How to BOSS bar muscle ups

A sure fire way to improve your bar muscle ups

Bar muscle ups are a Crossfit Open staple, that often arrive in high reps. They can make or break an open workout.

Plus stringing them together effortlessly looks cool AF.

So they’re definitely worth putting the effort in to master.

Before your start

**First things first, this post is not a substitute for a coach and please be smart and don’t hurt yourself during these exercises. **

The bar muscle up is a high skilled gymnastic movement, so you’ll need to be strong enough to do strict pullups and be able to link together kipping pullups. If you can’t there’s a good chance you’ll blow up your shoulders trying to bar muscle up.

Each of the following tips build on each other, giving you the best chance to improve your bar muscle ups.

Tip 1


Set your shoulders

Bar muscle ups require a lot from your shoulders, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them to generate force. The best way to do that is make sure they are in a good position.

If you spend time working on a computer, using a smartphone or sitting for even moderate periods there’s a good chance your shoulders round forward. This leads to short tight pecs muscles, weak rotator cuffs and your shoulder not sitting in the socket properly.

This simple exercise can be used to set your shoulder capsule in a good position, work shoulder extension and internal rotation simultaneously.

This should help the shoulder move efficiently and activate supporting muscles for a strong and stable shoulder position.

We always like to focus on joint position first as this makes pretty much everything else a lot easier.

Tip 2


Boost Your Kipping

Once you’ve spent a few minutes resetting your shoulders, you can start to look at mobilising your upper back to help open your chest for the big kip required for bar muscle ups.

Our upper back gets stiff from daily inactivity, so we can begin to mobilise and activate the individual vertebrae as well as the supporting musculature and connective tissues to make sure it’s working effectively.

We’ll use a foam roller and a bench with a soft edge to work on thoracic flexion and extension to help your upper back generate a powerful kip to help you get over the bar.

Tip 3


Hang Around

Next we want to start to open the shoulders and start to prepare your forearms and lats for the progressions by loading your body weight through your upper body.

Simply jump up to a pull-up bar and dead hang for 30 seconds a couple of times.

Really focus on letting your lats lengthen and opening your shoulders.

⚠️A Word of Warning⚠️

This time of year is when Crossfitters are most likely to get injured

We get more emails asking for injury advice in the run up and during the CF open than any other time of year.

Most of these are avoidable overuse injuries such as:

  • Shoulder Impingements
  • Rotator Cuff Inflammation
  • Golfers Elbow
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Knee Tendinitis

We get it, everyone wants to put in their best Open performance.

So in the run up they train more often, train harder and start to work on more difficult exercises that they might not focus on the rest of the year (bar muscle ups anyone!?).

The great thing about the Open is you push yourself, the bad thing about the Open is you might do too much, repeat WODs and this can lead to overuse injuries.

Remember most of these are TOTALLY AVOIDABLE.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

In the run up to the Open more is NOT necessarily better.

BETTER IS BETTER.

When learning new skills only perfect practice makes perfect. So don’t flail around on the rig hoping to magically improve your bar muscle ups.

Mobilise correctly, warmup and activate properly and then work on being consistent with the progressions in the video below.


GLC2000 tub

Why Do People Get in Touch with us about injuries?

When you’re training hard your joint and connective tissue work just as hard as your muscles, but they’re often overlooked until there’s a problem.

Joint and connective injuries are the most common injuries & they take the longest to heal. Potentially having the negative effect on your progress.

Could you benefit from a joint health supplement?

We’ve got a library of customer reviews and testimonials talking about how they’ve used GLC2000 for Crossfit niggles and injuries.

In an ideal world you can look after your joint before niggles setting in. But if you’re already struggling we can help with that as well.

Bar Muscle Up Progressions

the main event

If you’ve skipped down to this part please take a look at the mobility tips at the top of the page so you super charge your progress by ensuring you’re prepared for these high skilled gymnastic moves.

We’ve looked at:

  • Joint Positioning – To make everything more efficient
  • Upper Back Mobilisation – For a BIG kip
  • Loading Your Bodyweight – Open shoulders, long lats & engaged forearms
  • Avoiding Injuries – Not getting injured during Open Season

Now take a look at these progressions to help you work towards your bart muscle ups:

Time to get serious about looking after your joints

Handstand Walk
My forearm no longer aches & the range of motion in my shoulder is as good as I can remember.
Scott C

Jules Carry
My inflamed shoulder felt so much better within 3 weeks
Jules S

Carl Front Squat
No more golfers elbow for me and it’s helped my wife’s shoulder
Carl C

Why GLC2000 Works

Unique Formulation

Pharmaceutical Grade Ingredients

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Sam Briggs Crossfit Games Champion 2013: I’ve been using GLC2000 since 2012, it makes a big difference for me.


Spencer Whiteley French Throwdown Masters (40-44) Champion 2018: Is GLC2000 worth the money? Yes, absolutely.


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