How to muscle up!

If you’re into Parkour and freerunning you’ll probably want to know how to muscle up. It’s the Holy Grail for a lot of those in the freerunning community because getting your head over the bar during a pull-up isn’t easy. You’ve probably told other fitness fanatics that you’ve performed a muscle-up when you’ve used your elbows to pick your way above the bar, but don’t convince yourself that qualifies as a muscle up.

Stop trying

If you try too hard to get it done, you will be wasting energy. It takes a lot of time and dedication to get right and you’re better off concentrating on your pull-ups until the time is right. If you can do ten decent pull-ups and the same amount of dips, you might think that you’re ready to try a muscle up, but you’ll probably find yourself pulling your head above the bar with your elbows rather than clearing the bar cleanly.

Before attempting

The muscle-up is a move that involves power, finesse and strength. If you’ve got the power but no technique you’ll never achieve it, and it’s the same if you have the technique but not enough power. Finesse is what links these two. Before you even attempt one make sure you can achieve 6 to 8 clean pull-ups and 10 to 12 deep bar dips. In terms of equipment, you’ll need a pull-up bar with lots of room below and above it and several pairs of dumbbells from 10lbs to 45lbs or higher if you like.


You’ll need to work on your raw strength while you perfect your muscle-up which is why we recommend the dumbbells, but your major workout should consist of pull-ups and dips. There's really nothing to working out how to muscle up, the difficult part comes in strengthening your body.

Muscle up

Now you know how to muscle up, make sure you train long and hard before attempting it. A few minutes with the wrong technique or attempting a muscle up before you're ready, can result in days or weeks away from the gym. Be patient and work on your pull-up until you're ready to muscle up.

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