Are you struggling to improve your kipping bar muscle-up but not sure where to begin?
Does this sound familiar?
- I land really low in support at the top of the bar muscle-up.
- I can do a bar muscle-up but I chicken wing.
- I can do a bar muscle-up but I cannot link them.
- [hint: Do these drills & get really good at a single Bar Muscle-Up and then connecting them will be much easier!].
Let’s look at all the issues above. No matter which you check off, they all contribute to your frustration. For example, if you have a “slump” finish and land low in support position, it can be compared to the equivalent of the elbows bending as you catch the barbell in the snatch. ɢʀᴀᴠɪᴛʏ ᴡɪɴꜱ ɪꜰ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏɴ’ᴛ ꜰɪɢʜᴛ ɪᴛ. You may think the skill is over once you reach the top of the rig. 𝙷𝙸𝙽𝚃: It’s not over until you are at the top of a hollow support with full tension thru your body.
If you find you fit into any and all of these categories then you need to learn how to build more tension, technique and pulling strength.
The first two drills will help you learn how to catch in support with better tension.
BAR MUSCLE-UP DRILL 1: PLATE POPS
The plate pop drill will teach the athlete how to “push down” and continue tension through straight arm pressing strength.
DRILL 2: HOLLOW TO SUPPORT + DIPS
This drill teaches the athlete to pull around and down allllll the way to the finish. Adding the dip is important so the athlete can feel how to press into the support position. This way, if they land low they won’t stop working until the top of support.
If you chicken wing your Bar Muscle-Up, here are two great drills:
Do you have that dreaded “chicken wing” and know that eventually it will start to wear and tear on your shoulder and cause pain. This problem needs to be addressed immediately, so you can stay injury free and learn this skill using the right muscles.
There are two common reasons for the chicken wing BMU. First, the athlete is rushing to the top and doesn’t “trust” the timing of the skill. Second, the athlete isn’t ready for an advanced skill and doesn’t have the proper foundational strength. Here is a drill for each issue.
DRILL 3: THE 3-POSITION BAR MUSCLE-UP
This will help the athlete be more patient and hit each portion of the skill. It also forces the athlete to learn tension, which is key to creating efficient power.
In position 1 of this drill, the athlete wants to feel the palms pressing down, wrists are in minor flexion [think overgrip] and body is in hollow so the lats are fired up. I like the athlete to hold this position for a few seconds so they can feel all the muscles that need to fire up as they approach the pull around.
In position 2 of this drill, the athlete is taking the static hold and making it dynamic. Can the athlete maintain a tight hollow position and locked out elbows? This is crucial in learning how to finish the pull around and not pull INTO the bar which creates the chicken wing.
The final position is putting it all together into the support. We want our athlete to stay tight and squeeze glutes as they press around and then down into the final support position. It is okay if the arms bend slightly, once you pass through a portion of the pull around. The higher the box, the less the athlete will have to bend arms, so start with a high box and then lower it as the athlete builds muscle memory and tension.
DRILL 4: STRICT CHEST TO BAR PULL-UP ON LOW BAR
Another reason the athlete may be creating a chicken wing is because they lack strict pulling strength. The strict strength of this skill is often overlooked. And it is easy to spot if there are holes in an athletes foundational strength. Remember, the athlete needs to pull below the armpits in order to successfully transfer from a pull to a press in the Bar Muscle-Up…hence, why the strict chest to bar pullup is so imperative.
I love this low bar drill because it allows the athlete to learn to pull around and activate lats before you make contact with the chest. This drill also teaches the athlete to stay in hollow instead of arch the chest towards the bar to make contact. We want to teach hollow so we create the right movement patterns for the kipping bar muscle-up.
*Remember to always secure the bar safely to the rig when doing this drill. Check the safety before putting your full weight on the equipment.
Love these drills and want more guidance.
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Written by Pamela Gagnon
Co-owner Performance Plus Programming