Muscle Up Volume Template 2.0

Welcome to the Misfit Athletics Muscle Up Volume Template 2.0. The ability to sustain consistent sets of muscle ups is an invaluable skill that can be a massive separator between you and your competition. Whether your max set is 3, 5, 10, or more, this template is designed for you to not only bump that max set up, but also the subsequent sets that almost always follow in a workout. As always, technique is critical and efficiency can be the difference between having to break a set up and holding on, so practice like you’re going to play: efficiently and methodically. Throughout this 5 week period, you’ll work 3 days per week on various exercises requiring you to push your capacity. Mobilize, recover, and be persistent and we promise this template will work for you. Below you will find descriptions and examples of some of the movements you can expect to see over the next 5 weeks. Good luck!

Big Kips
These “Big Kips” serve as the foundation for each rep. We’re looking for you to elevate your feet and hips to ring height while simultaneously pulling the rings to your belly button. We like to tell athletes that they should “see their feet” in their peripheral vision before snapping themselves over the rings, so focus on a tight kip swing that gets your hips and feet as high as possible. From there, it’s simply an aggressive turnover.

Muscle Up + 1s
Most athletes are forced to come off the rings because they are unable to catch themselves in a solid dip position, or are no longer able to dip to the top of the rep. Enter: the muscle up + 1. Simply perform a regular muscle up, but instead of falling back into your next rep you perform one extra dip. Not only will thing improve your dipping stamina, but will also force you to properly kip your second dip – another common fault we see in athletes. Focus on an efficient dip – this exercise may be the most important one you do to improve your endurance on the rings.

Strict + Kipping Chest to Bar Pull Up Complex
Similar to the muscle up + 1, this complex works to improve your overall pulling capacity. We’re looking for you to hit a NEAR maximal set (think 1 or 2 reps shy of a true max set) of strict chest to bar pull ups and then immediately roll into a NEAR maximal set of kipping chest to bar pull ups. We’re not allowing a butterfly style of pull up here because we like the time under tension that the standard gymnastics kip provides. Some of you may need a few minutes to re-learn the gymnastics kip…

Ring Support Hold
Nothing too fancy here, but this exercise is excellent for developing body awareness, positioning, and reiterating the importance of the hollow body position. Once you get yourself atop the rings, focus on external rotation of the palms and shoulders, toes pointed and slightly in front of your body, and a strong scapular position. Like so many upper body gymnastics exercises, this drill starts off very doable and rapidly becomes more difficult. We recommend coming down off the rings when you start shaking, and trust us, you’ll start shaking.

Athlete holding the top of a ring dip


Although there isn’t any written mobility in this template, taking care of your shoulders, chest, and back is going to be critical in sustaining the volume over a 5 week period. Simple mobilizations that smash your pecs, shoulder girdle, and lats will help keep those tissues sliding freely. Flossing your shoulders is a no-brainer here as well, and working through some internal rotation shoulder mobilizations will help keep you in good positions, especially at the end ranges required in many of the prescribed exercises.

Double Lacrosse Ball (Peanut)/T-Spine Smash:
Place a double lacrosse ball on the upper third of your back and centered such that your spine “rests” in the valley created by the two balls. Roll up and down, softening up the muscles around your upper back and traps. You can raise both arms over your head and lean back and/or hug yourself as shown above.

Barbell Lat Smash:
The lat smash helps open up the overhead position by loosening up some of the musculature in the back. Simply use the collar of a barbell (we think the collar is more effective than a soft roller) and oscillate back and forth. “Rolling” is ok, but we recommend smashing across the muscle fibers for the best effect. Go from your armpit all the way down to your lower lat.

Single Lacrosse Ball Trap Smash and Pec Smash:
For the trap smash (top), place a single lacrosse ball on the meaty portion of the back of your traps. With the same side arm, raise, lower, and move side to side smashing your traps. Reposition the lacrosse ball working all the way around your scapula. For the pec smash (bottom), simply pin the lacrosse ball between your pec minor and a wall and move side to side.

Time to Get to Work

Over the next five weeks, you’ll spend plenty of time on the rings and pull up bar. Warm up and make sure your shoulders are ready to move through the ranges of motion required for the day, attack each exercise with a purpose, and wrap up with some additional restorative mobility. Running this template concurrently with any of our programs is fine, just make sure you’re paying attention to the volume of pushing and pulling being added to your regular training and modify accordingly. Good luck!