Building Bar Muscle-Up Endurance

Building Bar Muscle-Up Endurance

Building Bar Muscle-Up Endurance

Want to build more Bar Muscle-Up Endurance but still stuck at singles when the clock is running and your breathing is taxed?

Not sure where to begin? Our Bar Muscle-Up Endurance program focuses on three vital components of gymnastics movement progress; Building Strength, Building Work Capacity, and building Endurance.


Let’s begin with building strength. It is one of the foundations of all skills. Without strength as your foundation, you will continue to fail when trying to build capacity.

Think of it this way, if you have 5 bags of heavy groceries and do not have the strength to move them all together. You will be stuck grabbing one at a time, which will take you much longer. Once you build the strength, you will be able to carry 3 bags, then maybe all 5 bags together, and over time, you will be able to take just one trip to carry the groceries, rather than five.

The Bar Muscle-Up is a similar concept. Without the strict pulling strength behind the skill, you will only be able to handle single reps. Yet, as you build strength, your muscle fibers will kick in and continue to work for you. Therefore, our focus on building strength to build capacity is an essential component in adding more reps under fatigue.

What does that look like:

We add in weighted reps/sets to pullups and chest-to-bar pull-ups while working on drop sets. Taking sets to failure should activate the full range of high-threshold motor units, which have been shown to have the greatest potential for muscle growth.

Building more strict upper body strength also always translates to better performance of more dynamic movements like the kipping muscle-up.



Train capacity can incorporate the ability to do work and recover quickly, in order to fire back up the muscles and do it all over again. In physics, work is defined as force times distance (W = F x d). So to build our capacity, we are going to do work [ie: metabolic and musculature drills] recover quickly, then continue to work again.

This will help build our capacity while training for the goal of Bar Muscle-Up Endurance. Over time, as we continue to add more force [the drills] to more reps [the distance] we increase our work capacity.

What does that look like:

We add drills such as Box Bar Muscle-Ups to add more distance and force to our training. Jumping muscle-ups will allow us to build our work capacity and eliminating poor technique over time. This drill is great for focusing on pulling around the bar, rather than to the bar, so it often helps athletes that tend to chicken wing their BMUs.



Our ultimate goal is to gain more reps when we are under fatigue. Endurance can be trained by pushing our limits through practice. Practice is the application of an idea, so if we apply our Bar Muscle-Ups to workouts, we will practice more by forming better muscle memory and endurance. If we practice pushing the “envelope” just a bit more each time, along with training work capacity and strength, we will have a beautiful combination that will allow us to get better over time.

What does that look like:

We will take practical workouts and apply our Bar Muscle-Up so we can continue to practice. Workouts will vary, time domains and muscle groups will be changed up and challenged so work capacity can be pushed to its limit as well.

Example WOD 1:

x20 Bar Muscle-ups for time.

A workout like this aims to build our muscle-up stamina. This is a large volume of BMU to do without any other movements compounding the effects of the workout. Your plan for this WOD should be small, manageable sets that require minimal rest before your begin the next set.

Example WOD 2:

8min AMRAP

  • X8/6 Cals Assault Bike
  • x2-4 bar muscle-ups

This WOD is built differently. Now we’ll challenge our ability to perform muscle-ups while in a more cardiovascularly demanding workout. The Bike Cals will create fatigue and get you breathing hard. We’ll then work small sets of muscle-ups, with your focus being on maintaining good form even under this fatigue.



Let’s face it. Without a plan, a goal is hard to conquer. If you want to build more Bar Muscle-Up Endurance, it is smart to follow a program and plan that is well thought out, easy to manage while continuing your current workout routine, and written by experts in the field. This is a higher-level skill that requires time and attention but you don’t need to dedicate hours and hours a day. That is why our programs are successful. They are easy to manage with a busy lifestyle. So, are you ready to crush your goals?

Start our Bar Muscle-Up Endurance plan today!


Written by:

Pamela Gagnon, Performance Plus Programming