In the functional fitness space, the Muscle-Up has become a sought after movement to progress for many individuals. The problem for most coaches is knowing how to progress the advanced skill in proper phases of training to ensure maximal expression is achieved. This article will explain how to use phases to progress the Muscle-Up effectively and safely.
A Muscle-Up is a combination of a radial pull-up into a dip that results in a fully supported position over a set of rings or pull-up bar.
The movement begins with a hold in the overhand pull-up position. From here the body is pulled by the arms in an explosive manner, and once the chest clears the bar or ring base the wrists are flexed bringing the forearms over the body at a vertical angle. The movement is complete once the arms are fully locked out and the bar or rings sit at the waist level.
(Should your clients do muscle ups? Learn how to assess their abilities in this free course.)
This movement targets multiple muscle groupings in the back, shoulders, and arms. The primary pulling power comes from a combination of the latissimus dorsi and biceps. Once the pull mechanic is completed, the triceps and pectoralis major and minor provide the primary pushing power of the final dip motion.
A proper base phase will develop mechanical habits and consistency of rhythm. This is done through accumulating volume and building repetitions in non-fatigue settings. Over time, accompany the Muscle-Up with easy metabolic work. Use the structure of this phase to consistently assess limitations and fix mechanical deficiencies.
1 Muscle-Up x 10; rest until fully recovered
Once the skill is has been developed and mechanical efficiency is achieved, add in metabolic components at a low intensity for slight fatigue exposure
In terms of rhythm and training in the base phase, volume simply means work and a lot of it. This phase will develop the skill and abilities, and improve the overall capacity of an individual. The frequency in volume will build the proper foundation and rhythm needed in further progression.
Keep in mind that the transitioning between phases is a slow process. The base phase does not end on Friday and on that following Monday, a tough phase begins. Base phases end and tough phases begin when the Muscle-Up is developed through mechanical proficiency, sustainability, and repeatability.
The purpose of the tough phase is to give feedback on how well the base phase was performed. This phase will consist of introducing complementary and non-complementary movements while progressing metabolic intensity.
The last phase example is a key performance indicator (KPI).
A KPI is a test of quantifiable measurement used to gauge a client’s overall long-term performance.
The KPI below will identify two markers:
The accumulation of this phase will produce repeatable and sustainable intensive sessions. Tough phases should be extended out as long as required to complete volume with intensity and capacity. This phase will lead to observable levels of expression.
A proper deload phase allows for a full recovery following a tough phase. The combination of mechanical and metabolic stress acquired from the training requires rest in order to see compensation. Depending on the length of the base and tough phases, a deload phase can range from three to ten days. This is necessary for full recovery at the end of a specific focus plan or training. The goal here is not to have any losses in the Muscle-Up skill, but to allow the body and nervous system to fully recover from the continuous stress of training and adapt.
With the proper phases of training, you can assure that the maximal expression of the Muscle-Up will be achieved.
If you want to enhance your program design skills for any movement and remove writer’s block you need a solid foundation of principles. The best place to start? The Coach’s Toolkit, our free course on principle-based fitness coaching. Start learning today.