Over the past few years muscle ups become a popular topic in many gyms. It's a great goal and accomplishment for an adult with no gymnastics background to achieve a ring or bar muscle up. As coaches it such a refreshing change to see adults seeking out these new challenges, learning and achieving physical feats of strength and skill.
So why is it that some people just get it and other need to battle with the drills for months or even years?
It's because a muscle up requires more than just a strong pull up and dip.
Step 1 - Identify where you need more focus
1. Strength in full range pull ups - hang position with locked out elbows pulling all the way up to the sternum in narrow position. Adding tempo to pull ups can help in learning the positions and slowing down the movement to help the brain map out the path of the new skill.
2. Strength in full range dips - from a strong top position down into the bottom of a dip with shoulders below. Incorporating isometrics here is great for strength building.
3. False grip hang - practice a false grip in a de-loaded position, then with full body weight and finally jumping into a false grip hang.
4. False grip pull up - getting that grip conditioned so that it no longer makes you squirm. Starting with ring rows are a great starting option
5. Strength in the transition - training the path from the top of the pull up to the bottom of the dip. Hundreds and thousands of reps. We do this in many ways, practicing the movement with no weight at all, with band, using a spotter & with full bodyweight.
Step 2 - dedicate some serious time to working your weakness and catch up to your strength
Step 3 - continue to work the drills once you get the skill.
Continuing to work the drills once you have achieved the skill is vital to continue progressing. Chances are one day you’re going to want to link your muscle up to another skill or another rep, you need to ensure your MU is not a one rep max.