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Muscle Up - Push or Pull?

Home | Knowledgebase | CALISTHENICS

Muscle Up - Push or Pull?

We love to train. We love to improve yet the time we can spend working out is limited. This is due to real life responsibilities and simply because our bodies can only deal with so much pressure every day before our muscles and mind need rest. These limitations bring us to a logical conclusion:

We want our workouts to be as efficient and as worthy as possible. Training different parts of your body on different days is the next logical step when striving to make the most out of your workouts.

We love to train. We love to improve yet the time we can spend working out is limited. This is due to real life responsibilities and simply because our bodies can only deal with so much pressure every day before our muscles and mind need rest. These limitations bring us to a logical conclusion:

We want our workouts to be as efficient and as worthy as possible. Training different parts of your body on different days is the next logical step when striving to make the most out of your workouts.=

Divide your workouts over the week

Your body can only take so much pressure every day and muscles need rest to grow. It is therefore convenient to divide exercises by muscle group and then split them over the week.

A typical split would for example be Upper-Lower Body. Meaning you will train upper body on Monday and Thursday and Lower Body on Tuesday and Friday. Another example for how to divide your workouts is a Push-Pull Split. This means twice a week you will focus on pushing exercises such as push ups, dips and squats whilst the other 2 days of the week you will be working pulling exercises like pull ups, front levers and nordics. Bodybuilders traditionally divide even further to focus on specific imbalances. For example they would train their chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, shoulders on Wednesday, legs on Thursday and Arms & Abs on Friday. This allows for more volume per muscle group per workout and a longer recovery phase before hitting the same muscle again.

Dividing your workouts is easy when it comes to bodybuilding but unfortunately not when it comes to Calisthenics. Most calisthenics exercises are compound moves. Isolation becomes difficult to achieve and diving your workouts by body part is almost impossible.

Muscle up - The ultimate Compound Exercise

It is pretty clear that the muscle up does not fit into any of the above mentioned splits. We are doing a pull up and a dip. We are involving our back muscles, the chest, the core, and even both sides of our arms. Most calisthenics exercises are like this.

If you are dividing your week with a push-pull split you might ask where the muscle up fits. The answer is individual and only depends on you. Look at your muscle up. What is the hard part? The pull up or the dip? Most people here say the pull up and clearly the muscle up should be trained on pull days.

 

Grow your workout split with your abilities

You might have answered the above question with: both is hard! Neither my dips nor my pull ups are easy.

That is totally fine and brings me to my next point. Adapt your routines to fit your current needs. Here is what I mean:

Start with 6-8 weeks of a push-pull routine. This split is great to build raw strength. If you are fit, healthy and your recovery ability is high you can train each workout up to 3 times per week.

Once this cycle is over move into a straight-arm-bent-arm split meaning you will train planches, levers and really anything with straight arms on 1 day and bent arm skills like for example your muscle up on the other. This split is great for improving skills in calisthenics but does not work quite as well for improving strength as there is an overlap between the muscles involved in the 2 workouts.

Muscles Ups do not really fit into any day of the week which is awesome as they fit everywhere. Focus on one thing at the time. Make time to build adequate strength before putting everything together in a technique cycle.

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