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The questions is – can you lift your arse over the wall in a hurry? Pull ups, Kipping, Butterfly and Muscle Ups – tell me straight.

Functional strength movements are movements that are natural to the body; Squat, Deadlift, Press, Pull. The question is can you lift your arse over the wall in a hurry? No? So why, are you trying to complete a Muscle Up. Let’s discuss the aspects of upper body strength and how to progress the pull up and graduate to earning a Muscle Up.

You don’t need to learn to butterfly kip. Seriously, stop it. You are going to hurt yourself and you’d be much better off working toward a bodyweight press and increasing your strict pull ups.

How can I get one strict pull up?

You start with negatives & assisted, negatives will help your arms get used to supporting the weight of your body.


To do a negative, stand on a box or get a member to get your chin over the bar. Once you’re holding that position, slowly lower yourself down under a 3-5 tempo until you’re in the the dead-hang position. Aim to complete x5 reps or work towards being able to complete x5 reps at that tempo for x3 sets, rest 90 secs between each set.

To do an assisted pull up get your chin over the bar, lower yourself down under a 2 tempo until you hit dead hang position and ask someone to lift you back over the bar so your back to the chin over bar position. Aim to complete x12 reps for 3 sets, rest 90 secs between each set.

Work on your pull ups 3 times a week. You have to set small goals for yourself and building on those.

Once you have one-five pull ups (well done!) – it’s time to start increasing your numbers. A great way to train number increases if through the pyramid system.



Look at the pyramid image above, these are the repetition numbers to be completed. Complete 1 pull-up, rest, 2 pull-ups, rest, 3 pull-ups, rest, etc. When you reach the top, your reps decrease reps starting from 4, 3, 2 and then back to 1 pull-up. Rest for 60-90secs between reps.

You can adjust these numbers in the pyramid once you start to get comfortable with hitting 1-5.

Practice your different grips regular, reverse (chin-up), close, wide and commando. Practice dead hanging from a bar, train single arm hangs.

Kipping Pull Ups

They aren’t cheating and they are required for CrossFit workouts that require a higher rep range making the workout more efficient. They should be used for efficiency, the same way we would use a push press rather than a strict press in a WOD. They are an explosive variation of a traditional exercise – the pull up. Kipping pull ups won’t grow hypertrophy, the strict pull-up is better.

Muscle Ups

The muscle up is a complex move where you pull yourself up from a hanging position. But instead of pulling to your chin, throat or upper chest, you actually pull as low as possible and flick your arms at the top of the move as you end up in the low position of dip. Then you pushup.

There are several ways to grow and develop the Muscle Up, make sure you check out the next blog to learn the Muscle Up progression. First master pull ups and grow your strength, become comfortable with being up at the bar, progress to get your chest to the bar and not just your chin and be sure you can complete at least 5 strict pull ups and 5 strict ring dips before you entertain Muscle Ups.

Small daily improvements are key to staggering long-term results.

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