, begin in the top of a dip, remembering these cues:
> Straight arms
> Chest up
> Toes pointed and legs together
Keeping your eyes forward, slowly begin to descend into the bottom of your dip. Once you are all the way down, shift your weight backward so that you catch yourself in the upper arm support position – see the photo below – with the undersides of your biceps against the bars.
From here, you initially may need a bit of momentum to get yourself back into the bottom of your dip from the parallel bar support position – but over time, strive to decrease this momentum until you are doing your Russian Dip as smoothly and as controlled as possible. Once your forearms are back in the vertical position, complete your dip by pushing back up to the straight arm top support position – ending with arms locked and gaze forward.
Repeat these Russian Dips for the desired amount of reps and sets – ideally, you’ll want to try to do as many as you can do without sacrificing your form. Adding these to your upper body workout will guarantee you feel the heat!
Step it Up! Advance the Skill
If you’ve been practicing Russian Dips consistently, you will start to see that you are able to do them with control and ease. So, let’s level it up a notch by adding another progression into the Dip mix: the L-Sit! Check out the video above to see a beastly example o GB Athlete Leo Trinidad performing the full advanced movement.
Russian Dips are a great way to progress from basic dip work to more advanced strength and mobility exercises and skills including the muscle-up. Other skills that will benefit greatly from training Russian Dips include muscle-ups on both straight bar and Rings, Hollow Back Presses and even, believe it or not, Rope Climbs. Another cool element? You are working towards developing healthy, sustainable shoulders capable of a larger range of motion and heightened mobility that will benefit you in – and out – of the gym. You’ll get more from the weekend adventures and hobbies you love. Train smarter by working each piece with patience and specifically crafted progressions that will help you build up to share-worthy skills, greater everyday strength and even the muscle-up using the GymnasticBodies Foundation Series.