3 Easy Steps to Do a Bar Muscle Up Progression

Monkey Method® App Director and Power Monkey lead programmer Colin Geraghty is here to help improve your dynamic bar muscle up technique.

Working on the bar muscle up can stump a lot of athletes. We often get asked the question: "How can I work on my bar muscle up without just attempting them over and over?"

If you're following Monkey Method® programming either Online or on the App, you'll work on the bar muscle up without simply attempting them over and over. Building adequate strength and spending extra time working on the kipping positions is a key piece of the puzzle. But there is far more that needs to be addressed — which we cover in our programming. Once the foundation is in place, learning the technique doesn't take very long at all. 

So when you're working up to your bar muscle up, here are three key aspects that you shouldn't overlook

The beginning, middle, and end of the bar muscle up all require strong wrists. If you follow any of our gymnastics programs, you’re familiar with wrist-specific exercises done in high frequency. Wrists take a long time to build up properly but with commitment and consistency, you'll start to notice that improved wrist strength carries over to so many other skills
This is a no-brainer for gymnasts. I see so many athletes that struggle with bigger movements like the bar muscle up because they only train “functional movement.”  Gymnasts are technicians. Every little position needs to be strengthened and polished. We need core-specific work to build up, balance, and fine-tune the pieces of the “functional” positions. The ideal body shapes for the bar muscle up are pretty simple — and when done efficiently, it looks easy. What you can’t see are all of the little pieces contributing to holding those simple positions together. Core work is absolutely a piece of that puzzle. 
Building and maintaining strong, healthy shoulders is an ongoing theme with all of our programming. The bar muscle up requires adequate overhead mobility, internal rotation, and extension. If any of these positions are lacking, it'll show up in the movement. If you’ve ever “tweaked” your shoulder you may have noticed that pain or anticipation of pain has a huge effect on movement. Pain-free, well oiled, strong shoulders make for years of focused training that lead to a bar muscle up and far beyond.
- Colin Geraghty 
P.S. Looking for some drills to get started? Check out our YouTube playlist on wrist-specific exercises.


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