When new people come into the gym it doesn’t take too long until I see almost all of them staring up at the rings and eventually jumping up, grabbing on, and starting to swing and flail about in search of the coveted muscle up. I’m not quite sure what it is about this movement, but it seems more people are drawn to it than almost any other movement or lift we do. I would implore you all to remember this is just one little piece of what we do, and don’t lose focus on improving in other areas just to accomplish this one movement.
That being said, here are a few pointers and a video (sent to me by the one and only Sean Elks) that should assist you in the journey of capturing the majestic unicorn of CrossFit: the muscle up.
Numero 1: Make sure you have built the foundation needed for the movement. Solid chest-to-bar pullups and dips are the key to success here. If you are weak in these areas, start to add them into your training. Maybe throw in a ladder of each movement each week to build up your strength.
Numero 2: Work some progressions on the lower rings to understand the mechanics and build efficiency. If you haven’t learned any of the progressions, get with a coach and we can show them to you. Once you are comfortable with the mechanics on the low rings, it will be easier to transfer them to the high rings and make you more efficient in the future.
Numero 3: The hips. Just like so many other movements and lifts we do, the correct usage of the hips is vital to the success and efficiency of muscle ups. As you finish your kip, think of aggressively extending the hips up towards the rings. This will help propel you up and over so that you land above the rings in a high dip position. The video below, courtesy of Rudy Nielsen and the Outlaw Way, addresses this perfectly. Sorry for the foul language.