A year to my first muscle up

By Coach Josh Workout Comments Off on A year to my first muscle up

A year to my first muscle-up.
-by Max Baumann
Last fall, I gave myself a goal to get my first muscle up by the end of the year. This seemed like a realistic endeavor. I had a good pull-up, a good kip swing, was able to get high on the bar and it felt like I should be close to achieving this.  I’d been wanting to get a muscle up for a while, but hoping I would get one through the activities of the daily WOD hadn’t worked out, it was time to focus.
I met with Josh for a couple 1:1 sessions where we assessed what was missing for me, which was some strength in part of the movement and missing pieces in moving my body through the positions.  We worked on drills to start developing the form and timing of the movement:

…and some exercises to reinforce the strength and form needed:

Focusing on a goal like this doesn’t end with the personal training session, so we also talked about things I can do to continue working towards my goal.  One of the most useful tips was to choose strict pull-ups (rather than kipping which are easier for me) whenever there were pull-ups in the WOD. While this slowed down my times for the workouts, it meant I was making more progress towards my goal than if I were to perform the easier kipping pull-up for faster times.
When I gave myself this goal, I thought all I would need was a session or two and maybe a little work to get it.  A month later, I was closer, but not as close as I wanted to be, and I started to lose focus on my goal.  The next thing I knew, it was the end of the year.  I remembered my goal and made several attempts at muscle-ups, and while I was closer, something was still missing, and I didn’t achieve my goal. “Impossible”, “Can’t be done”, I would joke, still confident I would eventually get it, but also I felt a little defeated. I probably wouldn’t have made this goal for myself if I knew how much work it was going to be, but now that I had it, and had worked towards it, it wasn’t something I could give up on.
However, I did decide to take time off from focusing on it, partly because I would be traveling, and partly because I wanted to press the reset button on it. I felt that letting go of it for a short while might help me look at it from a fresh perspective.
My break was longer than I expected, but this summer, I knew it was time to get back after it. I didn’t want to wait until the end of the year to start working on my goal again, so I scheduled a few more training sessions with Josh.  Josh hadn’t lost focus on my goals, he had new drills and exercises for me to work on.  We could both tell that I was stronger and closer to getting my muscle-up.
Patiently, and somewhat consistently (life happens after all), I kept working on my goal.  Practicing the drills and progressing to a banded  muscle-up.  Slowly the bands got smaller, and I was feeling more and more confident in the movement.  We knew I was close, my hips were rising up to the bar, my pull-up was strong, and my kip was big. Josh ran me through a few more drills and after a few attempts, it finally happened! I got my first muscle up, and my second, and my third!

It felt fantastic to finally achieve this movement. Now comes the next goal of working towards mastering this movement.  Taking it from something that requires considerable effort and practice to get just one or two, to something I achieve consistently.
The work continues… Never easier, only stronger.
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