Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

(by PKDanno from pkTO)

ok... "for those that think OMG THIS IS SO LONG AND SLOW.... Sit there and think about this for a second... How long have you wanted to do a muscle-up without being able to?
Probably much longer than this program

How many pull-ups and dips (only exercises for this assessment) can you do?
If more than 10, skip section A.
If less, train section A.

Section A: Pull-ups and Dips. Do a pull-up and dip program 3x per week, focusing on getting your body-weight pull-ups and dips to a minimal strength level. Don't worry about power just yet, or fancy stuff, just learn these two motions.

The pull-up should be done from all the way down, to all the way up. No kipping.
The dip, again, with the same range of motion, and you should feel and intense stretch in your shoulders when you are deep in the dip.

Continue doing this section until you can get at least 10-15 of each in a row. Until then I do not teach muscle-ups as I feel they are a waste of time, and a band-aid to the main problem.
Without the required strength (or explosiveness pending on how you do them) they are BRUTAL for your shoulders because of internal rotation of the humerus. That is more info than you need to know though, but when you see people flailing up on a bar, with chicken wings spread out, or in retarded positions, think: shoulder problems later.

Section B: Weighted pull-ups and dips along with explosive drills + light technique.
Once you can do 10-15 normal pull-ups and dips, its now the time to start building towards the technique. You may think, still more stuff before the muscle-up, but yes, if you cheat it'll only cost you in the end. You may get a crappy muscle up (see shoulder problems above), and then to fix it you'll have to come back and do these things anyways.

The cheapest way to add weight to your pull-ups and dips is to put something into your backpack and do them. As long as your backpack isn't anymore than 20-30 pounds, then it wont affect your technique too much.

So this is essentially just doing the same routine 3x per week as the first section, only now with weights.

As well as that, after you do a few sets with the weighted stuff, you will start throwing in explosive pull-ups into the mix. The first exercise you are going to do is to pull the bar as fast as you can and get it to hit your breastbone. As you progress with this exercise, you keep pulling it more and more, faster and faster, lower and lower. You can work your way all the way up to the waist if you want, as long as your wrists permit it.

The light technique for this section is doing muscle ups on really low things using the power of your legs to get your over. I.e. you are basically just standing up into a muscle up. You can do this on a kitchen counter, a rail, anywhere really. Do the exact form of a muscle-up but only put 10% of your weight into it. Concentrate on the deep stretch during the part where you transition from pull-up to dip. Do this movement really slowly, really work the feeling you get so it gets imprinted in your brain.

Section C: Explosiveness + Technique
I find the explosive muscle-up much more practical in real life, so I will continue aiming you towards that.

This section has 3 parts.
A. Continue adding weight to your pull-ups and dips.
B. Continue working that explosive drill + adding more
C. Start on technique

If you have done the first parts right, you are ready and pretty close to getting a muscle-up properly.

Once that explosive drill gets you almost to your waist, imagine the bar there for a second and hopefully a light bulb goes off in your mind at how easy it is to climb there. This is our goal. Along with doing that waist exercise more and more explosively, you should include 2 others I find essential, plus an extra one.

The first exercise is exploding yourself way over the bar. Pull-up as fast as you can and throw yourself way up and away past the bar. Really yank yourself and let go. You don't have to re-catch the bar if you don't want, so chose a lower bar or whatever to do this from if you want to learn it that way. If you want to re-catch, its a good plyo exercise but can be harsh on your body to be warned and prepared.

Second exercise is a pull-up with a massive reach with one arm only as high as you can in the air, and then on your way back down re-grabbing the bar. This is great at a football field because you can pull-up fast, explode and touch the other bar on top, and then come back down. When you get good at this, explode up, touch 2-3 times really fast while trying your best to hold yourself up with the other arm, and come back down.

Speaking of football fields, while you are there, you can practice dynos up to the second horizontal bar. I don't usually include this in my programs for people because, well, if you don't have access to this its hard to replicate, but if you do (or can find a tree) than do it as well.

Technique for this section is a jumping muscle-up. Find something low and do jumping muscle-ups. Same exercise as the second sections but because we are jumping now, we are putting more weight into them. This leads you up to the actual technique needed for the quick transition in the end.

Section D: Reverses + explosive weighted
You can start doing reverse muscle-ups now. Some people think these should go sooner, but I disagree because there's way too much pressure on the joint capsule in this position to benefit anyone who isn't strong enough to do it.

Get up on a bar, tree, whatever. And bring yourself down through the motion. Don't just fall, try your hardest to keep yourself going smoothly through it. Might be hard at first, but it'll come.

Also you want to start doing weighted explosive movements that were listed above. Again just a backpack is fine, strap it on tight, and you are good to go.

Section E: If you actually completed all those sections, about an 8-12 week program lets say give or take on the person, than you should have enough to do a muscle-up.

Go out and do some warm-up jumping muscle-ups, stretch yourself out in a deep dip position, and drill that technique. You will know after this that you have learned it the proper way, the safe way, and once you get it you will ALWAYS get it and easier and easier each time.

This is the exact program I followed. Before I hurt my shoulder and stopped training for a bit, I was doing no arm bend muscle-ups. I had no transition or stop in between and could just pop from bottom position to the top one. It also helped me get huge dynos, massive numbers of weighted pullups, and the ability to do a muscle-up with 35pounds on me.

So go out and learn this. Anyone can do it. Its very very simple but takes some time to do it right."

"Some people sometimes think they are training smart by going straight to the end result and trying to train what they specifically want to achieve in the end. For example sake, lets use the muscle up.

People will skip to the muscle up and they will most certainly get it if they are persistent enough, no doubt. They can say they reached their goal, and they can say their training was 'smart' and it 'worked'. They did reach their goal, so I can't argue about that, but Ill explain why I put those words in quotes.

I explain the muscle up this way because, in the end not only will you have the muscle up, ie your first goal, But you will have about 100 sub goals too. By training this way instead of skipping you will achieve many different things at once, you get the most bang for the buck. Your training time is put to the most use! This is always the smartest way to train in situations like this.

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...for me the hardest is always reading through it.

Other than that: let's get some work done!
Excellent article - I'll just have to get myself beyond ONE single pull-up, which is my current capability ;-) Maybe I should make "being able to do a muscle up" my New Years resolution. Better get training soon, only 11 months to go...
...that's what anybody a little demotivated by their initial pull-up capability needs:
I'll read this when my pull ups are in grood form :)
My "pull-up bar" is the bottom of some steps. So I hit my head :( Need to find a new one., yes.
Not "too slow progression"...
Ugh. I need a dip and pullup bar.
Really good guide for building up to the muscle up! I still have to get more strength with my pull ups as they're not consistently 10s. The dips I have no problems with though. For people that think they need a bar, I, myself just use 2 of my dining room chairs and that works pretty well when I can't make it out to the gym or something. That's a little tougher though since you have to put a little more effort to make sure you stay stabilized.
can anybody tell me where there are chinup bars around sunset? the one in my school got demolished... not the gym though...
Aha, I was just looking for this....been working on the pull up bar all summer, so I'll give the weighted ones a go. I don't quite get the part where you launch yourself past the bar and re-catch it. Does anybody have a video or diagram?
thanks for this, it gives me tips on how to train myself ect, im new to this :)


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