Muscle Up Madness

Open participants have until 5pm today to register and input their results from WOD 14.4.

Weekly Programming Links:  Group ClassVenice Barbell ClubTrack Night

Monday, March 24, 2014


Theraband Routine
Keg Drill
PVC Dislocates
Monster Walks


10 Overhead Wall Squats with PVC
Perform unbroken with PVC, or any weight barbell:
10 Good Mornings
10 BTN Snatch Grip Press
10 Overhead Squats
Then 5 reps each unbroken of:
Snatch Balance
Snatch High Pull
Snatch from Position 1
Snatch from Position 2
Snatch from Position 3

Classic Strength

Power Snatch + Overhead Squat- 15 minutes to find a max for the complex

Notes: Prioritize good overhead position and squat to a depth you can maintain this position.

Advanced Strength

Snatch High Pull + Snatch – 15 minutes to find a max for the complex

Notes: Use the high pull as a primer for a perfect pull and extension on the full snatch. The bar should remain close to you body the entire lift.


7 Rounds for time:
15 Wall Balls (20/14#)
10 Target Burpees (6 inches above max reach)
-15 minute cap-

Cool Down

Couch Stretch, 1 min
Samson Stretch, 1 min
Pigeon Stretch, 1 min
Keg Drill, 1 min


Friday’s 14.4 Open WOD is amazing and beautifully programmed.  The 14 min AMRAP is not too long, not too short.  It tests classic Crossfit movements (rower, toes to bar, wall ball shots, and power cleans), but again at weights and reps that are not too long and not too short (60 cal, 50 reps, 40 reps, and 30 reps).  If any of the movements and weights were challenging for you, then the workout became a battle to power through that particular set.  But if you were competent at all the movements and weights, there there might have been 2 minutes to 30 seconds left over at the end to attempt as many reps as possible of the dreaded Muscle Up!  No matter who you are or what ability level, the last minute of that workout became a test of your technique and efficiency when fatigued.  Watching everyone at Friday Night Lights battle through the last 60 seconds was awesome!

For me, the funnest part was watching people attempt muscle ups in the final seconds.  It was immediately apparent that performing a muscle up under fatigue is difficult, and drastically different than doing one in warm up or cool down when you are fresh.  A lot of people in the gym have completing a muscle up as one of their long term goals.  While we have a ton of great drills to work on the technique (and I think you should be working on technique even if you do not have your MU yet), I believe a lot of people are putting the cart before the horse by neglecting the amount of upper body pulling strength necessary to actually execute a muscle up.  For me, the order of progression for pulling strength goes as follows:

Ring Row, Kipping Pullup, Strict Pullup, Kipping Chest to Bar Pullup, Strict Chest to Bar Pullup, Legless Rope Climb, Muscle Up, Bar Muscle Up, Strict Muscle Up.  

The exact order of difficulty of pulling movements is debatable, but the point is that the above list is a good reference point to determine where you are currently and where you have to go next on the long road to muscle up land.  For most people the first step will be getting their first Strict Pullup.  Two months ago Diso posted our official “How To” guide for Strict Pullups for the EIE competitors, and it is copied below for you to review again.  Even though the Muscle Up is an advanced movement, the advice to take a step back to work on strength and quality range of motion always applies. For some of you the journey might be working on building strict pulling strength, and the destination will be your first Pullup, Muscle Up, etc.  Enjoy!

Perform one of the following exercises 3-5 days per week.   You may perform this before or after your workout or even on a rest days.  Remember, more is not always better.  Adjust your volume as needed based on what we are doing in class and level of soreness.  Always make sure you are properly warmed up before your sessions!

Vary your grip.  Hands shoulder width apart with palms away is the standard position we are training, but chin-up (palms toward you), wide grip, narrow grip or any combination of these (eg, narrow chin-up) are all variation you should train.  You may also perform these movements as a challenging ring row for additional variance or if you do not have a spotter available.   Perform the same grip for all sets and reps on any given day.

Prioritize quality over quantity and be honest with yourself.  Be sure to develop strength through the full Range of Motion.  This means making sure your chin makes it over the bar at the top and you do not swing or drop in that bottom inch for every rep.  Over the course of weeks you will increase your reps/sets and decrease your rest time between sets.

Ideally use a spotter instead of a band.  The spotter can help just as much as needed to get through the reps and sets.  Typically this will involve someone spotting by holding at the waist.   If the athlete needs more help and the waist is too challenging to allow for perfect form, try having the athlete bend their knees and cross their feet behind them.  The spotter holds the feet and the athlete can press through their legs to help out.  If this is still too challenging, the athlete should perform ring rows for a while until they are strong enough to work on the high bar.  For all variations be sure to prioritize maintaining a tight midline!

Exercise #1:  The Negative

-Start with your chin over the bar, hold for a full second, then lower yourself slowly to the bottom.  From the bottom you can jump back up to the top for the next rep.
-Perform 3-5 sets of 5 reps with a 60-90sec rest between sets.  Start with a 3 second negative and work up to a 7 second lowering time per rep.

NOTES:  Remember to vary your grip.  Do not perform more reps/sets than you can maintain quality.  Remember every rep you need to start with your chin over the bar and control the entire movement, including those bottom couple inches!  Use a spotter as needed.

Exercise #2:  Assisted Strict Pullup

-Be sure to start with your arms fully extended, body in hollow position and feet off the floor.  To perform each rep, you must initiate the pullup without any swing, get your chin over the bar and then control the whole way down.
-Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps with a 60-90sec rest between sets.

NOTES:  Remember to pick one grip and stick with it for all reps/sets.  Do not perform more reps/sets than you can maintain quality.  Every rep must start with your arms fully extended and control the entire movement up and down.  Review the spotter variations as needed.

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