(assisted) Muscle ups

Something I was chasing on and off for a year or so is being able to do a muscle up. Losing about 30lbs of pure body fat in that time helped. Still, I have problems with the transition and false grip (too much pain). The kids’ gymnastics coach told me “really, it’s mostly technique” which is true, but there are a whole bunch of things that could make things easier on me. I’m not talking about kipping, or whipping my feet way up and swinging them down like mad. Like:

  • pulling up harder and faster to counter the force of gravity during the start of the transition phase
  • positioning my elbows better to reduce mechanical disadvantage (and joint pain)
  • training my false grip to reduce wrist pain
  • increasing shoulder flexibility for protection
  • getting the “flow” better

I’ve heard the term “neuromuscular” being thrown around. Problem is, I can’t go through the motions without actually going through the motions, which is the challenge for hard movements like a muscle up. So this time I finally bought bands, which I was really resistant to do for a long time.

I’ve gotten it set up better than the Power Monkey Fitness tutorial by using a carabiner and a runner to mount a single band loop at a point between where the rings are mounted (Black Diamond stuff is usually on sale at Atmosphere), but my inspiration on working on band-assisted transitions on rings comes from there. I keep my reps at about 8 per set and I start with straight arms to warm up the grip and lats.

Band assisted muscle up transition on rings. Note that the model has the bands over his hands, which, for me, anyway, distracts from the way the hands should feel on the rings. All I want to do is reduce the force of gravity on my fat ass, not tie my hands up or change how the rings move relative to their anchors.

Now that I have things set up, I can stop hopping into the muscle up and do multiple reps at a time. Eventually I’ll drop the band resistance and will get to the point where there is less joint pain. Admittedly if I were to just follow the GMB program to the letter or Al Kavadlo’s bar tutorial, I would be much working out so much that after I’m through, I’d be strong enough to deal with strict muscle ups. Which is the whole point, right?

But let’s try this. Let’s build that transition by doing the transition the same way, with a consistent (with every rep) assisting force that decreases as we approach the start of the transition 24-32 times a day, 3 times a week.

Here’s the setup.

This is the little hop that I’m doing on the bar. I want to get to the point where I can do a strict one from a dead hang. Patience; work harder.

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