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Part 3: CrossFit Open Prep 2017

You know they will be in The Open this year, and if you haven’t prepared for them, you’re going to get exposed!

That’s right, I’m talking about muscle-ups and it’s time to be honest with yourself.

  • Do you have just one?
  • Can you cycle your repetitions?
  • Can you perform them under fatigue?

In years past, the panic has been all about the rings. But last year, we were all thrown a surprise and bar muscle-ups were introduced into the competition.

The truth of the matter is, no one really knows (except for Dave Castro) in what way, shape, form they’ll show up in the programming this year. However, there is one thing that is for certain…

Your proficiency with “muscle-ups” will directly determine your placing in The Open this year. 

  • If you don’t have them, start coming to terms with going scaled.
  • If you do have them, but only when the stars align, prepare yourself to fall thousands of spots down the leaderboard.
  • And if you can’t perform them under fatigue, picture the rings swinging in the air while you’re on the ground and see if lights a fire underneath your ass.

So with only four weeks left to prepare, how do you prioritize your training? Well, after five years of collecting data we’ve found that becoming proficient in the muscle-up comes down to three very specific things!

1. Strength 

The weighted pull-up is the best way to test our athlete’s muscle up potential and foundational pulling strength.

  • Men – Strict weighted Chest to Bar Pull Up @ 33% of your body weight
  • Women – Strict weighted Chest to Bar Pull Up @ 20% of your body weight

And if you’ve nailed that down, don’t forget about the dip. Like strict pull-ups, many clients’ triceps and bodyweight dips are not strong enough to ‘push out’ of the dip. While a athlete (using the kip) may be able to find themselves over the rings and ‘figure something out’ at the top, in order to complete multiple reps in the air, an athlete must have the ability and strength to hit multiple ring dips.

Bottom Line = You’ve only got two options. Alter your bodyweight (while maintaining all the muscle you currently have), or stronger, FAST. Preferably both 🙂

2. Technique

If you’re strong enough, it all comes down to technique (and a little bit of mobility) in order for you to get your first or become proficient with the muscle up. Here’s some common technique no-no’s we commonly see.

  • Lack of Momentum – Their chest doesn’t go through forward to load the lats. They don’t get far enough behind the rings on the way back so that they can get full lat engagement and potential.
  • Lack of hip drive – While there are many highly efficient ways to get a muscle up, if a client isn’t particularly strong with the upper body, many times they need to “find” hip drive in order to get their bodies high enough to get over the rings.
  • Ball up – They don’t snap through and, also, ball up their legs. This is an example where somebody may be ‘high enough’, but does not come through the rings all the way because their feet are too high. It is too difficult to get over the rings simply because their legs are in the way.
  • Hands are too tight on a non-false grip – Without a false grip, one’s hands are generally too tight (non false grip) on the way through the rings. Consequently, the hands have to ‘get over’ the rings and if they are tight, they won’t make it.

Bottom Line = Strength and technique must be in harmony if you’re going to reach your full potential.

3. Killer Instinct

Let’s face it, throwing yourself through the air on a pair of rings is kinda scary. Plus, when you fail time and time again, things can get quite frustrating.

The reality is, the weak minded or those who really don’t care enough about the outcome, will quit and give up when things don’t go there way. It takes time gain upper body strength, some longer than others.

Who do you want to be known as?

Bottom Line = Consistency is key, especially with the muscle-up. You’re going to have to come early, stay late, and make sacrifices in other areas of your life if you want to master this elusive movement.

So if you want to perform your best in this years’ CrossFit Open, you must master the muscle up! Attend our Open Prep Camp on February 4th from 12-4pm and get one step closer to reaching your fitness goals. Registration is $50 for Frequency members, and $75 for those attending as guests. Sign up at the front desk asap or message me at riley@frequency.fitness to reserve your spot!

See you soon,

Riley Phelps, MS CSCS