17.2 ... "OMG! I don't have a Bar MU... #help" 7 tips just for you!

So, Dumbbells huh? See ya later. Castro has let it be known that we will be bound to these creations of mass destruction, at least for the next 12 minutes. At this rate, perhaps we'll be bound to them for the next 3 workouts as well. So, on a 12 minute clock I'm going to give you 7 quick tips that will, if understood, make your 12 minutes a little less frustrating. 

Unlike last week, skill will pay the bill. Last week, you needed to just hold on, and the leaderboard showed just how many had this unlikely ability. It was only logical, and fitting, that this workout have a "separator", and as always it's Gymnastics. Gymnastics is, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, the final frontier of Competitive CrossFit. The bar will always be the bar, your proficiency in Gymnastics will be your key determinant. (Shameless plug: Take our upcoming CrossFit Gymnastics Seminar and be better prepared for the future {Click}). So if you're looking for advice, I've got some below, but the best advice I can give you is that you should have taken our workshops, seminars, or gymnastics class. But have no fear, there is some luck to be had!

The workout is going to be determined by your ability to not only do a bar muscle up, but quite a few of them. As volume goes, they are a bit less demanding than ring muscle ups, so at least we have that silver lining. However, as technique goes, they are a bit more advanced. Catch 22 I suppose. For this reason, I will allocate the bulk of my advice on the skill you guys care about. The bar muscle up. (Pro-Tip: CFGymnastics on IG just reposted all of our tips)

12:00 mins of work. Two similar, but different, workouts. Multiple rounds of each. Like last week, I'll let the other countless strategy videos dictate your pacing. I will tell you that 12:00 is a long time if you're good, and a long time if you're not. If Bar MU's are in your wheelhouse, you will earn a lot more work. If they are not, you will earn a lot of frustration. In both instances, the strategy from energy will be to stay clear and collected. There's no purpose in blowing out the first two rounds to get to bar mu's gassed. If you have them, you will need your energy. If you don't, you will need your energy. Get comfortable in 1 and 2, grind 3 and 4. As for detailed recommendations lets try this: 

  1. General: Prep your body and prep your mind. First and foremost, proactively address your hands. A rip here will not afford a successful do-over. Open your lats, seratus, psoas/hip, hamstrings, and chest. More as needed. You need to be clear in this workout, not blacked out like last week, so visualize. See every round and rep before you attempt. Know your capacity. Rest when you're supposed to, not when you need to. 
  2. Get comfortable with your DB. Sure, it's basically a bicep curl for the cleans, but there is some technique to consider. Stay in your heels, use your hamstrings, and don't fold in half like Kari. She can, but you can't. The most important DB advice will come in the lunge. Open up your rack and mobilize etc. Most importantly, leave yourself room. By that, I mean keep the elbows up and out, and don't close in your chest. You need to be able to breath, so don't handicap yourself. Also, remember to keep the chest up in lunges. Any degree your chest drops, the work gets way harder! 
  3. Break the TTB. I get it, you're Gumby, or maybe it's your time to shine in this workout. Don't. Take them in 2 or even 3 sets. There isn't a lot, and while that might seem like a good idea to blow them out, it isn't. There is just enough to make sure the rest of this workout is terrible if you do. That seemingly simple movement has reciprocity in every other movement in this workout. Move well, not fast. 
  4. It's not a pull up!!! The #1 error we see in Bar Muscle up, is trying to convert a pull up into support. It's just not the same. Granted if your pull up is correct, which 97% of the time they aren't, then it would be a similar movement just larger. However let's just be honest with each other. Stay long, as long as you can, let your swing bring you up behind the bar. Do not pull yourself at it. This will eliminate the chicken wing. Use your swing and focus on force down on the bar, not doing a pull up. Keep arms straight as long as you can. Believe it or not they are attached to your body and will actually arrive at your hips without bending them...
  5. Backswing. Both the TTB and the BMU are absolutely and solely driven by the backswing. However most of us like to do the work in the front swing. Tighten your backswing and maintain it throughout the workout. This means body long, feet together, high tension. Do not try to break tension in the back only to have to do work in the front. Your front swing should float from the effort exerted in the back swing. That being said, Arch-kick-hollow should be the bulk of your focus in the Bar MU. 
  6. Patience! Its so important Ill drill it again. Do not rush to the bar. Arch-kick-hollow, create an arcing grace behind the bar, not a death spiral at it! This movement is elegant, not aggressive. 
  7. Keep the sets small. Unless of course you have 20 or so unbroken Bar Muscle ups, I will assert that small sets with little rest will conserve your grip, skin, and energy more than blowing out large sets. I would suggest singles if 3-5 are your max sets.
  8. Notable mention: Set your grip atop the bar for more force and focus down on the bar! 

These are tips, and not drills to get your first rep. As coaches, we can help with that, or you can follow us on CFGymnastics or P2Gymnastics on Instagram for more demos and progressions. You've got four days, don't beat yourself up. It can be done!! 

For those of you with the skill this is a fun workout. A relatively new arrangement, and an especially new Open workout. This will be good for those of you looking to separate yourselves on the leaderboard, and fun for the rest of us to see who has the skills to pay the bills. 

I'm super excited for this workout, but maybe I'm just biased. Just throwing it out there, you're all welcome here! 

-Tony