The 10 Best Muscle Up Exercises

When the bodyweight training basics are achieved (pullup, chinup, dip) – it’s natural to seek out the next challenge. This next challenge is often the muscle up, and the variety of ways this exercise can be performed.

Before we demonstrate the best variations, it’s important that you’re first able to do a muscle up. If you would like to learn how, sign up to our email list for a free pack.

Here are 10 different ways you can do a muscle up:


1) Medium, Close and Wide Grip

In order of difficulty, with the wide grip being the most challenging. As a side note, the close grip is more demanding on your triceps, while a wide grip will challenge the strength of your lats.

muscle up

2) L and V-Sit

These variations challenge you to engage your core much more than the regular variations above. As with a regular L-sit, your legs should be straight and parallel to the ground. The V-sit more difficult, requiring additional hip flexor strength to keep your legs straight, and pointed up at a 45 degree angle.

muscle up

3) No Momentum (Strict)

The muscle up in its “purest” form. Don’t swing, and don’t attempt to make it easier for yourself. Start from a dead hang and pull yourself up. Simple.

strict muscle up

4) Chinup Grip

Switch your grip to a supinated grip like you’re doing a chinup, then perform the exercise.

5) “X” Grip

Cross your hands over each other, then pull.

muscle up x

6) Hip Lifts

A regular muscle up with an addition of a hip lift at the end range of motion. Keep the back flat, and your hands gripped firmly on the bar.

muscle up hip

7) Alternate grip

Use an over/under grip and pull yourself up, hands approximately shoulder width apart.

alt grip muscle up


8) Front Lever

Start in a front lever and pull yourself up to a muscle up. If you’re unable to do a front lever, learn how by greasing the groove. This is a difficult variation and should be attempted when proficient at both exercises.

front lever

9) False Grip

Perform a muscle up by starting in an overgrip position with your hands. The overgrip reduces the pulling distance, making the muscle up easier to perform. Try and perform each rep slowly when starting in a false grip position for an extra challenge.


10) Forearm transfer

Pull into a muscle up and “catch yourself” on your forearms just after your chest clears the bar. This variation will require some practice, as you’ll need to perfect the timing and become accustomed to the stress on your forearms in the final position.

forearm transfer

Let us know in the comments below which muscle up variations you like to practice, and whether you have any questions. For the full list of muscle up exercises, refer to the original video posted on YouTube in April 2014.