By: Jenessa Connor

We all know that more complicated skills and gymnastic movements take a little extra work. In other words, if you only practice muscle-ups on the days they’re programmed, you probably won’t become very proficient at them. But that doesn’t mean you need to devote hours upon hours of your week to endless drills. In fact, those 10 minutes before and after a WOD can go a long way when used efficiently.

The following 30-day plan will help you get closer to getting your first muscle-up. Perform these drills three times a week, making sure to alternate work days with rest days. If the rep scheme is too challenging, scale back and work your way up gradually. But, under no circumstances should you attempt a full muscle-up during your 30 days of practice. For a full demonstration of the whole progression, check out Outlaw Way’s video tutorial.

Weeks 1&2

3 Sets of 10 Hollow Arch Swings – Using a false grip, swing back and forth between a hollow body and arched position. Maintain pointed toes, straight elbows and full-body tension throughout the entire set.


3 Sets of 10 Hanging Hip Extensions – With a false grip, straight arms, straight legs and the heels positioned on a box, start sitting on the ground in a V position. As you press the heels into the box, drive the hips upward until they are fully extended.
3 Sets of 10 Banded Seated Muscle-Ups – Position the rings so that you can straighten the arms without sitting on the floor. Loop a medium-sized band through the rings and under your butt. Using a false grip, slowly pull upward. When the shoulders reach the rings, quickly turn the wrists, keeping the elbows tucked in. Then, press up.


Weeks 3&4
  • 3 Sets of 10 Hollow Arch Swings – Continue to point the toes, keep the body active and the arms straight, but work on pulling apart the rings slightly during the arch portion of the swing.
  •  3 Sets of 10 Hanging Hip Extensions – Again, maintain straight arms and legs as you press the heels into the box and drive the hips upward.
  • 3 Sets of 10 Banded Seated Muscle-Ups – Keep the same set-up and motion, but reduce the size of the band to increase the difficulty of the drill.

(Photo credit: Outlaw Way)

4 replies
  1. http://www./
    http://www./ says:

    Another good blog, John. Have fun in Rome, and when you get back, let’s meet for lunch somewhere between Corvallis and Portland; I’d love to have you as an online guest speaker in one of my classes.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *