The Muscle-up -rings or bar- for a gymnast is the movement that get him/her over the bar/rings in order to start performing their routine. In other words, it’s a piece of cake. For an average athlete, the Muscle up could either be a nightmare or a dream come true.
The muscle up like any gymnastic movement requires a lot of practice, persistence and patience. Here are some exercises that you have to master in order to get your first muscle up
First things first, you need to strengthen your core!
Core control and strength
It’s essential for all gymnastics movements. Core control is the athlete’s ability to connect the brain and the body during movement. It involves coordination, movement mechanics, and reflexive stability. It reduces the risk of injury and increase performance. The exercises that should be performed to improve core strength and stability are Planks, Hollow holds, Hollow rocks, Arch Holds and Arch rocks to name a few.
How can you perform a muscle up or even a pull up if you can’t hang on to the bar long enough. As simple as it may sound, grip strength requires some training and attention. When you grab on to the bar, make sure you keep your thumbs on the same side of the bar as your fingers.
Perform a lot of DeadHangs, Shoulder shrugs and Monkeybars drills to improve the strength of your grip and forearms.
”Kipping is whole-body, athletic, and demands coordination and agility…The kipping pull-up is faster than the strict pull-up and therefore elicits more power from the athlete.” According to Crossfit Journal Issue 32, April 2005
Kipping requires power. It is the swinging movement that is generated from the shoulder and hips and creates a momentum that facilitates the Bar Muscle up movement and getting the athlete on top of the bar.
Hang on to the bar in a Dead hang, having the arms shoulder width apart and active shoulders while keeping the core tight and start doing the kip (your body should keep switching between the hollow position and the arch position)
There are so many variations of pull ups with different grips: wide, narrow, mixed, behind the neck, chin ups, chest to bar among many others. You could even make them weighted pull-ups. The whole point is having the strength to pull yourself up with only your arms against a horizontal bar.
Keeping mixing them up. Try different variations, reps and sets. IF you don’t have your first strict pull up yet, you could do Negative pullups, use resistant bands, do jumping pullups, isometrics pull up/chin up holds. You’ll eventually gain more power and upper body strength.
Hang on to the bar in a Dead hang, having the arms shoulder width apart and active shoulders. While keeping the core tight and your body in a straight line, start pull yourself up towards the bar bringing the chin over bar. Return to starting position without relaxing your muscles as it could cause stress on the shoulder joint.
This is the last part of the Muscle up movement after getting on top of the bar, which is the motion of extending your arms. This exercise requires strength in your triceps, pecs and shoulders.
Support yourself on the bar, shoulders hips and feet and all in one line. Keep your eyes on the horizon, and don’t look down. Lead the shoulders to dip until shoulder reach parallel with or below the elbows. Press back up to reestablish lock out in the elbows.
Box Bar Muscle up
Which is basically performing the Bar Muscle up from a box or plates. Reach out and grip the bar while standing on the box/plates slightly swing, jump and perform the Muscle up. Then gradually start decreasing the box height when you noticed that you’re getting stronger/ the movement is getting easier.
Eventually you’ll be able to perform the Bar-Muscle up without a box. Keep practicing, as “practice makes perfect”