Preparing For the CrossFit Open – Learn Muscle Ups

When learning muscle ups, I advise my athletes to start with bar muscle ups and progress to rings.  Starting on a stable object is much easier than the dynamic element the rings add.  Also, start doing all the progressions banded in order to get the technique down first and progress to without a band when able to perform properly with a band.

Strict Chin Over Bar Pull Ups

Just to warm up the pull and to gain the necessary strength, start with strict chin over bar pull ups.

Chest To Bar

For working on the progressions, start with kipping chest to bar pull ups.  If you can’t get a good chest to bar pull, you will not be able to get the pull to your waist or hips that is needed to complete a successful muscle up.

Hips To Bar

After chest to bar, it is important to hit hips (or at least waist) to bar.  You need to be able to get the pull to that point in order to be able to turnover the bar.  An important aspect to this is how high you get your feet up.  The higher the feet come up in the kip, the higher your body is, and the easier it will be to turn over the bar.


Now that you have your hips (or waist) hitting the bar, it is time to turn it over.  I have had a lot of cues given to me over the years, none of which really helped me because I was too slow with it in the beginning.  What does help me is remembering to look at the ceiling and then look towards the floor.  Your body will want to follow where your head and eyes go, so if you can try to do that, it may help you out.  But in case these cues are helpful for you, a couple that were given to me were “headbutt a shark” and “ make the hat fly off your head.”

Full MU

The only thing to do at this point is to press out of the turnover.  The turnover is essentially the hard part and the part you need to nail.  Once you press out you are pushing away to cycle into the next one.  But, you need to wait to press out until you are sure you are solidly over the bar or safely in the catch position if on the rings.

If you have further questions, feel free to email me at

And stay tuned for next week, when I teach progressions for Pistols!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply