How To Master The Muscle-Up In 4 Simple Steps

The muscle-up is one of the most impressive feats you can pull off. Those who can do it possess great strength and skill. It’s truly the holy grail of bodyweight bar exercises. The muscle-up is basically a pullup followed by a dip, but what seems and looks easy can be a bit tricky. It requires strength, power and technique and it’s no easy feat, but with hard work, patience and dedication most fit people should become capable of doing it.

So here’s how to master the famous muscle-up…

Step One +


Master the pullup. Before you can even think of doing muscle-ups, you must master the pullup first. Aim at becoming capable of doing 10-15 full-range pullups, or more. Practice doing them with a so-called false grip, which is an overhand grip with your thumbs and palms on top of the bar. This type of grip will help you when doing the muscle-up.

Step Two +

Master the dip. You must also be able to do at least 10-20 dips. Practice them on a parallel bar and especially on a straight bar.

Step Three +

Strengthen your abs and core. While practicing the pullup and dip you should also strengthen your abs and core muscles by doing leg raises and hip raises while hanging from the bar. This will also improve your grip strength significantly. In general, become comfortable with hanging from the bar and doing all kinds of movements with your upper and lower bodies.

Step Four +

Once you have mastered pullups and dips and have built some serious ab and hip strength you can then work on mastering the muscle-up itself.

Break the movement down to its components and work on each of them separately. Do explosive pullups with a full range of motion going beyond your chin and to your chest. Do negative muscle-ups. Jump into the top position of the muscle-up on a lower bar and then slowly descent down in a negative muscle-up movement. Start mastering the muscle-up by using a swinging (kipping) motion on the ascent.

Two Types Of Muscle-Ups


There are two different ways to do the muscle-up. The first way is by using momentum from swinging upwards on the ascent to get through the sticking point and get your upper body above the bar.

The second way is by doing the muscle-up in a semi-static fashion, simply pulling yourself up and using raw muscular strength to get above the bar and then finishing by doing a dip. This is much harder than the first way and will require much more strength. Train for the muscle-up 3 times per week, but not going to failure each time. Focus on clean reps and form above all.

The muscle-up is an impressive move that takes time to master and requires a lot of strength and practice. It might take you several months to master it.

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