Bar Muscle Up Tip

Today’s workout at CrossFit King of Prussia included bar muscle ups. The movement involves a dynamic pull up to get yourself up on top of the bar and then doing a dip to reach full extension of the elbows. It’s a movement that requires a great deal of upper body strength, control, technique, and timing.

One of our members was having difficulty with it and he really shouldn’t have been. Oleg has strong upper body strength and “easy” chest to bar pull ups. I mentioned that because the bar muscle up requires your center of gravity to be higher, you need a delay in pulling your body TO the bar. In other words, keep your arms extended for a fraction of a second longer on the way up in order to increase that radius around the bar. By doing so, you can move from chest to bar pull ups to almost belly button to bar pull ups which is needed for the bar muscle up. (Note: a progression for this would be to kip violently while keeping your arms completely straight, sending you up, but away from the bar where the radius is your arm length connected to the bar)

Sure enough, instead of immediately pulling his chest to the bar, Oleg kept his arms extended just a bit longer and circled up and OVER the bar, making it look like he had been doing bar muscle ups his whole life. In fact, he got up so easily he almost landed in a fully extended position (not needing the dip), surprised himself, and immediately dropped down in disbelief. I got the next one on camera.

Here is a screenshot of just how high he gets. He is basically doing a hip to bar pull up and then rotates around the bar.

Oleg bar muscle up screenshot

If this is beyond your strength and you don’t even have a bodyweight pull up, read this: CrossFit and the Need for Strict Pull Ups

Do you have any other tips on the bar muscle up?