This article was originally published here.

The challenge of the month: accomplish the muscle-up, a bodybuilding exercise that requires strength, concentration and above all... a few workout sessions.

Enjoy your workout!
1. What Is The Muscle-Up?

It's a combination of pull-ups and dips: instead of stopping at the top of the movement, you immediately follow it up with a dip.

The exercise breaks down into the following 3 movements:

 The pull-up: I pull my body up, behind the bar (and not under the bar like a conventional pull-up)

 The transition: I pull the body up and over the fixed bar

• Repulsions or dips: I push up on my arms to reach the upper position

2. Who Can Tackle The Muscle-Up?

Before trying out the muscle-up, some preparation is essential.

To have the strength required to perform the movement, you must be able to perform about fifteen pull-ups and twenty dips under your own body weight. Take this as a benchmark, even though it does not mean that you will necessarily be able to perform a muscle-up at this point.

Even if you are strong enough, you need to have mastered the movement and be able to perform it fast enough in order to accomplish the muscle-up.
3. Muscle-Up Training

Before Starting

Any bodybuilding exercise requires a warm-up beforehand... and this is particular true for the muscle-up since it uses almost the entire body. The risk of injury on this movement is quite high, especially during the transition phase (shoulder and supraspinatus muscle) and during the descent (elbow and shoulder joints).

• Targeted muscles: the latissimus dorsi, teres major and teres minor with the secondary target of the muscles of the arms (biceps brachial, anterior brachial, long supinator), the trapezius, rhomboid and posterior deltoids. Pectorals, anterior deltoid, triceps, back (dorsal), trapezius, abdominals.

• Exercise: with the arms outstretched, body suspended from the bar and the hands more than shoulder-width apart. The arms are almost straight (to protect your joints, do not straighten them completely) and the feet parallel. Raise and pull your body upwards: bring the hips up to the level of the bar and then push on the arms to straighten the body (dips). Return to the starting position with outstretched arms.

• Breathing: breathe in on the way up and breathe out as you descend.

 Safety guidelines: keep the body nice and straight throughout the exercise and do not arch the back. The movement must be controlled especially during the descent. Avoid any unwanted movement of the body, keep the muscles tight and push on the arms to raise yourself up.
4. How To Do The Muscle-Up?

A Good Start

Before starting, step 30 to 50 cm away from the bar. This will give you a pendulum effect from front to back when you grab the bar that will help you lift the body upwards.

The grip on the bar is different from conventional pull-ups: for this exercise, your palms must be facing the ground (pronation) with the thumbs above the bar, to facilitate the transition between pull-ups and dips.

What You Must Remember

The muscle-up must be done at a fast, explosive pace so that you can change your grip during the transition.

During the movement, use your chest, abs and shoulders as much as you can to maintain your body position behind the bar and not below it.

To facilitate the pulling phase, you can raise your knees.

If you repeat the movement several times, thrust your legs forwards on the descent to get more momentum and maintain the pendulum effect

To accomplish the muscle-up, you need to be patient during several sessions... Whatever the situation, there is no secret solution: practice is the only way to accomplish this exercise. Practice without being hurried and stay motivated... perseverance is essential!