How to Connect Bar Muscle-Ups
Video by Travis Ewart

The bar muscle-up is many-a-CrossFitter’s favorite movements! If you already have bar muscle-ups but are struggling to do more than one at a time, here are some tips to help you start stringing together multiple reps each set.

Now, before you try to attempt this, you should be proficient with strict pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, kipping chest-to-bar pull-ups, and dips. Gymnastics is a progression and although it is tempting to jump ahead to the sexier movements, it is always best for your body and skill development to build your strength base first.

Bar Muscle-Up vs Chest to Bar Pull-Up

Some of us were taught that a bar muscle-up is like a chest-to-bar pull-up; although it does have similar attributes, the biggest difference is that a chest-to-bar pull-up keeps your center of gravity beneath the bar, and the bar muscle-up needs your body to go around the bar. If you try to do a bar muscle-up out of a chest-to-bar pull-up swing, you may find yourself feeling imbalanced and short on the finish.  

How to Connect Bar Muscle-Ups Together

To address this issue I have created the video tutorial (above) on how to correct this feeling of imbalance. Here’s how:

The Bar Muscle-Up Swing

Start your muscle-up with this drill called the ‘Air Chair Swing’ and see how simple mechanics and timing can lead to a swing-assisted muscle-up that requires less guesswork and effort simply by working a consistent and duplicable pattern.

Utilize a very small, yet controlled swing to initiate the first bar muscle-up. When we drop out of a full support position on the bar we normally keep our feet on the front side of the bar, which causes the correct weight balance during the swing.

The Drop-Down Swing for the Bar Muscle-Up

Attempting to mimic the “air chair” position in drop-down swing is what this video tutorial is about. If you’re one of those who typically have no problem on your second bar muscle-up or subsequent, this may be your saving grace.  

Watch the video and give it a shot; but remember, this is a skill, and learning a skill may take time so work diligently! I assure you, though, putting the effort into learning this little swing will be well worth your time as you float your first bar muscle-up to the top.

How to Improve Bar Muscle-Up Skills

If you are looking to improve your technique, efficiency, or stamina, our 8-Week Bar Muscle-Up program is just what you need to get yourself set up for this movement that will surely make an appearance in this year’s Open. Join now to make sure it doesn’t become your limiting factor.


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