Bar Muscle-up Progressions

Bar Muscle-up Progressions:




The bar muscle-up is an exercise that takes time to acquire or master. Most individuals miss or fail at the turnover or catch position. This is where the body has to come over the bar. These drills are put together for you to build-up that progression. The protocol is designed to build efficiency in the turn over of the movement. These progressive exercises build on each other. Please focus on perfecting one movement before moving to the next. Each movement has a level assigned to it. Any of these drills can be used as modifications within workouts that have bar muscles ups.

  • Straight arm banded pull-down (Strength): This will increases your strength in the back to perform the pull prior to the turnover or catch. The emphasis here is to keep the arms straight.

    TIP: Stomach in, and pull using only the back. Don’t let the shoulders elevate upward during the pull.

  • Modified kip swing to hollow arch: Body position is crucial in the bar muscle up. This drill reinforces the body position required to create the force necessary for the body momentum before the pull.

    TIP: Work on the extended body through the bar. Chest will come forward at the bottom.

  • Modified kip swing with pull down straight arms: This drill builds on the first two progressions by adding a dynamic hop or jump. Notice that my arms are straight during the movement.

    TIP: Keep your arms straight at the jump.

  • Modified kip swing into bar muscle-up catch: This progression adds the catch portion of the movement. This one can be difficult so be patient and continue to practice until you are able to perform with ease.

    TIP: When turning over the bar, picture getting the belly button on top of the bar. Don’t hesitate, and quickly execute this movement. Rest body on bar then come back down.

  • Modified bar muscle up with press out: This progression adds to the catch with the press out of the muscle-up. This is going to test your ability to press out at the top. The triceps will have to be strong enough for you to come out of the bottom.

    TIP: Once the body is on the bar press up with the shoulders slightly in front of the bar. This pressing angle will be easier than going straight up.

  • Modified bar muscle up cycling: continuous cycling of repetitions.

    TIP: When coming down from the top bring the body back down to the bar then drop back down to the box. Once the feet touch the box quickly go back into the swing, cycling the movement without stopping.

These progressions are designed to help you acquire or improve the gymnastic skill of a bar muscle-up by focusing on the fundamentals. Each progression builds off of the previous progression, so make sure to master the earlier progressions before moving on. Focusing on the basic fundamentals of the movement allows you to train and drill the core principles of the movement, which will allow you to acquire and master the skill. The bar muscle-up is an advance gymnastic movement which combines an explosive pull-up (belly button to bar) and a press out/dip. Make sure you have the foundations of this movement mastered before you begin practicing the advanced progressions for the bar muscle-up.

Read More Dip Variations for Building Strength


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