3 Steps to Linking Your Bar Muscle-Up

3 Steps to Linking Your Bar Muscle-Up

3 Steps to Linking Your Bar Muscle-Up
Ready to learn 3 steps to linking your bar muscle-up? Frustrated by performing singles during your wod?
These 3 steps will help you string them together and crush your bar muscle-up goal.
Before we dive into the drills, let’s look at why linking your bar muscle-up is an issue and how to resolve it, literally, step by step!

First, can you perform a single bar muscle-up with ease or do you create a slight chicken wing or lose tension and wiggle your way up to the top? Having a solid foundation is vital when adding on to skills. If you can not perform singles with great execution and control, then you should focus on building strict chest to bar pulling strength and bar muscle-up mechanics first.

Okay! So you have sound mechanics when performing a single bar muscle-up. So what’s the deal? Why can’t you link bar muscle-up?

I will tell you! There are a few contributing factors as to why you may be struggling.

  • First, it’s scary as heck to drop from the top of the bar and rip into full momentum as gravity takes hold. So yea, your brain may be telling you, “Uh…no thank you” and stopping you from learning how to fully develop this skill.
  • Second, your grip may not feel secure. Do you have solid grip strength and body awareness? Are you wrapping your thumbs around the bar for safety so you don’t accidently go flying like a kettlebell?
  • Lastly, your brain is telling you to complete the next rep without even thinking about going through each portion of the skill. What does that mean exactly? Well, you are so focused on the end goal…you forget about each portion of the skill.
Now what? Yes! It is time to break things down to 3 simple drills to build coordination, technique and confidence so you can string your bar muscle-ups together!

Before we view the drills, let’s take a look at the entire skill from the top of the support, where you would start your next rep.

Notice the athlete starts with a tight body and falls into a pike to control the speed but also has a strong “over-grip” while maintaining an active shoulder so the muscles are in control.


Linking Bar Muscle-Up Drill #1: Controlling the Descent

This is usually the scariest part because the athlete has to find a “sweet spot” where they use momentum but control the descent. The grip is important here, and will allow the athlete to activate forearm muscles, lats and shoulders to find control.  The athlete will fall into a pike, learning how to build tension. This is the ONLY focus to this portion of the drill: control and tension.


Drill #2: The Descent + the Arch

Building on skills and drills is an important part of learning gymnastics/body-weight skills. It will help build muscle memory, body awareness timing and confidence. All of thos ingredients are necessary when performing skills. We are now combining drill #1 and adding a tight arch. This will be the set-up before the athlete has to pull down and around. The arch is an important step because it acts as the “equal and opposite reaction” in the bar muscle-up. Meaning, the more tension we hold in the arch, the more power we have when we “spring” back the opposite direction when it’s time to pull around to the support. Think of it as holding tension in a bow & arrow before it is released. The tighter the bow, the farther the arrow goes once it is released.

Drill #3: The Descent + the Arch + The Hollow Lat Pull Around

Time to add the final part before you head into the support position. The hollow lat pull around will ensure the athlete has plenty of “height” so they can land tall in the support position. The focus of this drill is NOT to get to support but to work on pulling around so you can see over the bar, while maintaining a locked out elbow and hollow body. Once you can perform this step easily, the support position should be a piece of cake! Notice the wrist position while pulling around into the hollow lat pull down, too. The wrist is in a bit of a flexion, not extension. This is very important as you pull around to support.

I hope you found these 3 steps to linking your bar muscle-up helfpul! Remember, building muscle memory and confidence takes time, so go step by step and perform many repititions of each drill.

Want to work on your bar muscle-up and build a stronger foundation? Check out these great programs. All programs are included in our membership, which will give you access to 40+ skill programs, lifting programs and 2x weekly gymanstics conditioning.





Written by Pamela Gagnon

Co-creator of Performance Plus Program