Learning the Kipping Muscle-Up: The Complete Lead-Up Exercise Series

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch

The Muscle-Up is a staple exercise in advanced bodyweight training

In the realm of bodyweight training, being able to perform a Muscle Up is like a badge of honor. And rightfully so: there are few exercises that require so much strength, power and skill. Learning the Muscle-Up is a serious challenge, so we’ve broken it down into a four-part series of lead-up exercises, which we’ve been posting over the past month. Now we’ve reached the final installment which completes the series – the full Kipping Muscle Up. If you’ve been following along with the first three video installments, you should be ready to put it all together. And if you missed the first three videos, we’ve made it easy for you by combining everything into one comprehensive video that includes all three Lead-Up Exercises and then the full Kipping Muscle-Up itself.

Mastering the Kipping Muscle-Up: The Complete Series of Lead-Up Exercises

(Note that if you prefer to watch just the final installment on the Kipping Muscle-Up as a stand-alone video, we provide that option at the bottom of this post).

The Many Benefits of Muscle-Ups

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch

Strength, Power, Endurance, and Skill!

Like most bodyweight training enthusiasts, I love the Muscle Up for many reasons. In addition to is impressive combination of overall strength, power and skill, it is a perfect example of a Push and Pull Combo exercise that involves an incredible amount of trunk strength. After performing just a few reps, you’ll notice there are few muscles that didn’t play some sort of role in getting up and over that bar.

I also have to mention the psychological aspect of performing this exercise. It can be a daunting feeling when you are first hanging from that bar, knowing that it’s about to take everything you’ve got to over come this obstacle. It’s like a metaphor for conquering any goal, whether it be in exercise or in life. But once you do get that first one, you’ll never forget that feeling, and who knows, it may actually give you the courage to attacking other obstacles in your life!

The Muscle-Up Components and Lead-Up Exercises

I’ve divided the Muscle Up into three component phases:

  • 1) The Kip-The initial movement that begins the momentum
  • 2) The Flip and Kick-The second explosive movement used to get the elbows above the bar
  • 3) The Push-Out-The final phase, moving from the low dip position to the lock out

And in order to strengthen each phase I’ve put together three exercises that are specific to improving your performance in that area. These are what I teach as the Lead-Up Exercises in the video:


The Kipping Pull Up

1) The Kipping Pull-Up (for the kip)

(Read the full article on this exercise HERE)


The Jumping Muscle-Up

2) The Jumping Muscle Up (for the flip and kick)

(Read the full article on this exercise HERE)


Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch

The Muscle-Up Dip

3) The Muscle Up Dip (for the push-out)

(Read the full article on this exercise HERE)



These three exercises are not only perfect for learning the Muscle-Up, but they are incredible exercises all on their own. We use them in the GBT System to achieve a variety of results. For example, the Kipping Pull-Up is a super effective power pulling exercise. The Jumping Muscle-Up is considered a power endurance exercise for your squat, pull and push patterns. The Muscle-Up Dip is a killer strength push pattern exercise. One of the foundations of the GBT system is learning skills or exercises that unlock your ability to perform more advanced exercises later on. So, becoming proficient in each of these exercises on its own not only helps you with that specific movement, but also makes it that much easier to put them together to perform the Kipping Muscle-Up.

The Kipping Muscle-Up – Stand-Alone Video (Part 4 of the Series)

The video at the top of this page presents the entire series of Lead-Up Exercises and Kipping Muscle-Up. If you’d like to watch just the section on the Kipping Muscle Up, here it is below:


About Mike Fitch

13 Responses to “Learning the Kipping Muscle-Up: The Complete Lead-Up Exercise Series”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Matt Pack says:

    Check out this Animal Flow challenge using a deck of cards:

    Spades- walkouts with a pushup
    Diamonds- split jump lunges
    Clubs- under switches w/kick through
    Hearts- crab w/alternating reaches

    Shuffle, cut and run em’!!

    This is just ONE variation, I’ve programmed similar circuits such as this using straight reps, time or ladder variations. The great thing about utilizing animal flow in a circuit such as this is the shear amount of health qualities involved into ONE training session. Why would you waste time separating strength, cardio, prehab and restoration sessions when you can do them all at one time?

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for this video series Mike!

    The muscle up is one of my goals for next summer when I hit the playgrounds again. This is going to make things so much simpler!

  3. Tony says:

    Mike, how many continuous reps of each of the 3 lead up exercises (jumping MU, MU dips, and kipping pull up) should a person strive for before attempting the full kipping muscle up? 5? 10? More?

    Just looking for some general numbers as to where a person should be in the various phases before attempting the grand-daddy of them all. Thx and great videos. Just started my quest for the straight bar muscle up. -T

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Hey Tony, great question. I usually let form dictate reps. So if i’m practicing an explosive movement (like the kip or jumping muscle up), I stop as soon as form breaks down or speed begins to deteriorate. I would suggest practicing each of the moves and becoming very comfortable with all three. Once you get to that point and have warmed up using all three moves but without reaching a point of fatigue, I usually start by performing a jumping muscle up, then at the top, mentally prepare yourself for the full muscle up, take a deep breath and go for it. Visualization is a major part of getting your first muscle up, so see your self nailing it before your first attempt.

  4. Tony says:

    Thanks for the wisdom and reply, Mike. Makes perfect sense. I’ll keep those things in mind as I strive toward my first muscle up. Absolutely great videos. So much better than static pictures or narrative descriptions. This seems especially true for the muscle up as it’s an explosive movement with more than a few components. -T

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Hey Tony, thanks for the positive feedback. The kipping muscle up is such a high skill and neurological demanding exercise that it helps to break into smaller phases then integrate them together. As you get more proficient at the kipping version, you can make it more challenging by minimizing the leg involvement and use less kip. The slow muscle up is an incredible feat of strength.

  5. Kevin Lawson says:

    Hi Mike, came across your web site last week on youtube , me and the guys at work (fire fighters) decided to try and learn how to do a muscle up, no joy at all until we stumbled on to Global Bodyweight Training, after watching the tutorial i am glad (proud) to say that five days later i now can do them , not bad for a 43 year old who last month could only manage 5 pull ups . loving the all bodyweight training system and how my body is toning up , feel like i am back in my 20s again cheers Kevin
    ps could you recommend some decent gloves, my hands are shredded.

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Kevin that’s awesome! Congrats my man! I’m going to post your comment on the GBT fan page. I would recommend just picking up a pair of genuine leather baseball batting gloves. They still allow you to rotate around the bar without sticking and protect your hands. Keep me updated on your progress!

  6. Jake Lawrance says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial, clear and precise, just what we needed! I have been in love with bodyweight stuff but could never find a sight dedicated to it, then I found this somehow! This tutorial helped me massively, I could barely do a muscle up, but with the info provided, I performed 2 consecutive muscle ups on the rings before my false grip failed (either though it’s a tad different from the bar), the video taught me how to co ordinate the move properly :) feels good to be 16 and ramping up my bodyweight strength, many thanks and much respect! :)

    • Mike Fitch says:

      Hey Jake, so glad you found the site and were able to incorporate the tips for your progress! Feel free to post a video of your muscle up on our facebook fan page facebook.com/globalbodyweighttraining
      Keep up the good work my friend!

  7. Wilson says:

    Man, good thing I found your video on youtube. It really helped a lot. You nailed it when you said: “once you get through your first muscle up, you’ll never forget the feeling.” I just did my first one about an hour ago. Thanks for the help and more power!

    Wilson
    Philippines

  8. CrossFit Kid says:

    Hey Mike,
    This is by the far the best tutorial I’ve seen on how to do bar muscle ups. The explanations and progression breakdowns are first rate. Great job. Believe it or not I am working backward here..I can do a strict ring and strict bar muscle up. I can even do a glide kip like an Olympian. but can’t do the kipping versions of bar and ring muscle ups! Its frustrating! Its the kip part–it doesn’t feel natural. I don’t know if I should be kicking up, out or down. The other two progressions are easy for me…the kip on the other hand…

    Anyway, excellent work on these videos. I am 50 by the way and it feels great to do all this stuff. Even though I get sore a bit sometimes.

    Take care.
    CFK

Leave A Comment...

*