The Best Drills for Muscle-Up Mobility

The muscle-up is a CrossFit skill that often takes athletes a long time to develop and perfect. I’ve previously published two articles (1 and 2) to help you create a framework for developing this movement. The drills give you a great progression to get your first muscle-up. BUT THERE IS ONE PROBLEM…


The mobility component of the muscle-up is arguably the least assessed pre-requisite to this movement. Without sufficient mobility, the movement becomes significantly more difficult. Let’s break it down…

Step 1: Can you perform a full depth ring dip under control with the biceps coming into contact with the rings? If so, proper mobility for the muscle-up transition is present. If not, we need to pinpoint better where to work on our mobility.

Step 2: Assess shoulder extension by having a partner lift your arm while you lie on your stomach. The partner must be sure to keep the arm in line with the body and not let any trunk rotation occur.

Step 3: Flip one onto your back and position elbow on a foam roller with the shoulder abducted to 90 degrees. Your partner then internally rotates the shoulder and assesses how much motion is present. Ideally, we’d like to see the hand reach the stomach, as shown in the video.


If you need to improve internal shoulder rotation try this exercise set:


For shoulder extension deficits try crab sliders to improve your mobility:

Once better mobility is in place, the transition from the pull-up to the dip during the muscle-up will be much easier. Then you can work through transition drills to improve your technique and use this training plan to help get you there!

strict ring muscle-up