How To Do A Muscle Up: Benefits, Workout & Technique

how to do a muscle up featured image

Not all exercises are created equal. Some are geared toward targeting singular muscle groups. Other exercises act as full-body workouts that help improve many aspects of form and control.

The well-known muscle up is a strength training power tool that exists within the discipline of calisthenics. It is a combination of a radial pull up and an extreme dip position. Variations of the muscle up exist but this is the primary motion.

It might sound simple but don’t be fooled. Your entire core is engaged throughout this movement. This is what makes the muscle up such a superior exercise.

In this post, we will discuss everything about the muscle up workout. We will look at: how to do a muscle up, the benefits of the technique, and good form. Read this before your first muscle up attempt. 

Muscle Up Workout: How to Do Muscle Ups

muscle up from below

You might be asking what is a muscle up? Start by learning how to do a muscle up on a bar. This will help you with the stability of the movement.

To attempt a muscle up, begin with arms straight above your head holding a bar. Your grip needs to be in the overhand position, bracing yourself for a pull-up.

In one explosive movement, pull your body up by the arms with one swift pull-up. For the best results possible, do this movement with greater speed than a regular pull up.

As your upper chest approaches the bar, abruptly flex your wrists to bring your forearm above the bar. At this point, lean your upper body forward and straighten your elbows. This will activate your triceps.

The movement is complete when the bar is at the level of the waist and your upper body is above the bar. Your arms will be completely straight.

Carefully dismount by bending your arms at the elbows. Slowly lower your body to the floor. Keep yourself steady as you lower and return to the starting position with your arms and legs hanging. 

Repeat as many times as possible for a workout that will have you floored.

If you want to intensify the workout, you can use gymnastic rings for a modified version. The movement of the rings requires an extra element of control to the workout.  

Work your way up

Simple doesn’t always mean easy. There is a reason the muscle up is considered an advanced exercise.

Your first muscle ups should typically be learned with an assistive kip swing. A kipping muscle up can help provide momentum and develop the explosive force needed to get above the bar.

As you become more advanced and improve arm strength, you can attempt a strict muscle up. One that is done without any kip.

This advanced movement starts either by hanging from the bar or standing underneath it (with your feet farther forward than the bar). You will then pull up quickly with full-body control.

Extreme Workout: Muscle Ups Benefits

Man flexing arm

Now to answer that question on your mind: what do muscle ups work? Muscle ups benefits come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Appropriately named, the muscle up targets a variety of muscle groupings in the back, shoulders, and arms. It also has magnificent benefits for your chest area.

The grip strength needed to pull your whole body up comes from the latissimus dorsi muscle of your back and biceps.

Every time you perform the strict muscle up, your entire core area is engaged. Your core stabilizes the transition. Once you can get your body over the pull-up bar, your triceps then take over. Your triceps perform the bulk of the work for the final dipping motion.

Once you’re in that top position, your upper and lower chest get a full workout from the pressure provided. This can be perfect for anyone hoping to expand shoulder width and can be a welcome break from using resistance bands.

Believe it or not, muscle ups benefits don’t end there. This exercise is used for several reasons by pro athletes.

Increase your grip strength

arm gripping weights

If lifting heavier weights is something you want to add to your workout, then you are going to need as much grip strength as possible. Working on your muscle ups will help with both lower and overhand grip.

Grip strength can help in CrossFit with exercises such as rope climbs, and deadlifts. Not to mention the amazing benefits it can have for calisthenics like weighted pull-ups, dips, and front and back levers.

There is nothing worse than a false grip and improving your grip strength can improve your workout performance hugely. Plus, the calluses stand testimony to your hard work. 

What muscles do muscle ups work?

woman doing pull up

Who doesn’t want to show off well-defined arms in a short t-shirt in the summer? Upper body strength is the goal of weightlifters everywhere.

When you perform muscle up training, you are targeting every muscle in your arms. This creates an excellent balance in the growth of muscles. Learn how to muscle up and get taut symmetrical arms that look and feel great!

Core body burn

woman showing her abs

It’s not just a plank that gets your core engaged. With muscle ups, your core comes to the party with huge engagement.

With each rep, your upper body clenches and tightens. That stubborn belly fat will melt away to show the chocolate-slab abs beneath. 

Your body will thank you as weak core muscles can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, less endurance, unwanted injuries, and poor posture

Watch out for common mistakes

woman reaching for her toes

Like any exercise, it is crucial to do muscle up progressions properly to avoid injury. The tips below will help you to avoid common mistakes. 

  • Always learn the basics: The exercise needs a base level of strength and power. Learn how to do flawless pull-ups and straight bar dips before attempting a full muscle-up. This is a prerequisite for a good muscle up technique.

To ensure you have the basics down perfectly, consult a fitness professional before you begin attempting this advanced move. That way you can make sure you get the green light for your form. 

  • Remember to breathe: Good breathing technique is vital for any workout. Make sure you’re breathing steadily to get a good supply of oxygen. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Regular oxygen helps to feed our muscles. If we don’t breathe properly, we risk cutting off the oxygen to our bodies. This can cause things like muscle cramps or worse, hernias or dizziness.

  • Get that posture right: For perfect strength and stability, concentrate and engage your whole body and make sure you have proper form. Keep your back straight, tighten your core, and contract your glutes and legs.
  • Don’t rush: Muscle ups require a lot of patience. The race is only against yourself so go at your own pace. Going too fast can put stress on your body and increase the possibility of injury. 

Rather take your time to achieve the perfect muscle up. When you do, you will be proud of what you have achieved!

  • Warming up is key: A warm-up helps you to prepare your joints. Post-workout recovery is just as important.

    Always do your stretches. Try and use a foam roller to help the targeted areas to recover. Warm-ups and warm downs promote fiber healing and can help with exhaustion.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Muscle Up!

Man performing muscle up

After reading this step-by-step guide, you are on your way to performing muscle ups. Just remember that the benefits of muscle ups are endless and a great way of building a strong, impeccable physique.

Get ready to promote muscle growth, reduce body weight, and feel great! An exercise that does as much as this in one swift movement is pure gold.

With patience and an attitude of persistence, anyone can learn how to do a muscle up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.