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Last Update  On October 10, 2012
Muscle-up - Overrated or Underrated?

The muscle-up is one of the hottest topics mainly thanks to the fitness street popularity.  Recently I was having the following thoughts regarding the muscle-up.

First the muscle-up is hard and even otherwise strong people can fail to do it. The fact that you bench much does not mean that you can do a lot of muscle-ups. The opposite is also true - more muscle-ups do not equal bench press strength. (Damn..I am so sick of hearing bench press, deadlift, squat that if hurts my ears even as I write about it....;D) The reason is that the two exercises are too different.

Anyway.....what is the benefit of the muscle-up you ask....well it depends on your my answer

In my eyes the main benefit of the muscle-up is that it is a complete upper body exercise - it works pretty much everything except for neck and ear muscles (yes, we have ear muscle but only a few cool people like me can move their ears.) It hits lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps, forearms, chest, triceps, core....all the upper body, almost. So this makes the muscle-up a great movement if you are pressed for time. Just do muscle-ups and you've hit all those upper body movers.

However the main question here is would it better to do just pull-ups and dips instead of muscle-ups. In my opinion - Yes. I think that doing mainly pull-ups and dips alone will allow you to focus much more on the mind muscle connection and hit back and chest harder. Also it allows you to get more work done because you can definitely do more dips and pull-ups than muscle-ups. So if you are in lifting mainly for building muscle, staying in shape and you have more fitness or bodybuilding in mind I don't see a need to do muscle-ups. Dedicated back and chest workouts seem to be bring more results.

The best thing about muscle-ups is that it looks cool when you climb on top of that bar/rings like a champ. However I don't consider the muscle-up strength as superior as the bodyweight crews out there want to make it. In my eyes it's more of a cool skill than a muscle builder.

Bottom line is if you like muscle-ups who the hell am I to stop you from doing them, right? But if your goal is to build muscle mass and improve your back and chest strength you are better with straight to the meat type of routine like pull-ups, rows, dips, presses ( yes....presses a little less annoying than writing bench press), ring push-ups because the muscles are worked longer and therefor harder. After that you can do as many muscle-ups as you want.

Off Topic

Looking at my past and at other people's way of training and thinking it amazes how we like to forget to listen to our bodies. Also we tend to think about training as something extremely complicated and analytic when it couldn't be further from the truth. In my eyes training is about trial and error. What is good for me may be the worst for you. I tried a lot of things and for example I know that squats do me more harm than I don't do them anymore... I also know that the bench press did nothing for my chest and I knew it since my first set of bench presses EVER but I kept doing it for years. Why? I am stupid. I know now that dips, ring-push-ups and dumbbells work much better for me but I wasted my time over thinking, looking for miraculous way to boost my bench like it was the purpose of my life. Well I don't care about my bench anymore.

Let's face it - we don't make money out of working out. Yes..there are models and all that but the majority of us don't. Working out is like brushing your teeth - its main goal is to improve your health. How many guys do you see thinking about the perfect angle to brush their teeth, the perfect toothpaste. Pretty much nobody..right.

In regards of muscle-ups - yes they are cool. Do them but in the end of the day life is more than that. I see those bar crews talking nonsense about their "superior" bodyweight only training and how weights are not needed. They alos behave like some sort of Olympic athletes ans stuff. Maybe it's time to go train legs at the gym - guys? Pistols ain't gonna do it forever. To each his own I guess but really in the end of the day working out is just a small part of who we are. What forms us as individuals is our profession, our job, family and character. Working out is an important supplement but on its own its becomes as useless as a protein powder when the rest of our diet is Coca-cola and chips.

Thank you for reading my blog. Have a great workout.
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