TUTORIAL: How to muscle up

A post shared by Neill Timms (@incitefitness) on

This is how to get your FIRST muscle up, not a clean muscle up.

To avoid any confusion:
- CLEAN is keeping your body straight and not using any momentum. 
- NOT CLEAN is tucking your knees up and using momentum to help you get over the bar.

Your arms have to go over the bar at the same time. Once you start leading with one arm and doing "chicken wing" muscle ups, it's going to take even longer to get clean muscle ups. If you're not going to get both arms over the bar at the same time, fail the rep. Don't get one elbow up and fight your way over.

The steps:

1 - Grip further over the bar than you usually would for a pull up. Aim for your knuckles to be facing the sky. A false grip isn't necessary, but the further over your grip is, the easier the transition will be.

2 - Stand around 30cm from the bar and jump on to it. Use the momentum from the jump to swing forward. Do not swing your whole body forward, though; your chest should swing through, but pull your lower body backwards.

3 - This is the part that may take some getting used to. After swinging through, when your momentum is carrying you backwards, PULL! It may take some practice to get your timing right. At this point, you also need to tuck you legs towards your chest. This momentum will help you get more height on your pull up and the higher you get, the higher the muscle up will become. If there's a pause between you swinging forward and starting to pull, it's likely that your timing is out. Try to start the pull a split second later and don't fight the swing.

4 - Once you're pulling high enough, pull your chest over the bar. If you're used to performing clean pull ups, you have to kind of forget that part of your training. It sounds counter-intuitive, but you have to come AROUND the bar when you're learning to muscle up. Instead of pulling towards the bar, pull up and away from the bar. You want to arc around the bar. Once you've got this part down, you can start cleaning up the form and eventually coming up and over. 

5 - This is the easy part. Once you're over the bar, all you have to do is a straight bar dip and you've done a muscle up. Easy.

10 MINUTE WORKOUT: Chest day on the dip bars

A post shared by Neill Timms (@incitefitness) on

200 reps in total (50 of each exercise), as fast as possible.

Do AMRAP with every set and aim to do it in as fewer sets as possible. I had already done a lot of benching and weighted dips this morning, so aimed for 25 reps in each set.

VARIATIONS: 5 abs exercises on the pull up bar

A post shared by Neill Timms (@incitefitness) on

The longer video, with further exercises, is on my YouTube channel.

These are some abs exercises to try on the pull up bar. If you also want to work your forearms and back, perform them at the top of a pull up.

01 Leg raises
Keep your legs as straight as possible and raise your legs to 90 degrees.

02 Toes to bar
These are like the standard leg raise, but instead of stopping at 90 degrees, raise your legs all the way to the bar. Keep your upper body as still as possible and avoid leaning back.

03 L seat to straddle
I'm sure we used to call these something else, but I can remember the name! Start in a L seat and go as wide as you can with your legs, close back to an L seat and repeat.

04 X's
Slightly easier than the exercise above. Use small controlled movements to move your legs in an X shape.

05 Scissors
These are a good exercise if you're struggling with clean leg raises, toes to bar or L seats. Raise your legs, individually and one after the other, to 90 degrees.

VARIATIONS: The best push ups for triceps

A post shared by Neill Timms (@incitefitness) on

These are the basic push ups that I do when I'm training triceps - usually at the end of my work out. I pick two of these variations and do 3 sets of each (reps depends on how strong I'm feeling).

01 Push ups (elbows back)
Have your hands shoulder width apart and pull your elbows back when you come down. Keeping your elbows tight to your body will target the triceps (elbows going onwards will hit chest).

02 Explosive push ups
These are the same as above, but explode up and take your hands off the floor. Once these become easy, lift your hands further off the ground (touch elbows or shoulders).

03 Forearm push ups
Start in a standard push up position, but lean forward on your feet. Once you're at the bottom of the push up, slide on to your forearms by lowering them to the ground and pivoting on your toes. Remember to come all the way down before you drop on to your forearms!

04 Diamond push ups
These are my favourite triceps exercise. Use a close grip, with your thumbs and index fingers touching (to make a diamond shape). If these feel too hard on your wrists, have your hands slightly further apart.

05 Reverse grip push up
These are a standard push up, with a reverse grip. Keep the movement as up-and-down as possible to avoid accidentally doing the much harder variation used for to target your shoulders.