Muscle Up

At a Glance

Exercise Muscle

Back, Chest, Shoulders

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The muscle-up is one of the calisthenics street workout crown jewels. It takes a tremendous strength and dexterity to transition from the pull up to the straight bar dip in a single fluid motion. The movement feels awkward and counterintuitive the first time anyone tries to do it, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to get the hang of.

Exercise resistance bands are a valuable training for muscle up training as they allow for natural progressions in strength and bodyweight training variability. You can combine muscle-up assist bands to offer more help when needed, such as when your muscles begin to fatigue. Alternatively, you can use a lighter exercise bands as your strength increases and you need less assistance.

  1. Fasten a resistance band to a pull up bar and place your feet into the band and drop down so you start with arms fully extended in a dead hang position

  2. Instead of pulling yourself up the to the bar (like a pull-up), pull yourself up and around the bar in a ‘C’ curved motion.

  3. As soon as your shoulders are above the bar bring your elbows up and your chest over bar.

  4. Brace your shoulders and elbows at the top before continuing and pressing yourself upward by performing a straight bar dip.


  • Use a traditional calisthenics 'false grip' by resting your wrists and thumb pads inwards on top of the bar. This will help give you leverage at the top to transition from the pull-up to the dip.

  • Bend slightly at the hips and keep feet slightly out in front during your pullup.

  • Lean your shoulders over your hands immediately at the top of your pullup for leverage.

  • Think of pulling the bar down in front of you so that you go behind the bar (you won't make it by pulling yourself up under the bar).

  • Keep your thumbs under the bar to avoid slipping off.

  • Pull the bar to your hips once you've made it over the bar. This helps force your body upward and sets your elbows for the dip.

  • Step one foot out of the exercise band and then hold the band with both hands while taking the other foot out to avoid snapping back.

Target Muscles: Back, Chest, Biceps, Triceps

Recommended Bands: Heavy Resistance Band (minimal assistance), Robust Resistance Band (medium assistance), Power Resistance Band (maximum assistance)

Force: Push and Pull

Position: Upright

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