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Did 15.3 Catch You Off Guard???


Did 15.3 Catch You Off Guard???

You bet it did!…and you are in good company! Can you conquer the ever challenging Muscle-up??…Absolutely!—if, first and foremost, you understand the reasons behind why you don’t have muscle ups to begin with.

Here are several:

  • Not Strong Enough with Upper Pulling. Plain and simple, strict strength is needed for the initial pull. How do you attain this? An athlete must ‘have’ the ability to do multiple (not 1) pull-ups, weighted pull-ups, and even strict chest to bar pull ups.
  • Dips. Like pull-ups (strict), many folks’ triceps and bodyweight dips are not strong enough to ‘push out’ of the dip. While a person may be able to get over the rings and ‘figure something out’ at the top, in order to complete multiple reps in the air, an athlete must have the ability and strength to hit multiple ring dips.
  • Scapular strength. In the fitness realm, there’s often a lot of talk about scapular mobility and stability—but straight up scapular strength is necessary for muscle-ups. Scap strength allows the athlete to finish the pull for that last drive through the rings.
  • Poor mobility. It may seem like beating a dead horse, but mobility is crucial for any movement—especially muscle-ups. Lack of lat, pectoralis or deltoid mobility can tire or irritate somebody’s shoulders but in the context of this article that lack of mobility will keep them from actually hitting that muscle up because they may not be able to get their elbows back far enough to find a stable position over the rings (this is especially true for people who don’t generate enough power to catch themselves ‘high’ on the rings).
  • All in the wrist. False grip is not a new concept. However, if an athlete has a lack of forearm and/or wrist strength, as well as flexibility, he or she is going to struggle to maintain a false grip, specifically for strict reps.
  • Too heavy. This point may seem all too obvious, but a heavy load for a bodyweight movement, like muscle-ups, makes this movement extremely challenging. While one’s own strength to bodyweight ratio can get them pretty far, if you are carrying a great deal of extra weight it will be difficult to get over the rings., it’s tough to make up for it (specifically strict strength-wise).


Upper body pulling/pushing strength is often neglected because it’s just not very sexy or cool to work on. It’s very humbling to find out just how weak you are in certain movements, and the fix is usually quite simple but takes more time and consistency than most of us are willing to put forth.

Learning to kip is much cooler and has yielded many of us our first pull-up and for some their first muscle-up in 15.3, I get it…but, If you ever have intentions on improving on either a pull-up, dip, or muscle-up, sooner or later you are going to have to address the lack of strength that most of us suffer from. Addressing these strength imbalances can provide the success your looking for and keep you injury free as opposed to flinging yourself up and over a bar or ring.