Muscle Ups A Few Years Down The Road? Please.

I Actually Thought It’d Take That Long

What the FUCK was wrong with me?

Yes, it’s one of the more challenging CrossFit movements, unless you have a gymnastics background. I just thought it would take a while before even considering the movement. There was even this pseudo-checklist I had in my head of things to accomplish before trying muscle ups. Honestly, I had it in me already. I just had to try.

It was almost a year ago that I nailed my first muscle up. Oh was it SWEEETTTT to finally get my body into that dip position from the kip. From there, it’s simply a dip to victory.

However, for the past few months, I just couldn’t get them for some reason. Something was off. You know what it was?


Even if there would be muscle ups during a WOD, I obviously would have to sub in some sort of pull up/dip combo. I just wasn’t TAKING ACTION and working on this skill before or after class. Trying this movement after class is pretty rough, especially if your body’s SHOT from the WOD. Still…I had no excuse not to learn the movement during warm ups.

Once again…the only person to blame for this is me. For a while, I had some TERRIBLE time management habits. Yes, I would be trying to get some last-minute work done before heading off to the box, but was that really necessary? This simply stressed me out as I was always rushing to class. The majority of the time I was late or would just get there in time.

Yep, that would leave no time at all to practice any skills. How the hell was I supposed to progress as a CrossFit athlete then?

But I’ve Changed My Ways

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on my productivity and overall time management (many thanks to my buddy who runs, a site for hydroponic gardening). As a result, I have a more relaxed and Zen-like approach to life. I just get things done on time now and have been gradually cutting down on my procrastination.

That’s why now I make sure that I stop all work by 11am to ensure that I’m at the box 15-20 minutes before class. Because of this, I’ve been able to stretch and roll out properly.

And the best result so far? Today I managed to get in 3 muscle ups before class. FUCK YEAHHHHH!

Man…to think that months of being late to class has slowed down my progress? Sure, it might be for only a few classes here and there, but they add up. That time could’ve been spent working on one of my goats or skills I struggle with.

Hey, better late than never right? I’m just happy I managed to pick up on these poor habits before I was a lost cause.

Now My Problem Is Linking These Muscle Ups…

That was the first thought to come to mind as I was at the apex of my dip. Being higher off the ground than usual on the rings, it can get pretty scary. Not gonna lie…I’m afraid of heights…that’s why rope climbs are still a goat of mine.

So yeah…I tried dropping into the beginning of a kip after one of my muscle ups, and I simply went straight down. The next rep was dead. No dice.

I tried looking like this:

Only for this to happen:
Muscle Up Fail

Need Help With Your Muscle Ups?

If you can do around 10 chest to bar pull ups and are fine with ring dips (I suck at them by the way…), then you can definitely try out a muscle up. Here’s a good primer vid on muscle up progressions:

You also can’t go wrong with Jon Gilson’s muscle up video either:

Simple Tweaks Led To Success

All this time I was struggling with muscle ups, it had NOTHING to do with physical issues. It was simply about getting more practice time by hitting up the gym earlier.

That’s why when you just can’t seem to figure out a CrossFit problem of yours or any issues in your everyday life, sometimes you just need to take a step back and go over your progress. In many instances, all you need to do is a simple tweak to get the job done.

Kipping It Real Muscle Up

Kipping with the rings...

Kip it real, my friends.


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Muscle ups truly seem a million miles away for this non-gymnast. However, it all goes back to habit and doing those things that scare you each day right? Muscle ups, handstand push-ups…


    Exactly! Just work on the basics and progressions for these movements for now. Constant, small improvements are MUCH better than burning out in a short amount of time.


I have a thing right now where I’m doing 30 days of muscle ups… so day 1 is 1 and 2 is 2 and so on… its getting pretty rough (day 11). I ate like crap this weekend and it made it a lot tougher than it had to be haha.


    lmao, that’s a sick challenge though. Good luck man.

    My buddy did something like that…but 80 days of burpees. Fuck that.


I’ve been practicing my ring muscle ups for about two months now, building up the strength, technique and balance. And I’m very proud to say that I was able to get 2 this past Saturday after a combo WOD of Karen meets Grace. I was more determined than ever to get it and I told myself ‘Just get up there’. I did it on my first attempt. Those who saw me said I just floated up there and made it look so easy. I failed on my second attempt but made my third attempt, and one of my friends got the vid. I had a much easier time getting bar muscle ups than rings.


    That’s awesome, Wayne! Even more badass after a combo WOD like that.

    I’ve actually never tried bar muscle ups before. Interesting to see how you found those easier, although the stable bar compared to the movable rings does make sense.


I’m a former gymnast and I also have my bar muscle ups, but not my ring ones. They are so easy on the bar, and I’ve done months of drills on the rings, but I have never gotten one! It’s so frustrating, because I know I’m strong enough, and I’ve watched so many tutorials about them, but it just hasn’t happened yet! I am determined to get them though!

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