Saturday, July 10, 2010

Muscle-ups Anyone?

The all elusive muscle-up. Many-a-CrossFitter strives to obtain their very first muscle-up. They do countless strict pull-ups and full range of motion dips. They follow the recommended progressions...they try to find a way past the ever-frustrating transition between the 'pull' and the 'press' portions of the movement. And finally, when they achieve their goal, the moment is glorious. Melodramatic you say? Not really--the muscle-up is a true testament to strength. Being able to pull and push your body upwards in space, with the mere apparatus of some simple rings, is quite an accomplishment.

For over six months, I was denied the opportunity to do muscle-ups. My shoulder surgery, and the subsequent rehabilitation, prevented me from even thinking about doing anything on the rings. As the weeks and months wore on, my shoulder became stronger. I started tinkering around on the rings...just doing some dips and push-ups--still not confident that I was able to attempt a muscle-up. Before my surgery, muscle-ups were my 'bread and butter'...one of my strengths. Not being able to do them killed me. It actually got to the point where I feared them, for the simple fact that I did not want to re-injure my shoulder.

As of late, my shoulder has been feeling excellent. A few days ago, I was in my garage, preparing to do a self-programmed workout...it did not involve muscle-ups. As I began to warm up, I casually gazed at the rings hanging above my head. I started thinking...perhaps it was time to give it a go. The shoulder was feeling good and my mind was in the right place. I slowly settled into the false grip, took a deep breath, and went for it. Success! I then proceeded to program a workout that involved muscle-ups; it involved seven muscle-ups per round, among other tasks such as running and kettlebell swings. For the first two rounds I was able to do all seven muscle-ups in a row, unbroken. I had to break up the last set, but needless to say, I was extremely happy.

If you have yet to achieve your first muscle-up, do not fret, through consistent practice and determination, you will get it!