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Teaching the Muscle-Up to a Large Group: Part 1 by Pat Sherwood - CrossFit Journal
Video Article

The muscle-up doesn’t have to be some mystical beast tamable only by the elite. Anyone can learn and perform muscle-ups using progressions and scaling. In this video series, learn how HQ trainer Pat Sherwood coaches his athletes through the gymnastics movement.

In Part 1, Sherwood takes it from the top, starting with a demo from one of the athletes who can perform a dead-hang muscle-up. Then he breaks it down: “There’s nothing more than a couple of pull-ups and a couple of dips and some technique in the middle.”

The first progression is a ring dip with a spotter to see proficiency. From here, Sherwood says he is able to separate the group into those who will ultimately get to the high rings and those who need to practice more on the low rings.

The second progression is learning the pull-up portion of the movement. First, he teaches the false grip. Once the athletes understand the grip, he makes the distinction that the pull-up for the muscle-up is “a much deeper pull down to the sternum.” He emphasizes that you need to get your body higher than it is even in a chest-to-bar pull-up. Finally, he drills the tight “inside-elbow” position.

To teach the muscle-up successfully, coaches need to take precautions to avoid injuring athletes attempting this shoulder-intensive movement for the first time.

“I don’t want to add velocity to something I can’t do slowly,” Sherwood says.

8min 29sec

Additional reading: The Moves by Greg Glassman, published April 1, 2004.

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16 Comments on “Teaching the Muscle-Up to a Large Group: Part 1”


wrote …

Pat Sherwood is the MAN!



wrote …

Great video Pat! I'm diggin it. I just purchased my first set of rings last weekend at the CFE expo. Which was awesome by the way! I look forward to part 2!


wrote …

Pat Sherwood coaches using Jedi mind tricks.


EC S wrote …



wrote …

good to see the Sherwood again, feels like ages since he's been on the journal. good stuff, thanx Pat.


wrote …



wrote …

Awesome work Pat! Truly professional.


Michael Bissaillon wrote …

Love the tippy toe progression to the ring supports! Thanks.


wrote …

When is the second video coming out?


wrote …

Great Video Pat, love watching you on the journal but what happened to all the zone chronicles? ive watched everyone and am hanging out for more.

But overall your a champion and love your videos, always informative


wrote …

Freakin Awesomeness!


wrote …

What's up, bro? Enjoy seeing the different vids you're doing.


wrote …

pat sherwood is the bomB!


Daniel Schmieding wrote …

Strict (stable) before kipping...
Spotted supports...
False grip...
Narrow chins...
... That was fantastic, Pat. Great job, and the most concise muscle-up coaching video I've seen.


wrote …

Where is the rest of the video?


wrote …

nice job Pat, and you too are special and wonderful in God's eyes as well.

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