The muscle up is probably the best calisthenics exercise in existence because it targets several parts of the upper body and works them intensely. Almost everyone can do a push up and a sit up but very few people can do a muscle up. In fact most untrained people have a hard time doing one pull up!
Here’s a step by step guide on how to do a muscle up:
- The muscle up is basically a pull up followed by a dip and the transition between those two is the most difficult part of the exercise. To make that transition easier some people hold the pull-up bar with their thumbs on the bar instead of around it. The grip will obviously be weaker like this but some say it helps them with the transition. Try that first and see how it goes.
- People who can’t do the muscle up are usually either not strong enough or not using the correct technique (or both). Strength is the most important of the two though. In fact if your muscles are strong enough you will be able to do it regardless of how bad your technique is. The best way to train your body and get stronger for this exercise is to do the very same exercises involved in the muscle-up, namely the pull up and the dip. Ideally the dips should be performed on a pull up bar in front of you (as it’s done in a muscle up) instead of the usual dip bar with two bars on your sides. Some people use gymnastic rings but I prefer a bar. Train diligently and use a weighted vest or a weighted backpack to make your exercise more efficient.