programs gym photos nutrition videos

Skill-Based Warm-up | The Muscle-up

Traditionally "warming up" in the fitness setting has consisted of little more than spending fifteen or twenty minutes on a bike, treadmill, or elliptical. While better than nothing, this approach to warming up is largely a waste of time in that it will not improve flexibility, does not involve the whole body or major functional movements, misses an ideal opportunity for reinforcing and practicing some critical exercises, and poorly prepares an athlete for the training to come.

For years, we have implemented a warm-up into our group class training that is built on the principle that the warm-up does more than simply "warm you up".

We believe that a warm-up should serve to increase body temperature and heart rate, provide some mobility and stretching, provide practice for basic movements, and finally, prepare the athlete for the training ahead of them. The warm-ups that we perform at Trebel satisfy our needs whereas the traditional warm-up only leaves us with an elevated body temperature and heart rate.

Most of our training sessions last an hour, and an hour goes by quickly when we have to do some community building, get everyone warmed up, practice a few skills, some strength training, get in a high intensity finisher, and a thorough cooldown.

With that in mind we encourage all of our coaches and athletes to minimize the amount of time in class spent on warm-up activities that do not develop functional movements and skills.  

Training in the small group setting has several challenges, not the least of which is the difference in experience, skills, and capacities among athletes. Skill-based warm-ups can help bridge that gap while setting standards for technique and range of motion and developing coordination. Relatively new athletes can brush up on the movements and sequences, and experienced athletes can refine and practice their skills.




Deliberate Practice |
The Muscle-up

Take 10 minutes to practice the four positions of the
Every minute perform the assigned movement and number of reps.


Progressions for practicing the Muscle-up:

1. 3 Ring Rows w/ 5 second hold at RR2 *each rep should take 10 sec.
2. 3 slow Scap Pull-ups * each rep should take 10 sec. 
3. 3 piked Ring Rows *each rep should take 10 sec.
4. 3 Jumping Pull-ups for Strength *each should take 10 sec.
5. 1-3 Strict Pull-ups *hold PL2 as long as possible  *hang on bar to 30 sec.
6. 3 floor Muscle-ups with 3 second hold at fMU2 and 3 second hold at fMU3
7. 1-3 L Hang Muscle-ups from floor (a little "help" is okay)
8. 1 strict Muscle-up
9. 2 strict Muscle-ups
10. 3 or more strict Muscle-ups

Perform 3 slow reps of the shoulder mobility movement of your choice after every other minute.
Some good choices are:
Standing Overgrip Dislocates
Standing Undergrip Dislocates
Standing Shoulder Extension Reps

Move on to the next progression once you have attempted and 
successfully completed the previous level of progression on 3 separate days.

Think of the Muscle-up as a series of poses (rather than one gross motor pattern). As you practice, you should pause briefly at each position to self-assess and improve your position before moving on to the next pose.

The muscle-up is astonishingly difficult to perform, unrivaled in building upper body strength, a critical survival skill, and most amazingly of all, rarely performed in the traditional fitness setting. The Muscle-up gets you from under things to on them. Let your imagination run.

Though containing a Pull-up and a Dip, its potency is due to neither. The heart of the Muscle-up is the transition from pull-up to dip - the agonizing moment when you don’t know if you’re above or below. That moment - the transition - can last from fractions to dozens of seconds. At low, deliberate speeds, the muscle-up takes a toll physically and psychologically that can only be justified by the benefit. No other movement can deliver the same upper body strength.

This monster combination of pull-up and dip gives the exercise advantages that render it supreme among exercises as fundamental as the pull-up, rope climb, dips, push-ups, and even the almighty bench press.

For those who are unable to perform a Muscle-up from a full hang without the assistance of your feet (about 95% of our client base), we will drill the Muscle-up from the low rings, with our feet on the ground. 

Here’s how to do a Muscle-up on the rings:
1. Hang from a false grip
2. Pull the rings to your chest or “pull-up”
3. Roll your chest over the bottom of the rings
4. Press to support or “Dip”
It’s that simple. Steps 1 and 3 are where you’ll have trouble if you do.
From a normal grip, roll the meat of the hand over the ring, leaving the thumb on the starting side until the wrist opposite the thumb is in full contact with the ring - this is a false grip. It shortens the forearm, greatly improving strength.
The false grip is difficult simply because it’s a sufficiently odd feeling that the beginner rarely believes is what’s
expected. No false grip, no muscle-up.
When an athlete can’t get it, 50% of the time they’ve got too much hand on the thumb’s side of the ring. This part is really very, very easy. On the other hand, rolling your chest over the bottom of the rings is
very, very hard.
Here are some tips for rolling your chest over the bottom of the rings.
1. Stick your nose as far over the rings as possible
2. Drive your elbows from down in front of you to up and behind you
3. Keep the rings as close to your body as possible
4. Tighten your gut
5. Have the meat of the thumb trace a line from collarbone to the armpit, just above the nipple
Ultimately, none of this really helps; you just have to struggle with it until you get it.
Assuming the grip is O.K. - you’ll know it is if you get deep bruises on the wrist opposite the thumb - there are two other common barriers to the muscle-up.
First, not being strong enough. Here’s the litmus: if you can do fifteen good pull-ups and fifteen good dips then you’re strong enough. If you can do ten of each you may be okay, but need impeccable technique.  If you have five of each then getting a strict Muscle-up may be difficult for you.  
If you can do the pull-ups and dips, your grip is good (you’re getting bruised wrists) and you’re still unable to get above rings, then you’re either letting the rings wander away from your body or you aren’t trying hard enough.
Second, as weird as it sounds, not trying hard enough is common among even the most accomplished athletes. Don’t give up on each attempt until you’ve struggled for ten seconds with the rings at the chest. This part is very hard.
The muscle-up gets noticeably harder with every quarter inch the ring moves away from the body. Keep the rings in as close to your body as you can. 

Practicing the Muscle-up has proven for us to be an excellent investment of your time and effort.

Get after it!



Related Articles:
Training Versus Testing
Developing Physical Literacy
It's All About Progression