How to do a Muscle-up?

Discover 5 important technique tips to unlock this skill

How to do a Muscle-up?

We noticed that a lot of people are wondering how to do a muscle-up. We receive this question very often during our coaching sessions and group training. The muscle-up is one of the most popular Calisthenics skills that a lot of Calisthenics athletes want to learn. It is a combination of a pull-up and a dip, but somehow it seems to be more complicated than just that. If you try to do this exercise for the first time, a lot of people recognize that it is very difficult. However, we noticed that many people make the same mistakes. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think right now. If you have some strength and learn the right technique it isn’t as hard as you might think! It mainly comes down to your Calisthenics technique. That’s why we explain in this blog post, and the tutorial video down below, 5 important technique tips so you can get your first muscle-up!

Notice that this blog post is created for people who can’t do a muscle-up yet. Therefore performing a strict form muscle-up is not the goal. The goal is to help you understand how to create momentum to get over the bar. You will learn how to do a strict form muscle-up later. 

How to do a Muscle-up? – 5 technique tips 

Required strength 

To perform a muscle-up both pulling and pushing strength are required. Therefore we would say that if you can do 8 pull-ups and 8 straight bar dips, you can start learning the muscle-up! Are you still struggling with pull-ups? Then you should take a look at this blog about how to increase your pull-ups. Later in this blog, we will give you some exercises which you can do to gain strength in the pull-up and dip movement. 

Tip 1 – Create a swing

The first important tip is that you need to create a swing. Why? Because the goal is to go around the bar and to get on top of the bar. With a swing, you can create momentum and move diagonally. In comparison with a regular pull-up, you pull yourself straight up without swing. This makes it impossible to get over the bar because you can’t bring your elbows around the bar. So:

  • Grab the bar.
  • Create a swing, mainly with your chest.
  • Make sure to keep your arms really straight.
  • With a swing, you can create momentum to get over the bar.

how to do a muscle-up Calisthenics

”Imagine that there is a trampoline in front of you.”

Tip 2 – Imagine a trampoline

how to do a muscle-up calisthenics

The next important tip which you need to implement if you want to know how to do a muscle-up is to learn at which exact moment you need to pull yourself up. So, you create a swing as mentioned above. When you are as forward as possible during the swing you need to pull yourself up diagonally. Or, in other words, at the exact moment that your swing is going backward instead of forward, you need to pull yourself up diagonally. To make this technique a little bit easier for yourself, you can imagine that there is a trampoline in front of you. When you are approaching the pretended trampoline you have to imagine jumping into it to create momentum and pull yourself up directly. 

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Tip 3 – Knee raise

Another very helpful tip is to use your knees to create even more momentum to get over the bar. Kipping your knees will make it easier. We know that this is not a strict form muscle-up, but you can learn that later. This tutorial is about learning your first muscle-up. In this stadium, it is important that you learn how to get over the bar. Therefore your muscle-up doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Step 4 – Straight arm pull down

This important tip is all about ‘How to pull’. Normally we see a lot of people performing a pull-up and then they won’t make it to get over the bar. This is because you should not bring your chest to the bar. The goal is to bring your hips to the bar. You can do this by doing a straight arm pull down movement. This will make it way easier to get over the bar. 

Tip 5 – Jump into the bar

The last tip is about where you should stand if you start with the muscle-up. You should not start below the bar but behind the bar. Then you jump into the bar and swing yourself forward. The first time you get in front of the bar (during your swing), you should pull yourself up immediately. Why can’t you just hang on the bar and start swinging until you feel like it is the right moment for you? Because it takes way more energy which you can use to pull yourself up.  

”If you implement these 5 tips we are 100% sure that you’ll learn how to do a muscle-up in no time!”

Training frequency

If you implement these 5 tips in your muscle-up workout routine we are 100% sure that you’ll learn how to do a muscle-up in no time! We advise you to train the muscle-up at least 2 times per week and if you can 3 times per week. Always make sure to have at least 1 full rest day in between your muscle-up workouts.

Additional exercises

Next to the 5 important technique tips mentioned above, you should also implement additional exercises to gain strength. You can do the following exercises for example:

how to do a muscle-up calisthenics how to do a muscle-up calisthenics

  • Russian dips (picture 1). Gain strength which will help you with the dip movement. 
  • Straight bar dips (picture 2). Gain strength and practice the technique which will help you with the dip movement. 
  • Explosive pull-ups. Focus on pulling yourself up explosively.
  • Negative muscle-ups. Reverse muscle-up. You start on top of the bar with straight arms and focus on getting down slowly. 
  • Weighted pull-ups. You want to progressive overload this exercise. So either do one more rep or add more weight. 
  • Jumping muscle-ups. Practice the muscle-up on a lower bar and practice how to use momentum to do a muscle-up.

When practicing the muscle-up, you can also use a resistance band. This will really help you to pull yourself up. Start with a thick band and use a thinner band when you are making progress.

How to do a Muscle-up – Tutorial Video

Explore the world of Calisthenics

We hope that the tips and additional exercises will help you to learn how to do a muscle-up. Back in the days, we couldn’t do a muscle-up just like you. But, with a lot of discipline and training, we unlocked this skill. It is just a matter of learning the right technique! Are you curious about our muscle-up journey? Watch our 6 months muscle-up progress. It will definitely give you motivation!

Nowadays, we help thousands of people to learn all types of Calisthenics skills. We created different Workout Plans such as the Full Journey. This 4-Course Workout Bundle contains lots of workouts, instructional videos, and skills that you can learn including the muscle-up. If you want to have some great progression, then our Full Journey Workout Plan will definitely help you out!

Make sure to upload a video on your Instagram story when you unlock your first muscle-up. We will repost your achievement and share it with our community ;)!

Are you just new to calisthenics? Check out our FREE beginner workouts to learn everything about it, or start with Calisthenics at Home with our Home Workout Plan.

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