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Old 06-29-2010, 09:32 AM   #1
Carl Wilkinson
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6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

This is sort of a two part question. I am 6 foot tall, and currently weigh about 215 pounds. Its pretty much all muscle, I do have about 1/4 inch layer of fat over the abs, but that about it. I've been working out for about 8 years, and really trying to get the muscle up for the past few (both on the bar, and the rings), and just can't get it.

So part 1 of my question.
How often do you see guys of my height/weight actually doing muscle ups? Everyone I've seen in person do it has always been considerably shorter. I've watched many videos, trying to learn techniques, and although it is very difficult to tell someone's height/weight from a video, many of them just seem much shorter. I never really payed any attention to that, until I read this interesting gymnastics physics article that talked about how shorter people have a much higher strength to bodyweight ratio. It said that as strength increases, so does muscle volume, however the volume increases at a faster rate than the strength increases to lift that extra volume, so the stronger someone gets, the lower their strength to weight ratio becomes. They also used the example of an ant, which is considered extremely strong, can lift 20 times its own weight, etc. They said that if an ant was enlarged to the size of a human, keeping all its proportions identical, it wouldn't even be able to lift its own weight anymore. I also think back to about 8 years ago, before I started working out at the gym, I weighed around 160 pounds (and still had the little 1/4 inch over the abs), I found a place with some gymnastics rings and was able to do a muscle up around the second day. Over the next few visits to the place I was able to do a few muscle ups per day. However now after putting on much more muscle, and being much much stronger than I was back then, I am unable to even do one, after years of trying. I also could do more chin ups back when I was 160 pounds than I can now, despite much more strength.

Now part 2 of my question
Are there any tips you guys can give that might help me be able to get these muscle ups down? Weather it be tips on technique, conditioning, or whatever. I'm trying to learn on both the bar, and the rings. Preferrably rings since I have them at home, I have to go to a park for the bar (unless I try it on the split grips at the gym). I've been working my chin ups and pull ups, on a fresh start, I can do about 10 of either, without any kipping, and the first few can propel myself a little above the bar, like around nipple height. I also can do about 5 good slow dips, all the way down as low as possible to where the thumbs pretty much touch the armpits. I've been using the pulldown bar, pulling from overhead, down to the waist to try and strengthen the transition muscles, can do that on about 125 pounds. I think it may have something to do with technique, however I've watched every youtube video out there and tried to copy their technique to propel myself with momentum, but can't quite do it, as well as experimenting with my own. Heres what works best so far. On the bar I do that slight swing forward and try to explode up right as the backswing starts, and I get up to about nipple height on the bar, however the problem that I feel is that I can't seem to get my weight over the bar, my feet will always be out in front, and even though I'll have the bar pretty close to my sternum, I'll feel as if I'm sort of at a 45 degree angle, with all my weight under and behind the bar, rather than over it. It feels like if there was some way to have my overall bodyweight more centered on the bar, rather than legs so far forward, that i may be able to do it, but I haven't found any technique that puts my bodyweight more over the bar like that. On the rings its a similar story, the best way I've found is to try and thrust the hips straight up towards the rings, I can get high enough that my hands are right around nipple or sternum height, but have trouble with the transition. It feels as if my legs are still too far forward and the weight of my chest is too far behind the rings. It feels like if I was able to pull the mass of my chest forward to get them more over the rings that I'd be able to finish, but just haven't been able to do it. Any tips?
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:47 AM   #2
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

Strength will help. How much additional weight can you do a pull up to chest to bar with?
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:01 AM   #3
Bart Mitchell
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Wilkinson View Post
This is sort of a two part question. I am 6 foot tall, and currently weigh about 215 pounds. Its pretty much all muscle, I do have about 1/4 inch layer of fat over the abs, but that about it. I've been working out for about 8 years, and really trying to get the muscle up for the past few (both on the bar, and the rings), and just can't get it.

So part 1 of my question.
How often do you see guys of my height/weight actually doing muscle ups? Everyone I've seen in person do it has always been considerably shorter. I've watched many videos, trying to learn techniques, and although it is very difficult to tell someone's height/weight from a video, many of them just seem much shorter. I never really payed any attention to that, until I read this interesting gymnastics physics article that talked about how shorter people have a much higher strength to bodyweight ratio. It said that as strength increases, so does muscle volume, however the volume increases at a faster rate than the strength increases to lift that extra volume, so the stronger someone gets, the lower their strength to weight ratio becomes. They also used the example of an ant, which is considered extremely strong, can lift 20 times its own weight, etc. They said that if an ant was enlarged to the size of a human, keeping all its proportions identical, it wouldn't even be able to lift its own weight anymore. I also think back to about 8 years ago, before I started working out at the gym, I weighed around 160 pounds (and still had the little 1/4 inch over the abs), I found a place with some gymnastics rings and was able to do a muscle up around the second day. Over the next few visits to the place I was able to do a few muscle ups per day. However now after putting on much more muscle, and being much much stronger than I was back then, I am unable to even do one, after years of trying. I also could do more chin ups back when I was 160 pounds than I can now, despite much more strength.

Now part 2 of my question
Are there any tips you guys can give that might help me be able to get these muscle ups down? Weather it be tips on technique, conditioning, or whatever. I'm trying to learn on both the bar, and the rings. Preferrably rings since I have them at home, I have to go to a park for the bar (unless I try it on the split grips at the gym). I've been working my chin ups and pull ups, on a fresh start, I can do about 10 of either, without any kipping, and the first few can propel myself a little above the bar, like around nipple height. I also can do about 5 good slow dips, all the way down as low as possible to where the thumbs pretty much touch the armpits. I've been using the pulldown bar, pulling from overhead, down to the waist to try and strengthen the transition muscles, can do that on about 125 pounds. I think it may have something to do with technique, however I've watched every youtube video out there and tried to copy their technique to propel myself with momentum, but can't quite do it, as well as experimenting with my own. Heres what works best so far. On the bar I do that slight swing forward and try to explode up right as the backswing starts, and I get up to about nipple height on the bar, however the problem that I feel is that I can't seem to get my weight over the bar, my feet will always be out in front, and even though I'll have the bar pretty close to my sternum, I'll feel as if I'm sort of at a 45 degree angle, with all my weight under and behind the bar, rather than over it. It feels like if there was some way to have my overall bodyweight more centered on the bar, rather than legs so far forward, that i may be able to do it, but I haven't found any technique that puts my bodyweight more over the bar like that. On the rings its a similar story, the best way I've found is to try and thrust the hips straight up towards the rings, I can get high enough that my hands are right around nipple or sternum height, but have trouble with the transition. It feels as if my legs are still too far forward and the weight of my chest is too far behind the rings. It feels like if I was able to pull the mass of my chest forward to get them more over the rings that I'd be able to finish, but just haven't been able to do it. Any tips?


Im 6'3'' 210 and I can do bar muscle ups with ease. I would say do plenty of dips and pullups....and keep working on technique and momentum at first....my two centss
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
Rob Darden
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

Things that helped me were getting my kipping pull up down, also I would do muscle ups with my feet up on a box or just on the ground to help with the transition. I still have to kip to get a muscle up but I am progressing for sure. You could use bands as well.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:57 AM   #5
Brent Eno
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

Focus on keeping your arms in tight against your body as much as possible during the transition, like you are wearing a backpack and you are running your hands from the top of the straps down to the bottom. Don't let your elbows flare out. The one tip that helped me more than anything was to look up at the ceiling directly above you while you are pulling yourself up. When you transition to the dip, throw your head forward and look at the ground directly below your feet.

Look up, kip up. To transition, throw your head forward and run your hands down the straps of the imaginary backpack with your elbows tight against your body.

Try jumping into muscle-ups as well. Experiment with ring height, and try to find a height where you have to jump hard but can still make the dip transition.
Good luck
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:23 PM   #6
Stephen Flamm
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

The muscle-up definitely favors lighter athletes. That being said, we currently have four guys taller than 6' and heavier than 200 lbs. who can complete 30 for time in 5-10 minutes. The largest is 6'4" and 230. In addition, our fastest 30 for time is 3:35, performed by a 5'10", 185 lb.-er - not really a small guy.

Get stronger at CTB pull-ups and deep ring dips, and work your muscle-up transition progressions, as well.
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:55 PM   #7
Shane Skowron
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

Work on strict but explosive ring pullups to the chest, and deep ring dips. Add weight via vest or dip belt if necessary.

If you've done muscle-ups a long time ago, chances are you already have the skills to do it, just lost some of the relative strength.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:09 PM   #8
Matt Haxmeier
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

For me it's very important to start off by keeping my shoulders loose to begin with so that you can swing your torso through them on the initial part of the kip. On the rings you have a tendency to keep the shoulders tight and lats engaged so you can't get a good kip.

like the seconds 1-2 of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCi3l3-6knI (WFS)
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Old 06-29-2010, 03:39 PM   #9
Steven Low
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

Since you already work on high pullups and deep dips,....

HIgh false grip pullups

technique = pull up high and simultaneously

lean forward, push elbows STRAIGHT BACK

IF elbows go outt ot he side at all you will fail. Do not do this.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:18 AM   #10
Sean Lind
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Re: 6 foot, 215 pounds , and struggling to do muscle ups.

You should practice proper technique, head down to a gymnastics club and get some training.

and I have taught someone who was 6'8 265lbs able to do muscle-ups with ease. So 6'3, 215lbs, isn't that bad.

Granted any body weight exercise does favor lighter athletes, you can still do this.
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