Bodywork: Muscle-Up

In one seamless action, the muscle-up provides a complete upper body workout. The move starts with a basic pull-up, but instead of lowering yourself back down once your chin crosses over the bar, you keep going upward, transitioning into a front dip press.

Muscle Targets

Lats, rhomboids, biceps, chest, delts, triceps, forearms, abs

1. Warm-Up:

Do 1–2 minutes of light jump rope.

2. Setup:

Find a high enough bar that you have to jump to reach it.

3. Pull-Up:

Perform a pull-up but use a slight kipping motion to gather extra momentum. Thrust your hips forward slightly just before you begin the pull.

4. Sticking Point:

Pull explosively on the bar near the top of the pull-up to power past the tough point as your shoulders cross the bar.

5. Wrist Jerk:

Readjust your hand positioning with a quick flick of your wrists away from your body.

6. High Point:

Once your elbows go over the bar, transition smoothly into a dip press, straightening out your arms, but not locking your elbows.

7. Finish:

Reverse the action by lowering yourself back down in the controlled manner, keeping the muscles engaged.


Hit’s Muscle-Up Tips

Don’t worry if you’re having trouble at the start. Follow these pointers.

  • If you’re a beginner, start with a shorter bar so you can use your momentum to jump up to the top of the muscle-up, then focus on the negative.
  • Keep your legs as straight as possible throughout the exercise. If you’re just learning it, you can gain some momentum by bending your knees slightly during the pull-up phase.
  • Some people have a tendency to cheat the move by bringing one elbow up over the bar; you need to get both over at the same time.
  • Be careful not to snap your elbows into a locked position at the top of the move as it could mess up your joints.


Advanced Move: The Lateral Hop

For an advanced variation, explode off the bar at the top of the move and hop both hands to one side by about a foot. Grab the bar (don’t miss!) and absorb the landing by lowering yourself in a controlled fashion back down to the dead hang position.