Tips on How to Do Your First Bar Muscle-Up

Master this impressive movement and get even stronger.

It looks impressive and it is considered by many a moment of joy. Your first bar muscle-up might be just around the corner. If you need a few tips, you have come to the right place.

Bar muscle-up relies heavily on upper body strength and explosive power from the hip. While you may think you have that, there are three pre-requisites you should be able to perform to know, for certain, you can do a bar muscle-up.

  • 6 strict pull-ups
  • 4 kipping chest-to-bar
  • 6 toes-to-bar

Everything should be done unbroken.

According to Ben Dziwulski, if you can do all these, you can do a bar muscle-up. Dziwulski is a CrossFit athlete and a YouTuber for WODPrep, a channel who wants to provide “simple, effective, and inspiring fitness coaching for people.”

If you can’t do any of them, then you need to work on your strength with other exercises to get strong enough to perform the 3 pre-requisites. Work to strengthen your entire upper body, with a focus on your lats, biceps and triceps.

Watch Tips on How to Do Your First Bar Muscle-Up

Then, practice the pieces of the bar muscle-up with drills that break down the bar muscle-ups into specific individual pieces.

The bar muscle-up is divided into three main parts: the lever, the hip pop, the arm pull and the transition or fast sit-up.

First, make sure you know how your body should behave on each of the bar muscle-up part.

  1. Kipping Lever

Jump into the bar in a hollow body position doing one kip swing. In the backswing, get your head and shoulders as high as possible. Activate the lats by pulling down the bar.

Practice single repetitions.

  • Hip pop

Once you reach just before the apex, at the top of your lever position, you are going to pop your hip. That gives you even extra lift and should get your head and shoulders even higher.

  • Arm pull-up / Transition

Set up a low barbell with weights on the side. Sit on the ground, hands on the barbell with feet on an elevated surface – a couple of bumper plates should suffice. The position at this should be similar to the position you trained on both earlier exercises, the kipping lever and the hip pop.

Pop your hips, get full extension, then aggressively pull yourself up the bar. The pop should happen slightly before the arm bent.

Extra tip:

  • When transitioning, think of looking up the ceiling and just as your head and shoulders passes the bar, look down to the floor, as if you were smashing a glass in front of you with your forehead.
first bar muscle-up tipsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Drills to practice for bar muscle-up:

  • Jumping bar muscle-up
  • One foot jumping bar muscle-up
  • Double banded bar muscle-up
  • Box drop-in bar muscle-up

Read More: 20 Muscle Ups Workouts for Dedicated CrossFit Athletes

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