No More Chicken Winging Bar Muscle-Ups

No More Chicken Winging Bar Muscle-Ups

No More Chicken Winging Bar Muscle-Ups

Tired of hurting your shoulder during the Bar Muscle Up? Frustrated that you can’t get rid of a bad habit? Chicken winging Bar Muscle-Ups are a big NO-NO for a few reasons. First, over time, this can cause damage to your shoulder since you are pulling more aggressively with one side, and causing you to land in a compromised position. Second, you are creating bad habits and muscle memory, and lastly, you are not learning to engage the right muscles.

First, Let’s Discuss Why Athletes Are Chicken Winging Bar Muscle-Ups

The Three Reasons Why You Chicken Wing Your Bar Muscle-Ups:

  1. You lack strict pulling strength
  2. You forget this is a strength skill [you’re not firing up muscles to create tension] Instead, you rely too much on the swing.
  3. You rush to the top so you miss the middle portion of the skill.

Now let’s break down each reason and build this skill the right way so you can stop chicken winging bar muscle-ups because, let’s face it, it’s not fun to crush your shoulder.

Chicken Wing Bar Muscle-Up

How to Build Strict Pulling Strength for Bar Muscle-Ups:

It starts with strict strength. If you don’t have any Strict Pull-Ups, you really don’t have any business even trying a Bar Muscle-Up. The foundation of all higher-level pulling skills is the Strict Pull-Up.

To build more volume, let’s get creative. Work on full pulls, half pulls, and tempo pulls. Here is a great example.

Complete 3 rounds:

1 minute of work for each skill:

  • ½ Holds [hold for a second at ½ way point and top of skill]
  • Kipping Pull-Up into Slow Negative
  • Pull Over Pull-Up Holds
  • Rest 1 minute between sets


How to Build Knowledge of Each Step:

Starting off by slowly building the technique will allow the body and brain to connect at the same speed. Sometimes, our brain gets ahead of the body’s timing. Two drills I like to work on focus on tension, teaching the athlete to activate muscles that are either pulling or pressing each step of the way. Here is an example of some great warm-up drills.

One focuses on gaining tension through the arch and lats that will help the muscles fire up for the middle portion of the Bar Muscle-Up, and the other drill focuses on continuing to press down through the full range of motion of the support position. Many athletes rush either of these positions because they are too anxious to “finish the skill” instead of focusing on each part of the skill.

How to Build More Muscle Memory:

We need to retrain the brain to be more patient in the “ pull around” position of the Kipping Bar Muscle-Up. The athlete’s brain is thinking about finishing the skill, instead of focusing on engaging the lat muscles and waiting for the timing of that “hollow rock” around the rig.

Watch this video and work on setting up two boxes for this drill. The only way to CORRECTLY do this drill is by being patient, using your lats and palms to press down and not trying to “force” the height of the press by bending arms or pulling into the bar.  Make sure you video yourself to see if you are completing this WITHOUT bending at arms, landing in arch, or throwing head back.


In Conclusion:

After you piece together the various parts of this skill you will forever say goodbye to the chicken wing! And instead, say hello to a Kipping Bar Muscle-Up that “looks easy” because you are doing it correctly.

If you want a proven program to clean up your technique and build strength in the right areas, check out our Bar Muscle-Up Overhaul program. This proven program has helped thousands of athletes crush the BMU in just a few weeks with short accessory WODs!