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Muscle up drill: Pull to your hips

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Ah, the muscle-up. It might be what comes to mind when you think CrossFit. But it’s no surprise you’ll need to build lots of strength and skill to perform one.

Let’s start with an essential component: Pulling to the hips.

You’re likely pretty comfortable pulling to your chest — a motion drilled in through movements like chest to bar pull-ups, ring rows and bent-over rows. While pulling to your hips may not feel as comfortable, it’s integral to performing a sound muscle up. If you don’t have that pull down, you’ll waste a lot of energy and could set yourself up for injury.

Let’s break down a drill perfect for any level. Perform this while you’re building the strength to get your first muscle up, clean up your form or improve efficiency so you can do even more reps.

To start, set the rings at about hip level, or to the place you rest at the bottom of a ring dip with your feet flat on the ground. Place a box a couple feet away from the rings, where you can comfortably rest your feet on it while holding a hollow position.

Select a band that supports you enough so that your main focus is the movement pattern and the muscles you’re working, not the difficulty of performing the ring row. Wrap the band around one of the rings, and hold it in place with your hand on the other ring.

Lay down with the band across your glutes (supporting your weight), your arms extended and your feet resting on the box. Create a hollow position, with your core engaged.

Drive your palms toward the ground and pull your hips up to the rings, maintaining your hollow position the entire time. Your body should remain in one line throughout the movement; no breaking in your core or using your shoulders and arms to heave yourself up.

Perform 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps.

Between sets, reinforce that hollow position with a set of 3 quick hollow holds into a longer 5-10 second hold.

If that the band you selected feels too easy, drop down to a thinner band or lose the assistance all together. Remember, this drill is meant to reinforce motor patterns, not build strength, so use as much assistance as you need. (Coach Carissa uses a green band when she does this drill.)

Questions? Comment below or ask a coach!