Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways - operating at the edge of your ability, where you make mistakes - makes you smarter. - Daniel Coyle ‘The Talent Code’



The ‘Muscle Up’(MU) is a complex bodyweight movement that involves strength & cohesion in the upper body. This particular move falls under 'calisthenics training', but has many benefits that can be used across numerous disciplines and sporting actions. It represents the transitional relationship as you progress through a pull, into a push movement.


False grip is the foundation. It’s what allows you to control and stabilise the movement, without this grip strength there will be no strict MU. I have found most people become impatient with learning this and then lean towards kipping (using momentum) to compensate. At first training your grip strength can be uncomfortable and painful but being consistent & patient you will be able to give yourself a good base to progress with.   


When learning the muscle up I found that my pull up and dip were more than strong enough to complete the move. It was the transition that combined the two which was lacking. Changing my thinking and looking at it as a skill allowed me to progress at a much faster rate. 

Using negative (eccentric) and band assisted training exercises you are able to spend more time in the transitional phase. Decreasing your weight & load you can now focus on the technique and make steady progressions until you are able to perform the move with no aid. 

Skill is insulation that wraps neural circuits and grows according to certain signals - - Daniel Coyle ‘The Talent Code’


Having a healthy wrist and shoulder joint is just as important. Injuries or lack of mobility will decrease the range through joints & muscles creating a restriction of movement. It also prevents you from generating maximum force throughout the movement. This is where a good warm up comes in. Find yourself some mobility drills that work for you and be consistent with improving joint and muscular health.


 Ensure that throughout your training you are consistently self assessing form and range. I personally found GVT (German volume training) was a good way to build my base strength for dip and pull ups. Adding in targeted transition exercises with assistance from bands and eccentric loading, it wasn't long before I was able to perform the MU. Below is an idea how you can break your session down to achieve this goal. 

Program break down

(Pull day)

Warm up / Mobility - Foam roll / Dynamic movements / Band work

Transition work - 10/20 minutes

Pull ups - 100x 

Program break down

(Push day)

Warm up / Mobility - Foam roll / Dynamic movements / Band work

Transition work - 10/20 minutes

Dips - 100x 

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