09 Jul The G-Force Source: Muscle-ups — the CrossFit rite of passage
“Hiding from your weaknesses is a recipe for incapacity and error.” — Greg Glassman, CEO and founder of CrossFit
Different cults from the different walks of life have rites of passage which, once completed, deem individuals as accepted members of their given cult. The rites of passage usually consist of a number of difficult tasks which test the member’s abilities specific to their cult. For CrossFit, it seems that one particular movement has become the “rite of passage” which unofficially indicates that you’ve passed the physical tests of the sport. Yes, we’re talking about the muscle-up.
The muscle-up is a gymnastics movement but in the sport of gymnastics, the muscle-up doesn’t score any points. CrossFit has made this movement a part of its WODs and in this modern day of the sport, the muscle-up has become one movement that the sport’s athletes aspire towards as a momentous occasion to show that they are all about CrossFit.
Getting to the point of achieving your first muscle-up depends on each individual’s skill level. In the sport of CrossFit, nothing is impossible and everything is achievable as long as you dedicate yourself to your training and an overall healthy lifestyle. Training is about specificity and by this, we mean that if you have a specific goal in mind–like achieving your first muscle-up–parts of your training should be specific towards achieving that goal.
Luckily for our readers, we’re going to share with you some of the progressions that you can incorporate into your training to help you pass this CrossFit rite of passage. Remember, if you have a specific goal like the one we’re discussing, seek your coaches for advice. Don’t rely on luck or the hope that it’ll just happen. Chase your dreams and make them a reality by committing yourself to those dreams.
The first and foremost progression for the muscle-up is mastering the other pulling movements. This has been a message we’ve been conveying on broken-record repeat for a long time now and we hope that it’s getting across. Before moving onto the next level of pulling movements, you must master the basics. The order of pulling movements is: strict pull-up, kipping pull-up, chest-to-bar pull-up and finally, the bar and ring muscle-up. If you wish to learn the butterfly kip, we strongly suggest that you first learn the kipping pull-up and the chest-to-bar. Always with any movement in CrossFit, start with the basics and move forward from there. Never neglect the basics.
If you’ve progressed through all of the pulling movements up to the chest-to-bar, it’s time to start trying a belly-button-to-bar pull. This movement is going to be similar to the chest-to-bar except you’re going to be required to pull that little bit harder; lean back using your sting-ray lats and with the hip drive (which we use for almost everything), pull your belly button to the pull-up bar.
At a similar progression level of the belly-button-to-bar, you can try a hip-to-rings. Before going over to the high-hanging rings, take yourself to the lower hanging rings you would use for ring dips. Place a band on the rings and sit it under your bottom. Lay back into a front lever position and ensure you can see your toes on the horizon. Next, you bounce and thrust those hips up to the rings. After some bounces, perform a very fast sit up and transition into the dip with the assistance of the band, and keep your toes pointed in front of you.
If you can thrust those hips to the rings on the lower hanging rings, now try them on the higher hanging rings without a band. Remember, hip drive! Drive those hips hard and perform some hips-to-rings. You want to get them as high as possible.
These are only some of the progressions for muscle-ups. There are plenty more to practice to get you prepared to pass the CrossFit rite of passage. For more detailed progressions, watch the progression videos prepared by gymnastic guru Carl Paoli here. Seek your coaches at G-Force if you want further advice.
Remember: never neglect the basics.