When it comes to body weight exercises, none is more coveted and spoken of in hushed tones than the muscle up. For many in the Crossfit field, it can be the holy grail of body weight exercises because it takes so much strength to accomplish. The muscle up is a functional upper body exercise that requires use of the chest, back, triceps, biceps and even the core muscles to complete successfully. Many body weight fitness users state that the muscle up requires more overall strength than any other body weight exercise that they learn.
The fundamental base of the muscle up is the ability to do a pull up. If you are unable to do a pull up, then you will want to take the time to learn how to complete a successful pull up. You will need not only the upper body strength used to complete a pull up in order to complete a muscle up, but you will also need to know the correct grip in order to do a muscle up without risking injury.
The key to learning a successful muscle up is to learn the basics in portions. By breaking the process of learning the muscle up into four distinct parts you can make sure that you have successfully mastered the portion before you move on to the next one, allowing you to work at your own pace. Once you have learned these four basics you will be able to put them together into an effective and safe muscle up.
The best place to start when learning a muscle up is by learning to complete the kipping pull up. When it comes to the fitness world, a kip is the move that you use to put yourself in motion. This is generally an explosive push from the legs. To do a kipping pull up, instead of lifting straight up into a pull up you will kip up by pressing up from the legs and exploding upwards into a standard pull up.
Once you have mastered the kipping pull up, you will learn the jumping muscle up. The jumping muscle up will use the same motion from the kipping pull up, or the kip to get you up and over the bar to full arm extension. When first starting, you can use a step stool to help you complete the motion.
The last step is of course, the kipping muscle up. In this stage you will take what you have learned from the kipping pull up and the jumping muscle up and put them together. The kipping muscle up will not use the step stool. You will use the kip up motion from the pull ups and use your upper body to lift into the muscle up with full extension.
Muscle ups are not easy. They are some of the most difficult moves that you will learn in body weight training. That is why it is important not to get discouraged and to keep working at it, no matter how long it takes.