Recently I accomplished a big goal of mine, I got my first muscle up. In case you do not know what that is it is a basic gymnastics move where you go from hanging by your arms from a pair of rings (think monkey bars) to over the top of them with your arms fully extended. It is a pull up into a dip and far more than the sum of its two parts. If you still do not know what it is then type muscle up into the search bar and click on a video.
Some smart folks say that before trying to do a muscle up you should be able to do 15+ pull-ups and dips. I’ve also heard that you should be able to do weighted pull-ups and 10+ ring dips. Both are probably accurate but I would say the second is more valid as this is far more of (at least initially until you can do a bunch) a strength move than an endurance move. Being able to do a weighted pull up and DEEP chest(like below your peck/ boob) pull-ups is essential.
I have been actively working towards this goal for more than 6 months and with serious focus for the last two of them. It was probably a lot harder for me than it would be if I was around people who could do them. I imagine I have been physically capable (had the explosive pulling strength) to complete one but it took a couple months of building more strength and fiddling with the skill component to get over the cusp and actually stick one. The transition between the two moves (pullup and dip) is the hard part. Most healthy moderately athletic adults can do at least one pullup and dip (ring dips are different but after a session or two you get used to it) but having the explosive pulling strength relative to body weight to transition between the two is another thing entirely.
What is this useful for? Well first in the process of getting there my upper body has become much stronger and more explosive than it once was. As for the move itself this quote from somewhere pretty much sums it up “Far from a contrivance the muscle-up is hugely functional. With a muscle-up you’ll be able to surmount any object on which you can get a finger hold – if you can touch it you can get up on it. The value here for survival, police, fire fighter, and military use is impossible to overstate.”
As for form following function my arms are somewhat thicker and more muscular. My upper back and shoulders are getting bigger moving from a square shaped torso to more of a V. I only mention this to remind you that if looking good is a concern for you those results can be achieved with useful exercises not just stupid single joint body building stuff with little to no real life or athletic carry over.
Well this was one of my biggest physical goals for the year and is another milestone to mastering my bodyweight.
Got Muscle Up? Got pull up?