Muscle-Up Virtuosity: Part 2

By Laurie Galassi

In CrossFit, Gymnastics/Tumbling, Reference, Videos

February 26, 2012

Video Article

CrossFit Santa Cruz’s Laurie Galassi is a gymnast and CrossFit coach. In this instructional video, she breaks down that most challenging CrossFit movement: the muscle-up.

After dealing with body shaping and grip in Part 1, Galassi addresses the place where everything usually goes awry: the transition.

Working from a position lying under the rings, Galassi demonstrates the transition by pulling while keeping her legs out front as she pushes the chest through and keeps the rings close to her body. Also important is a grip that allows the rings to move a little bit as you transition from a position below the rings to the bottom of a dip on top of the rings.

To help athletes feel the positions, Galassi introduces the “dream machine”—a harness that reduces the load and allows the athlete to move more easily.

Ultimately, there is a strength requirement for a muscle-up, and you have to drill the positions over and over again.

“Do a whole bunch. Then do a whole bunch more,” Galassi says.

13min 57sec

Additional reading: The Muscle-Up by Greg Glassman, published Nov. 1, 2002.

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15 Comments on “Muscle-Up Virtuosity: Part 2”


wrote …

Great instruction and tips; would have been nice to see someone do a MU, but questioning whether or not some of those folks are even principally strong enough to do so.


wrote …

Another outstanding perspective by Laurie. HQ - please, have her do more videoes! Would love to hear her insights on HPU.

Thanks again!


wrote …

Can't wait to try all this tomorrow... I've been told that I'm strong enough to do a muscle up if I get the detail of the transition right. My goal by Saturday, to get a muscle-up :D


wrote …

Finally got the muscle up. Thanks for the tipos Laurie.


replied to comment from Jackson Yee

Jackson, check out the CFJ "Handstand Virtuosity" 3-parter.


wrote …

The hardest part of a muscle up: 90% of people trying don't have anywhere near the required strength.


wrote …

those with and without the strength to get a full muscle up would do well to learn from these awesome vids and work the drills from the floor up. thanks for the great tips, they will go to good use!


wrote …

Great video... I am still looking for more information on how to maintain the false-grip / string multiple MUs together!!

Thanks so!


wrote …

Thank you for another great video! Where can I buy one of those belts you were wearing? They seem to have helped quite a bit.
Thanks again!


wrote …

That was great. I was able to use this to complete "Amanda" in CFE. Started with the Jump MU's but feel like I have a great base to start from. Thank you!!!!


wrote …

I like how you taught that whole progression from the floor up to hanging. I also thought that it was timely coming around the same time as Kelly Starrett's video on shoulder rotation specifically how it applies to the dip mechanics when he used the muscle up as an example. The key point he was teaching was turning the hands out and unloading the shoulder at '11 & 1'. I didn't see this point being made in this video or was that not the purpose? Was it just to teach the basic movement and the details later?

I'm taught that you practice good habits from the beginning. So if you are teaching the muscle up but everyone is internally rotated, that gets locked into their mechanics. Then when it comes time to do something like 'Amanda', they'll struggle more on the muscle up because the snatch did them in because they haven't learned to unload the shoulder.

I'll try the transition work on my own using what you taught. It really made a lot of sense.


wrote …

I'm also interested in the spotting belt. Where do you buy something like that? Also, is that what it is called and do I need anything else with it?


wrote …

Norbert's Athletic Products, and several other online companies offer "gymnastics spotting belts." We have set this spotting system up with and without carabiners, and both versions work. The webbing on a set of rings designed to be hung over a pull-up bar and a spotting belt are sufficient supplies to set up a pulley system for muscle-ups. Please remind your athletes that they are holding their own weight, so they need to hang onto the rings (even after reminding them, set this one up close to the ground).


wrote …

Do you have any advise for maintaining the false grip? I am fine during drills, but the second I hang from the rings, or if I try to kip, I drop to a standard pull-up grip. Is it flexibility, forearm strength, or just practice?


wrote …

Lisa, the simple answer to your question is yes. Flexibility, strength and exposure all factor into maintaining a false grip. Work on low rings starting at the top of your dip hang on tightly as you lower yourself to a hang (likely in a stoop or squat) under the rings. This will give you an accurate idea of your ideal starting position-- i.e. the false grip allows you to successfully land in the bottom of your dip without shifting your hands. Make sure you're practicing this exact grip. Give it time, and keep practicing.

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