Q. Pat, great tips you gave on the pull up the other day. I would love to see something similar on how to get your first muscle up. (Kyle)
A. Observe; the muscle up, like the pull up, is better left un-kipped. And here’s why: If you don’t take the time to sufficiently strengthen the passive structures of the elbows and the shoulders, kipping muscles ups, particularly done for reps, will mangle and deform them.
Grinding is the only way to go. It’s harder, longer, and more worthwhile. You’ll actually get stronger from it, too.
Now if I were to reduce getting your first muscle up to the irreducible number of progressions, here’s what that would look like:
1. False Grip Pull Ups
Establishing a strong, secure false grip is the first single essential step in the fantastic business of getting your first muscle up. The wrist needs to be positioned over the rings to guarantee the most seamless transition. Practice these as often as you can, slowly and explosively—imagining that you’re trying to pull the rings towards (and even through) your sternum.
2. Deep Ring Dips and Negative Muscle Ups
Here is where you want to focus on spending more and more time working backwards through that horrendous weak point—where the elbows go from pointing up, to pointing down. The SLOWER you can go through this transition period, the better, and the QUICKER you will get your first full muscle up.
3. Full Muscle Up
As your negatives begin to feel strong and indestructible, it’s likely time to start making some attempts at your first muscle up. They will be sloppy and weak at first, and that’s just how it is. But by and by you’ll get over those rings, dammit, and be successful. And each subsequent rep after that will be prettier and prettier.
A straightforward, and simple three-step progression. And I’ve used this exact formula to get many of my clients—online and off—their first muscle up. And I’ve done it without injury any of them.
Examine Lisa. Training with Som and I, it took her only a little less than three months to get what follows. This is unusual speed, but not impossible speed.
That said, there are three things I look for when developing the muscle up with clients:
1. No kip. As stated, the movement can be explosive, but kips are for kids.
2. Ring turn out at the top.
I want to see clear external rotation at the top of the movement (thumbs pointing out). This may be the last thing a person develops, and that’s fine, but it demonstrates to me that you have command over the rings.
3. Control through the negative.
No flopping out of the muscle up. I want to see a smooth descent through the entire range of motion.
Just A Little More On CrossFit…And How to Possibly Make It Better
Well all these CrossFitters, after the words I had to say about them earlier this week, are still belaboring me in a very extravagant manner, and are all about as ornery as someone just turned thirty. It’s not popular to talk ills on Crossfit, I know that, but I’m not here to win any popularity contests. It’s not that I even hate Crossfit. I don’t hate anything, really. REALLY, I don’t like poor exercise choices, is what I don’t like, and things that get people hurt for no good reason at all. I couldn’t careless about a brand, or an organization. It’s bad exercise I hate.
And I don’t take stock in nonsense. So if I think something or a type of exercise is good for nothing but a sort of bumpkin, barnyard joy, than I’m probably not going to talk pretty on it.
Seriously, if CrossFit could make a few simple, intelligent changes the whole of what they do would be improved 1000% percent. For example, if they could just 1) get rid of kipping pull ups all together and 2) replace the high rep barbell moves (like cleans and snatches) with kettlebell exercises (like swings and one arm swings), which are much lower skill, and hold up much better under fatigue, but still deliver a massive metabolic hit, well that right there would be very judicious of them, and show sagacity.
But there’s no talking any sense to them, anymore than you could of talked sense into all the witch-hunters back in Salem, or a horse. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, how such an overwhelming deluge of country bumpkins pour in from the backwoods to romantically defend something they ultimately know very little—or absolutely nothing—about. It’s like Christian Science all over again. And Glassman is Mary Baker Eddy, and people just take him at his word, despite all evidence suggesting him to be nothing but a fat, bedraggled slob, whose skills in athletic development are really very meager, and who is otherwise a rather shabby and devious businessman.
The Modern Woman’s Guide to Strength Training: Only 10 Hours Left
A friendly reminder that today is your last chance to pick up my friend Molly’s new program The Modern Woman’s Guide to Strength Training at a big, fat discount and with a ton of cool bonuses, too.
So CLICK HERE for the full scoop on that.
But because it’s my job to give you the tools and programs you need to succeed, I’ll just say it just one more time: Really and truly, every woman who wants a better, quicker way of losing body fat and building strength should have this program.
And here’s two quick reasons why:
1. It will teach you to use “strength training for fat loss”, so you can lose fat without the drudgery of incessant, insipid cardio, and while simultaneously building lean, dense muscle.
2. It will teach you to use the “minimum effective dose”, so you can get better results, quicker, safer, and with zero wasted time or effort.
So, if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, well Molly’s done a wonderful good job of laying it all out in a simple and straightforward manner for you–so all you gotta do is get the program, use it, and get awesome results.