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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 05-10-2008, 04:03 PM   #1
Rob Paulson
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Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

First, let me begin by saying - I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone by this thread.

My old roommate from college tells me the other day that he can do a 'muscle up' on rings. I was a gymnast back in the day and I'm thinking, 'Hey, good for him'. I guess he'd setup a gym in his basement and bought some training rings.

A while later I'm at his place and he's showing me his gym and I say, 'Wanna bust out a few muscle ups'...and what I saw....well, I wouldn't call it a muscle up.

First, he uses this ridiculous looking grip with his wrists bent over the ring so he can make the transition from the 'pull-up' position to the 'dip' position easier. I thought the whole point of a muscle up was that you pulled with such force during the pull-up phase you could adjust your grip - similar to doing a clap pushup; you push down so hard, you go off the ground and can move your hands around.

Second, when he pulled, he brings up his knees; kicking his legs to get momentum. He called it a 'kip'. Again, it's been a while since I did gymnastics; but a kip a clean, straight legged skill for getting from below the bar or rings to above the bar or rings. What he did looked akin to a fat kid in gym class trying desperately to hammer out a pullup.

Now, like I said, I'm not trying to **** anyone off - but I told him that, in my day, a muscle up was something totally different. A muscle up started from a straight-body, still hang, with a conventional grip and involved NO legs or swing or grip. It was simply a display of strength. The name 'muscle up' really suggests that it SHOULD be a display of strength.

I asked about this on a bodybuilding site and was told here would be a better place to get an answer. Obviously, it doesn't 'really' matter who is right or wrong; but a tiny part of me feels like he's doing a disservice to former gymnastics like myself who, at one point in time, did a muscle up, cleanly, in competition - and anyone else who does one. I feel like it would be like saying, 'I run a 5 minute mile' but running it with rollerblades on my feet.

He insists that he saw a video and that what he is doing is the 'right' way to do a muscle up.

He's also started doing his crazy kick thing while doing pull-ups. It makes it much easier and he can hammer out about twice as many.

We had the same argument.

So please, someone, clear this up. What is a 'muscle up' and what is a 'pull up'.

I'd really love to be able to do a standing double backflip, but I wouldn't do two backward somersaults and then go around telling people I can do a double backflip.

And again, I'm just curious for opinions on this. Neither him nor I really care too much either way. He'll keep doing his thing and he enjoys it, so more power to him. But I think, technically, I'm right.
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:23 PM   #2
Brian Degenaro
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

I go over muscle up technique here (wfs): http://www.crossfitnycwiki.com/Crossfit/MuscleUp

There I cover the whole "kipping" argument about MUs. But you are right: from a gymnastics stand point the MU is smooth and controlled, not a kipped movement.
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:57 PM   #3
David Meverden
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

I understand where you are coming from, and kipping in general tends to get people rilled up because they think it's "cheating." I recommend you search the message board for kipping as you'll find lots and lots and lots of discussion/argument on the topic.

As for the semantic confusion I'll try to clear that up right here:

When crossfitters do "pullups" they are NOT doing what other people mean when they say "pullups" and we know this. It's a really a "Kipping pullup", whereas what other people think of is here called a "Strict Pullup". Anyone not being clear about this distinction up front is doing a disservice to crossfit, IMO.

Similarly, the gymnast in you wants to see a "Strict Muscleup". We, generally, do "Kipping Muscleups". You were trained that perfection and total body control and pointed toes, etc, are essential to gymnastic skills, but we at crossfit are not being scored and so generally do movements in whatever manner allows us the greatest power output. That is what crossfitters feel will aid in their fitness the most.

Crossfitters than have managed to learn a kipping muscleup should try to build to a strict muscleup, for the challenge, but for building a truly fit body does it matter if our legs are straight or our toes pointed? We feel the reduced difficulty is made up for by the increased intensity of the faster, greater volume, repetitions.

So my final advice:
1) Read more about kipping and try to keep an open mind and
2) instead of thinking of our muscle ups as a corruption of your sports, think of how great it is that some aspects of gymnastic training are now being appreciated by a wider audience.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:11 PM   #4
Brian Degenaro
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

The whole thing about straight bodies and pointed toes is the total body tension. It's easier to contract every muscle in the body when the body is in a completely straight line; this tension is key for gymnasts and strength because of hyperirradiation.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:48 PM   #5
Derek Maffett
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

Regarding the definition of the kip, gymnastics is different from Crossfit. Gymnastics has very specific form required, but Crossfit is about efficiency. Our kips are tools meant to increase our work capacity. Kipping muscle-ups allow us to do more, thus increasing their usefulness for metcons.

In the case of pull-ups, strict vs kipping doesn't seem to matter that much in terms of pull-up strength, since each improves the other, but the technique for a kip (as defined by us) will not improve if kipping is not used. Kipping in the muscle-up is different due to the presence of the transition, and strict should be trained.

As for the false grip, I don't think you have a case for complaint since olympic-level gymnasts use it.

And finally, just because we use gymnastics movements without the strict form you learned does not mean that we want to sabotage gymnastics or anything. In fact, I would consider learning proper form in gymnastics exercises to be an important part of what we do, though optional. There's definitely a lot of coordination and balance to be had there.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:57 PM   #6
Robert Callahan
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

My dad did some gymnasitics and I had a similar conversation with him when first discussing the muscle up. To be fair what most crossfiters do should be called a "kipping muscle up" not a muscle up, because in gymnastics a pure "muscle up" is done with strict form, so we should preface it with kipping.

As far as kipping in pull-ups, that is the standard around here and for a good reason. True kipping pull-ups take some of the strain off the arms and distribute it throughout the body, mostly core, in the swinging motion. This allows you to go much faster though. And what is the point of a workout? Improving power output is one measure commonly refered too. What is power? P = Work / time
what is work? W = force(how hard you pull/push) * distance.

So Power = (force * distance) / time

a kipping pull-up allows you to use the same force (even if spread out over different muscles) to move your body the same amount of distance (chin over the bar) in a greatly reduced amount of time. So a kipping pull-up allows you to generate much greater power and therefore allow for a better workout

Hope that helps some, search around these forums and the main site, you can find some lectures about this topic

-Robert
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:09 PM   #7
Steven Low
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

Quote:
As for the false grip, I don't think you have a case for complaint since olympic-level gymnasts use it.
Not supposed to anymore. Is grounds for deduction if the judges want to take off.
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:42 PM   #8
Derek Maffett
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

Really? When did they change that?
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:50 PM   #9
Brian Degenaro
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

I think it's been that way for the past several years. It's a rather recent change if I recall.
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:18 PM   #10
Steven Low
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Re: Question on 'Muscle Ups'....

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Originally Posted by Derek Maffett View Post
Really? When did they change that?
After the olympics... '04.

Rings, article 35e "A false grip (over grip) for strength holds is not permitted."

Deduction .1
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Last edited by Steven Low; 05-10-2008 at 08:21 PM..
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