THE BAR MUSCLE-UP CLASS
Kati's Coaching Notes
- Goal of Gymnastic Technique
- Glide Kip vs. Muscle-up
- How To: Step By Step Muscle-Up
- Timing: “When do I do ___?”
- Common Faults
- Hip Extension: How To Produce Power
- Hips to Bar: Overview
- Hips to Bar Drills
- Transition: Overview
- Transition: Drills
- 1:00 Active Hang
- 5+ Unbroken Strict Pull-Ups
- 5+ Strict Toes to Bar
- 5+ Kipping Pull-Ups
The Goal of Gymnastics Skills
- Simply put, gymnasts perform skills as easily, and efficiently as possible to achieve a goal
- Yes, gymnastics involves being judged on execution and how well gymnasts can perform skills, but the foundation of skill integrity and efficiency stays the same — Gymnasts do not make skills harder than they need to be! When you’re doing a minute long routine, jam-packed with skills that require your utmost attention and precision in order to remain safe, I guarantee you’re going to choose a skill technique based on how easily, and well you can get it done.
- Knowing that gymnasts “pioneer” the techniques for these functional gymnastics skills, tells us that we need to first learn how the skill as intended to be done, then tailor it to fit the parameters of functional fitness, or whichever sport you choose.
- AKA: First, learn how to get on top of the bar using a glide swing and gymnastics technique, then we can tailor your movement pattern to fit the parameters of functional fitness (keeping toes below the bar).
Glide Kip vs. Muscle-Up
Foundational skill in gymnastics performed on the Uneven Bars
The first movement gymnasts perform when mounting the event
Legs stray straight and toes come back the bar in a piked position
Requires strength, but relies heavily on momentum and timing
Specific to functional fitness
Think of the muscle-up as a “scaled back” glide kip
Toes remain below the bar, per standard
Requires more strength
Step By Step
- Start standing about a foot behind your bar
- Jump to the bar and catch in a piked position, with hips back and toes forward
- Hands will be outside hip width apart
- As you swing forward, open into an arched position as you pass under the bar
- Push your chest and armpits forward into your arch, being patient and reaching the full range of motion
- Once you feel gravity pulling you backwards, aggressively drive your knees up to the ceiling
- Right after driving the knees up, powerfully squeeze your butt to achieve full hip extension
- As this point, your arms will be straight, pressing down on the bar to engage the lats
- Your body will be in a relatively straight position (super tight!) rising towards the bar
- Once you reach the top of your rise, keep your butt squeezed and sit-up with your torso
- Hands, wursts, and elbows shift simultaneously to help transition and land in a front support
- Once your hands shift, immediately start pressing down on the bar, creating a strong base
- Finish in a tall front support
Timing: “When do I ___?”
- Timing is everything! We have to hit certain positions at the exact moment in order to produce maximum power and be able to transition — You must move incredibly powerfully, and fast to land a bar muscle-up!
- Think of the first half (the jump to the bar and swing forward) as a patient, fluid motion
- Once you start swinging backwards (out of your forward, arched position) the “knees up” and “butt squeeze” steps happen as fast as possible — One immediately after the other — You have to do both of these steps while your body is still on the front side of the bar!
- Once you drive your knees and squeeze your butt, you’ve created your vertical path — Pair it with the horizontal (backwards) path that gravity is pulling you down, and you will land your hips to bar directly under the bar!
- So, if you find yourself flying backwards when attempting to transition, you’ll know that your “steps” are happening too late, and you need to hit them earlier, while your body is still in front of the bar
- Prerequisites are in place for a reason. To make sure you are physically and mentally capable of training the bar muscle-up safely. If you know you have glaring weaknesses or limitations, you must not start this training.
No Hip Extension:
- Are your hips getting fully to the bar? Do you know how to squeeze your butt? If not, you’re bar muscle-up is probably more strict and muscular dominated (aka, much harder than it needs to be!)
Pulling / Transitioning Too Early:
- If you go into survival mode and pull your transition too early, all you’re doing it freaking yourself out, cutting off the power from your hip extension, and putting your ribs at serious risk for bad bruises. Be patient on your transition!
- Maybe you’re just too scared? Instead of trying the full bar muscle-up and failing each time, take a step back and drill the basics and progressions to build confidence.
How can we address these common faults?
- By reinforcing and strengthening hip extension with drills
Hip Extension: How To Produce Power
- We produce power the same way in all our skills — Through squeezing our butt and achieving hip extension
- Use the kettlebell swing as an example: In order to get the bell overhead as easily as possible, you hinge your hips backwards, allow your chest to come slightly down (closing your hip angle), then aggressively squeeze your butt and use the force to swing your weight vertically. If you’re slow to squeeze your butt, or you don’t squeeze it enough, that kettlebell is not going anywhere! You must squeeze hard, fast, and powerfully, just like what we have to do in the “hips to bar” portion of the muscle-up!
- We drive our knees up (closing our hip angle and compacting our body position) so we can squeeze our butt, produce power, and send our hips fully to the bar
Hips to Bar: Overview
- The first half of the bar muscle-up
- The goal: to get the body as close to the bar as possible before the transition, so when the athlete does transition, the sit-up is minimal and can be done quickly and easily
- The hips to bar is the foundation of the muscle-up, and sets the athlete up for success, or failure
Hips to Bar: Drills
- High Box Hips to Bar
- Evolving Hips to Bar
- The second half of the bar muscle-up
- Similar to a GHD sit-up — Legs must not drop!
- When you transition, you must keep your butt and legs squeezed, so keep your body as close to the bar as possible — If you allow them to relax, they become dead weight because your power is cut off, which means gravity will pull you back down to the floor, making it far too challenging to land your transition
- Once your body hits any height, it must not fall below that height again — We always move vertically by staying tight!
- Jumping Transition
- Low Box Transition
- High Box Muscle-Up
Class Movement Demos
Bar Muscle-Up Step By Step
Step 1: Jump to the Bar
Step 2: Swing Forward to Arch
Step 3: Drive Knees Up
Step 4: Hip Extension (Hips to Bar)
Step 5: Transition
Hips to Bar Drills
Drill 1: Low Box Hips to Bar
Drill 2: High Box Hips to Bar
Drill 3: Hips to Bar
Drill 1: Jumping Transition
Drill 2: Low Box Transition
Drill 3: High Box Muscle-Up
Video Movement Tips
NEW — Class Snips
You Bar Muscle-Up class edited into smaller clips that cover each of our specific topics.
"The Gymnastics Bar"
"The Goal of Gymnastics Skills"
"Glide Kip vs. Muscle-Up"
"How To: Step By Step"
"Timing: “When do I ___?”
"Hip Extension: How To Produce Power"
"Hip Extension Drill: Low Box"
"Hip Extension Drill: High Box"
"Hip Extension Drill: Evolving Hips to Bar"
"Should I Keep My Arms Straight?"
"Stay Tight in the Transition!"
"Pull the Elbows to Help Shift"
"Transition Drill: Jumping Turnover"
"Transition Drill: Low Box"
"Transition Drill: High Box Muscle-Up"
0:90 Quick Tips
"WHY USE A GLIDE SWING?"
"LEARNING THE HIPS TO BAR"
"IMPORTANCE OF THE HIPS TO BAR"
"STEP BY STEP DRILLS"
"HIPS TO BAR POSITION"
"LEARNING TO CONNECT REPS"
"GLIDE KIP VS. MUSCLE-UP"
Check These Out
1. 4-WEEK TRAINING PLAN + DRILLS
Our 4-week training program includes two tracks for both beginner and advanced athletes, a full skill explanation, Kati's coaching Quick Tips, and recommended exercises to help supplement your training.
All training programs live under the "Skill Programs" tab in the navigation menu.
2. SKILL SPECIFIC WARM-UPS
If you need help warming-up for your gymnastic session, we've got skill specific plans you can follow to best prepare your body.
All warm-ups live under the "Workouts" tab in the navigation menu.