Bar Muscle-Up Chicken Wing Fix

Developing the strength and technique to perform kipping bar muscle-ups can be a challenging journey. Many athletes finally get to that point in their gymnastics skills development that they can perform the muscle-up, but they do so with the dreaded chicken wing fault. This is one of the most common faults in the BMU and it occurs when the athlete throws each arm over the bar unevenly. This makes the transition from pull to push very tough or uncomfortable on the shoulder joint.

In this video, Dr. Zach Long discusses why the chicken wing bar muscle-up fault occurs and one of our favorite exercises to improve your muscle-up technique.

Related Resources:

Chicken Wing Bar Muscle-Up


Let’s talk about the BMU, specifically the chicken wing fault that many athletes deal with during bar muscle-ups.

So we want to see ideally in a kipping bar muscle-up, is that individual’s going to go from an arched position with global extension to a hollow body position. After that, they are going to pull their body around the bar. The key here is that they pull AROUND the pull-up bar and not TO the bar. This isn’t a chest-to-bar pull-up.

So they’re going to really engage their lats to have a straight arm pull around to get to the dip position and then press up out of the bottle. That’s ideally what we want to see but it requires a lot of upper body strength.

What happens with individuals with the chicken winging fault is they go arch, and then they go hollow, but they will pull towards the bar with usually one of their arms. And so they end up pulling towards the other arm flips around, which results in them having that awkward move over the bar.

If you demonstrate the BMU chicken wing fault, here’s a great drill to clean up your technique and improve your BMU efficiency.

I will get a box position underneath my bar and grabs it with a full grip. Then I will go from an arch to a hollow position, and I’ll emphasize pressing down into the pull-up bar. A cue I often give athletes is to try and throw the bar off the ceiling to the floor.

I will do two reps of that mini jump to lat pull. Followed by a full toe assisted bar muscle up.

One rep, two reps, third rep. Go all the way over.

Again, the purpose of this jumping bar muscle-up drill is to emphasize pushing that bar down toward the ground. That brings that athlete over the bar without doing a chicken wing in the kipping bar muscle-up.