Bar Muscle-Up Progressions

Common Bar Muscle-Up Progressions for CrossFit

The Bar Muscle-Up (BMU) is a performed differently than a pull-up.

The pull-up is performed with a vertical movement, up and down, where the bar muscle-up is performed with momentum moving forwards and backwards; with the backwards movement snapping back hard enough to throw the body over the bar.

Common CrossFit Gymnastics Progressions to Get Your First Bar Muscle Up

To master the bar muscle-up, one must first master:

  • the hollow body position on the floor and while hanging
  • the tight arch position on the floor and while hanging

Then progress into moving on the bar with the following:

  • the swing, starting behind the bar (to create a horizontal movement),
  • jumping to a hollow position,
  • pushing the heels behind you once reaching the end of the swing, and
  • snapping back into a hollow when swing backwards again.

Just remember to hit that “ninja position.” If done properly, the athlete can practice this drill with straight arms and be able to get their head higher than the bar.

Putting Bar Muscle Up Drills to Practice

Most athletes begin their transition too early and can’t bring their torso in the bar, this results in the “chicken wing.”

To practice the transition properly, the athlete can pull a banded PVC from above to their chest (see video below), and practice shifting their elbows and wrists over over the bar.

This transition drill, combined with the straight arm swing (with the head over the bar on the back swing), will create the patience and timing needed to master the bar muscle-up!

Learn More Bar Muscle-Up Progressions at Salus in Middletown NJ

Want more individualized gymnastics drills? We know you do!

Reach out to to learn more about private coaching to practice those bar muscle ups and other challenging exercises like toes to bar, kipping pullups, and butterfly pullups.