Thursday, December 27, 2018

Life goal #2 - The CrossFit Kipping Bar Muscle-Up

In 2018 I met one of my two CrossFit Life Goals (tm) - 10 consecutive dubs (hit 42 in a wild fluke the other day). Only took me five times as long as anyone else I know.

The other goal is the Kipping Bar Muscle-Up. So that’s on the list for 2019. I’m also planning an IMBA “Epic” mountain bike trek — the Maah Daah Hey, but that’s mostly about showing up and moving my feet. The Bar Muscle-Up may be impossible, so it’s more interesting. (Watching Paoli video I should be able to do it now [1], but that’s now what I’m feeling!)

I’m putting my training notes and references on this page.


Movement notes

Some of the best tips came from a post in the CrossFit Physicians Facebook group.

  • Hands a bit wider than shoulder, but narrower than bench
  • From beneath the bar jump up and back to a big arch then fall forward into extension position — gets good start there
  • Drive hips to bar from top of “hollow” position, while “push down on bar with straight arms”. There should be a bend at hips so can “pop” the hips and pull, row bar into chest/navel (pop/pull is the trick - need timing). The pull should be very hard and fast
  • Grip. Begin with the end in mind. You want to think about the position the hands and wrists need to be in when you're on top of the bar and doing the dip portion of the BMU. A lot of people struggle because they grab the bar from directly underneath and don't really wrap their hands over the bar. Instead of doing that, wrap your hands as far over the bar as possible. It's basically a 'false grip' maneuver that you've probably seen on the rings, just on the bar. The idea is to have to turn your hands/wrists over as little as possible. The-two word actionable cue for this is "meaty grip".
  • In the kip swing, think about getting your body as loooooong as possible in as you move in front of the bar into the extreme of the arch position. Maximize the full range of motion of your shoulders, keep knees as straight as possible, and point your toes. Your body is a sling shot. Two word cue: "get long". 
  • For the pull up & over the bar. Pick a spot on the floor in front of you. Your goal is to stare at that spot all through the first part of the kip and the initiation of the transition into the hollow position & first part of the pull. At some point, as you pull your hips up to the bar, you're going to lose that spot from your vision (it's unavoidable - the head tilts backwards), but your goal is to see that spot again as soon as possible. The instant you don't see the spot anymore, your sole focus is to find it again. This will help you with the speed necessary to execute the transition. Actionable cue: "find the spot". 

Training programs

Some of these are for the (ring) muscle-up, the bar muscle-up is considered to be harder

Training exercises

  • Strict pull-up
  • Kipping chest-to-bar with elbows behind the back
  • Lat Pull-downs
  • Use gym machine with pulley’s ropes to emulate the curious straight arm downward push-pull (see still below).
  • Back extension and arching
  • Shoulder range of motion, esp. internal rotation
  • Band-assist Muscle-Up with gradually diminishing bands
  • Box jump muscle-up with gradually smaller box
  • The glide kip drill - stand on 1-2 bench, bar a bit above eyes, arms and back in line with hip flex to big hollow, hop up, glide out with feet just above bench and extend to small hollow, then reverse on return.
  • Paradiso progression
    • 3 sets of 5 high back kip swings
    • Hip to bar pull up (20 repeat 1 rep) - kip swing with hip snap
    • Transition (atop box, etc) - 20 to 30 reps of jumping box muc
  • Hip-to-bar progression with a slight arm-pull, hip drive from the hollow (I can’t get my hips to the bar yet), note in this still from Paoli video his elbows are bent, but he’s mostly pushing the bar down towards his hips and lower abdomen. Feet are below hips. Trapezius muscle here. I have to figure out how to build something like this.
    Screen Shot 2018 12 27 at 4 27 15 PM
    and note he’s actually hitting bar around navel at this point (not hips), feet are still in front as he transitions.
    Screen Shot 2018 12 27 at 4 32 13 PM

[1] Well, not now exactly. My left biceps is strained, so I have to rehab that first.

Update 2/3/2020

I posted the first version of this on Dec 27, 2018 and I succeeded on Feb 3, 2020.

It took me over 13 months. At one point, probably June 2018, I bet my 17yo daughter I’d get it done by my 60th birthday on Aug 1 2018. If I’d succeeded she owed my $10. If I failed, I would pay her college. 

Emily and I are paying her college. 

In August 2018 I was feeling kind of bleh and this looked impossible. To my surprise I started to recover in October and have been getting stronger over the past 5-6 months. Maybe the protein and creatine shakes helped. I also started doing more CrossFit for weird (but good) family reasons — 4-6 a week instead of 3-4 a week.

I didn’t end up following any of the programs above. I just worked on pull-ups whenever I could and I practiced with bands. I could do BMUs with a “green and blue” (green is BIG), then the sequence went like this (typically 3 at a time, the first is usually hardest):

- 1/9/2020: single black band 3 consecutive
- 1/20/20: red and blue then thin red, orange, blue
- 1/22: blue+thin red+orange
- 1/29: blue and 1 orange
- 2/3/20: During a “max MU in 4 minutes” WOD I started with blue, red, and orange bands and in about 4 sets of 3 I dropped bands until I did 3 with two thin orange bands and then one with no bands. When I actually succeeded it didn’t seem that hard. Timing is key.

The most useful advice I was given was "wrap your hands as far over the bar as possible. It's basically a 'false grip' maneuver that you've probably seen on the rings, just on the bar.” I didn’t really understand it at first, but it means having wrists above the bar when you start. I had note understood how hard I had to grip the bar and lever myself up.

I hope I do more, but in terms of my goal I only had to do one.

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