What is a Muscle Up?

A muscle-up is an incredible upper body calisthenics exercise that makes you feel like an absolute powerhouse. At its simplest level, a muscle-up is an act of transferring your weight from a hanging position below a bar (or rings), to above a bar.

My name is Summerfunfitness. I am a self-taught calisthenics athlete with no gymnastics training

When I started posting my muscle-up journey in Dec 2021, I realized how difficult sharing learning a new skill on social media could be.

crow pose, single leg crow pose

I’d receive comments for every post and story stating that I wasn’t doing a real muscle-up…

“What even is that?”
“This is a kip up not a muscle-up”
“Not a single muscle up was executed nor counted on this day” (in reference to this post)
“She’s not really doing muscle-ups.”

dynamic muscle up progression

At this point, I had to make a choice. I could stop sharing my journey of learning how to muscle up, or I could step up and be a voice in the community.

I want to open up space for people to feel confident sharing their learning process, not shamed for being a calisthenics beginner… 

To learn how to muscle-up, I had to use a regressed or “easier” variation of the main skill. In my case, I used a knee drive muscle-up paired with a muscle-up-specific workout to build up my strength for a strict muscle-up. 

Using a regressed version of an exercise DOES NOT make it any less valid.

  • A 5# bicep curl is still a bicep curl
  • Knee push-ups are still push-ups
  • A banana-shaped handstand is still a handstand
dynamic muscle up progression

There are many muscle-up variations; some require more technique, others flexibility, and others brute strength. Each variation comes with its own purpose and challenges.  

strict gymnastics ring muscle up

What is a Strict Muscle-Up?

Over time, my goal is to achieve a dynamic strict muscle-up like female calisthenics athletes Malin Malle Jansson and EjayInk.

One day I will achieve a strict muscle-up. And you can do it too!

Remember, the goal isn’t to be the best or perfect. Its to learn continuously.

We should, in fact, F*cking CELEBRATE learning.

So I’ll keep sharing my “imperfect” muscle-up progress while educating the commenters on what learning a new skill looks like.

If you need support on your muscle-up journey, visit: “How to Get a Muscle-Up,” “How I Learned How to Muscle-Up in 3 Months,” or do these “7 Drills to Warm up for Muscle-Ups.”

girl doing muscle ups

It’s time to stop asking “how to get a muscle-up” and start working towards building the strength and coordination needed with this free muscle-up workout routine.

girl does strict bar muscle-ups

Here’s how I taught myself how to bar muscle-up in just a few months and what you need to do to achieve yours.

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