Muscle-Up Fault: Losing Wrist Control
Written by Hunter Britt

Establishing control over the bar or the rings is important during the muscle-up. You can establish that control on the initial grip on the swinging/pulling phase of the muscle-up or the catch, as both matter when it comes to mastering an efficient muscle-up.  

A lot of people talk about how to grip both the bar and the rings when learning the movements. The three options are to just grab onto the rings, establish a pseudo false grip (over the top grip), or to get into a full false grip. I will not get into which grip to start with but I will say that the most successful CrossFit athletes usually use the pseudo false grip with the meat of their hand on top of the bar or rings and the palm is in contact. In this grip there is an active wrist as opposed to a wrist that is straight down and has no advantage over the apparatus they are using.

A lot of people lose their good positioning on the rings or the bar when they lose their strong wrist position. I was talking with one of our competition athletes at Invictus and  had him kneel down next to one of our boxes across from me as we set up to arm wrestle. I asked him, “When I say go, what is the first thing you are going to do?”  He responded with the action of flexing his forearm and curling his wrist in. That gives him control while at the same time not putting his wrist in a weak, losing position. In this grip position, it will be that much harder for me to win an arm wrestling match against him.  

If this is the case when you arm wrestle, shouldn’t we take the same approach on other things that require our grip, such as the muscle-up? Keep the wrist straight or even flexed in, but once you start to lose that control and you cock your wrist back, the movement becomes much much harder.

If you or someone you work out with has an issue with wrist control in their muscle-ups, concentrate on keeping a strong position and see if this helps. Best of luck with your muscle-up work and keep drilling that technique!

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