When learning muscle ups, it is best to start on the bar and progress to the rings. Starting on a stable object is much easier than the dynamic element the rings add. Also, start doing all the progressions banded in order to get the technique down first and progress to without a band when able to perform properly with a band. You do not want to get into a bad habit by trying to power/muscle through it with bad form!

Strict Chin Over Bar Pull Ups

Just to warm up the pull and to gain the necessary strength, start with strict chin over bar pull ups.

Chest To Bar

For working on the progressions, start with kipping chest to bar pull ups. The better chest to bar pull you have, the easier it will be to get the next step of hips to bar.

Hips To Bar

After chest to bar, it is important to hit hips (or at least waist) to bar. You need to be able to get the pull to that point in order to be able to turnover the bar. An important aspect to this is how high you get your feet up. The higher the feet come up in the kip, the higher your body is, and the easier it will be to turn over the bar.


Now that you have your hips (or waist) hitting the bar, it is time to turn it over. Some common cues used to get a successful quick turnover are to “headbutt a shark” and “ make the hat fly off your head.” For me, these did not work. What does help me is remembering to look at the ceiling and then look towards the floor. Your body will want to follow where your head and eyes go, so if you can try to do that, it may help you out.

Full MU

The only thing to do at this point is to press out of the turnover. The turnover is essentially the hard part and the part you need to nail. Once you press out you are pushing away to cycle into the next one. But, you need to wait to press out until you are sure you are solidly over the bar or safely in the catch position if on the rings.

If you have further questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]

And stay tuned for next week, when I teach progressions for Pistols!

About the Author

Brianne Showman Brown

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Brianne Showman Brown, owner of Get Your Fix Physical Therapy and Get Your Fix Nutrition, works to Get Athletes To Peak Health And Performance. She does this through a combination of injury rehabilitation, injury prevention, and nutrition coaching. She loves what she does and loves to see her clients be able to return to competing to their highest level again. Brianne has been active all her life, playing soccer growing up, running track and cross country in high school and college before moving on to half marathons and marathons. She now continues to run as well as competes in CrossFit and is a CrossFit coach.