So, first of, why do I have a picture of a chest-to-bar pullup – probably THE most used pullup/chest-to-bar picture on the entire planet, at the start of a blog posts, that from the title, seems to be about muscle ups? Apart from the fact that I just love that picture, it actually shows one of my points, I will get to in a few seconds.
This is by no means going to be an in depth post about muscle ups, there are quite a few of those around. But more, a few points, on what you should have under your belt, before expecting to be able to train, the muscle up. Remember that this is for strict MU. All your swinging, dancing, wavering around kipping-stuff, can most certainly, enable you to do a MU without these prerequisites – but a strict MU, is just cooler – and that’s a fact!
Getting back to why I have a picture of a chest to bar pullup. The reason for this should be quite obvious; if you plan on getting you body over the bar, then you better be able to get it all the way TO the bar. The best way to ensure this, is to be strict with your pullups. Always go as high as you can, pause for a second, then lower yourself back down. You will experience that your strength will decrease rather quickly, and you may only be able to get your chest all the way to the bar the first repetition or two, but keep having it as a goal. Keep your body tight, and do not allow your knees to come in front of you, at least not before the last 1 or 2 reps. As you get stronger, pull even further down and allow your shoulders to come over the bar or rings – still pause a second at the top, to eliminate any momentum from your initial pull. Time spent working on this top pullup position, will pay itself back once you get to working on the actual muscle up. And the adverse effects of having done so, is an impressive strict chest to bar pull up!
Next, make sure that you have a good “false grip”. This can be incorporated in your pullup training, but do not try to do all your pullups with false grip, since your grip will fail, before your back muscles get their proper workout. But work on it and get comfortable with it.
A little tip for rings is; when you normally grip the rings you would grip at the bottom of the rings, with the “south” part of the ring(north being where the strap attaches), in the middle of your hand, between your ring and middle finger, you now, when going for false grip, instead grip a little “forward” in the ring as shown in the last picture.
Now on rings, you can manipulate the space between you hands as you go. Keep the rings rather close, as you pull down, and once you passed your nipples, get your hands just outside of your chest and underneath your shoulder, which of course then is a bottom dip position – from there; you just push yourself up. Doing strict muscle up on a straight bar, is a lot harder than rings, since you cannot put you body in between your hands, as you are able to on rings. But the tip here is; that the narrower the grip you can get, while maintaining false grip – the better. Wide grip muscle up is way harder than narrow grip.
Finally an old clip of me showing 3 parts of muscle up. First high pullup, then muscle up with focus on transition phase and finally a wide muscle up.