This Move Is Way Harder Than a Pull-Up – but 1 Trainer Has the Perfect Modification

I go from thinking muscle-ups sound cool – the kind of move you do when Beyoncé comes on at the gym and you’ve got fire in your eyes – to just plain intimidating. Here’s how it works: you start from a hanging position on a bar like you would at the beginning of a chin-up or leg lifts. To build momentum, start swinging. Pull yourself upward, past a normal chin-up, so your chest is over the bar and your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle (similar to the bottom of a dip). Some people bend their knees for momentum to get up on the bar. Then, straighten your arms so you’re supporting yourself with your hips at the bar. Got that?

If you didn’t really follow, it’s no big deal. Muscle-ups are, we can probably agree, very difficult to master. To top it all off, there are people who can get themselves up with practically no swinging. Don’t believe me? Watch this:

Muscle-ups are a common move in CrossFit, and you can also do them on rings instead of a bar, which my CrossFitter colleague said may give you more leverage. The exercise is, of course, advanced, but we want to assure you that we’ve got a modification that still works your upper body and requires an engaged core – plus even recruits the quads and calves.

Enter the TRX muscle-up from NASM-certified personal trainer Alexia Clark. She told POPSUGAR, “TRX muscle-ups are a really great alternative if you are unable to do a muscle-up. I personally don’t like doing muscle-ups on a bar because it’s really hard on your shoulders.” She typically pairs this TRX version with two to three other exercises in a full-body circuit (10-15 reps for three to four rounds).

“It just takes a couple tries to get comfortable doing it because you’re using your full body,” she added. Ahead, you’ll find exactly how to do this modified muscle-up with a TRX. And, if you want more creative and effective fitness content from Alexia, check out this arm workout that uses – yes! – a single booty band.


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