Getting your Muscle Ups: Day 1


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In CrossFit, one of the biggest challenges is the sheer number of exercises there are to master. As we have seen in past Games you have to be proficient at everything to even be competitive, let alone, have a chance. Even if you don’t have Games aspiration, and want to be competitive in the workouts we program, and continue to advance as an athlete, you have to train your weaknesses.

The Muscle Up is one of the most challenging gymnastics skills there is. It not only requires strength, agility, and coordination, its’s also going to require a good deal of practice, hard work, and even more patience.

It also follow a natural progression of skills, from modified exercises such as the jumping  pull up to kipping and butterfly pull ups, and then strict pull ups and even ring dips. Once you have mastered those exercises, you should be working on your muscle ups.

Often I see athletes foregoing work on progressions to get better at their skills in favor of flailing around on the bar over and over again. Sure, you might get a muscle up now and then, but if you are missing way more often than you are hitting them, you are building a muscle memory movement pattern that can have negative effects.

Therefore, if you goal is to get your Muscle Ups and be able to hit them consistently, and that includes during WODs, then this homework and these progressions are going to be important to work on.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You do not need to wait to master these skills before working on the progressions for the Muscle Up. In fact, working on these exercises will help you get better at your pull ups as well.

How it will work: We will be including these skills and progressions in each gymnastics class over the next 4 weeks and give them a complete breakdown of the homework for the week ahead. In addition, we will post the homework on 4 separate days in both the blog and Beyond the Whiteboard.

As always, I will be available to help explain any of the exercises. Please give me a heads up if you would like for me to go through them with you before or after class, or during Open Gym.

Day 1 Homework:

Wall Foam Roll: This exercise will help to open up the shoulders and get you warmed up for the strength work.

 Instructions: Facing the wall, hold a foam roller against the wall with your arms bent. Start with the foam roller at your wrists at approximately shoulder height. Roll the Foam Roller up, straightening your arms as you go being sure to push your head through the window and get the best extension possible, opening up the shoulder with your arms over your head. IMPORTANT: Point your thumbs back out towards you as you roll up and down.

Do 2 sets of 20 Reps slow and controlled.

Parallette Shoulder Extensions: This will open up the other side of the shoulder. It’s the complete opposite range of motion from the Wall Foam Roll

Instructions: Using a set of parallettes, get into the Dip position. Push your hips ups into the air as far as you can, opening up the shoulder.

Do 2 sets of 20 Reps slow and controlled

L-Sit Chin Up: The Chin up is the opposite hand position from the pull up. In other words, you will grip the bar with the back of your hands facing away from you. The L-Position is with your legs straight out in front of you, engaging your core the entire time. MODIFY: Use a light band if necessary.

5 Sets in reps of: 5-4-3-2-1

Ring Dips: From the rings, start with your arms fully extended. Lower yourself down by bending at the elbows until your bicep is touching the rings and then push back out again. MODIFY: Use a box to place your feet on.

5 Sets in reps of: 5-4-3-2-1


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