I find it odd that there are world class crossfitters between 150 and 200lbs who can’t do momentumless muscle ups. Everybody is kipping and swinging and jumping and whipping around on the bar. And they never get better. They never do a clean rep without extreme momentum. I’m 30-100lbs heavier and doing it with added weight.
Follow 7 steps, and you can get this in the next 2-8 weeks, depending on where you are in the first three prerequisites: a pull-up, a dip, full shoulder extension mobility (with which we may pair control within loaded internal rotation).
Before we get to the steps, be ready to change what you’re doing. Before we get to the steps, make sure you can actually achieve full shoulder extension. Before we get to the steps, be ready to scrap the ego and quit kicking your legs around to fake this.
1.) Make sure you can do a single solid pull-up - yes, just ONE - that’s all you need, if you are able to squeeze your body high enough. There is a common mistake when people are training the muscle-up where they keep trying to build more pull-up prowess. After one clean pull-up, you're good. Trust me. I can outperform competitive rock climbers and gymnasts in pull-ups for reps or added weight; and they CRUSH me in momentumless muscle-ups. Doing 40 reps of weighted or partial pull-ups doesn’t get you any closer to a true muscle up than one bodyweight rep cleanly executed with collarbone near or above the bar.
2.) Make sure you can do a single solid dip - yes, just ONE - that’s all you need, if you have the shoulder mobility and control to lower your armpit to the hand or below it.
3.) Stop training pull-ups and dips. There are many guys and gals who are absolute beasts when it comes to pull-ups and dips. They can do hundreds of additional pounds and/or hundreds of reps. But they cannot perform a single clean muscle-up without momentum. You have finite physiological resources: willpower, time, recovery, etc. If you're going to get this skill down, you must focus your energy on it to the exclusion of peripherally-related exercises. Those exercises, though inherently beneficial, will likely reduce your chances of getting this sooner than later.
4.) Train the transition. Train the transition. Train the transition. That is, either set up some parallel benches as I do in the Instagram videos (https://www.instagram.com/p/BuTu15MjWaX/ ) or start at the top position above a bar or parallel bars. Then, beginning with the top of the “dip,” brace yourself as hard as possible, lower in a very controlled manner, as low as you can safely do.
5.) The transition training focus is to get the elbow below the hand contact point. You likely lack the shoulder mobility to train this yet. And there is an incredible amount of forearm power required to be safe. So be very gentle.
6.) Once you can do this on the way down, begin to train it down near your limit and attempt to come back up.
7.) Limit sets to 1-3 reps. Rest at least two minutes. No more than 5 sets (and be 90% recovered before adding it to a training day again) or you’re going to get the worst tendinitis of your life.
For most people, even once they’re ready, this will be at or above a 1RM effort. The rings are substantially easier than the bar or parallel bars, yet don't necessarily afford you good transference of skillset. Relegate the training to parallel benches, a bar, or parallel bars.