A lot of CrossFit hopefuls and Cross Training devotees spend a lot of time trying to master what I like to call the glamour moves. None more so than the Muscle-up. Done correctly this move is a beautiful and awesome display of coordination, strength, and skill. Unfortunately, more often than not this becomes a case of putting the cart before the horse. If you’ve not yet mastered the ring dip and Pull-up than you’re lacking the basic foundation of what it takes to complete a muscle-up and your time is better spent strengthening your foundation. No one has had to learn this lesson better than myself.
It is not enough to be proficient at either move but you must be able to execute them both with precision and explosive power to generate the momentum needed to transition over the rings. The third part of this equation and usually the most overlooked in my experience is; the grip. It is possible to do a muscle-up without using the “false-grip.” Of course its also possible to swim across the Atlantic ocean, but it sure is easier to take a boat. I will not go into a lot of detail explaining the grip in this article but we will focus on it more later. The right grip provides an easier and quicker transition from the Pull-up to dip; saving not only time but most importantly energy and strength. In a competition the person who can execute the moves with the least amount of energy is the one who will do the most reps.
Today lets do a workout that will build on all the things we just talked about. We’ll also be doing some core and leg work since both are absolute essentials to any serious Cross Training routine.
Warm-up: 50 Double-Unders and 15 Burpees
15 Chest to Bar Pullups ( think explosively! and focus on getting your body more horizontal and bring the bar to your chest )
15 Ring Dips ( If these are no problem for you add a 25lb weight belt or vest)
15 Front Squats (Men try working up to 135lbs and women 95-115lbs. Sure you can probably do more but this is a great weight to focus on form and range of motion with. bring your elbows up and rest the bar on your front deltoids to help preserve your balance and keep your arms from fatiguing before your legs do.)
15 GHD Sit-ups ( be sure to touch the floor on the bottom and your toes at the top. If you do not have access to a GHD machine or Roman Chair, a Swiss Ball will do as long as you remember to fully extend your core)
repeat for as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes, pause for 2 minutes then move to the next workout.
20 Standing Medicine Ball slam (against a wall 8 ft away if possible or the ground if needed, fully extending the arms overhead than rotating to send the ball in motion. This is not a drop but a slam)
15 Toe to Bar (Focus on developing a rhythm and swing similar to a Pullup kip. This will translate into increased momentum on your bar and ring muscle-ups)
repeat for as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.
Good Luck and remember building a strong foundation is the key to mastering the complex moves that grab all the headlines.