Increase Elbow Mobility To Improve Your Muscle Up

Increase Elbow Mobility To Improve Your Muscle Up

single bar russian dips for muscle ups

Elbow mobility is often the missing link between lack of progress and performing a clean muscle up. Elbow mobility is a crucial factor and it is unbelievable that almost no one teaching muscle ups has really figured this out.



hen trying to perform a muscle up, doesn’t matter how strong you are if your elbows are too stiff to allow your body to rotate your shoulders on the bar or rings without restrictions.

If you cannot perform a clean pull-up with full range of motion, a muscle up won’t happen either.

The good thing is that a great deal of pull-up mobility is unlocked by improving the elbow mobility.

A good level of elbow strength and elbow mobility will ensure your shoulders and elbow rotate on rings or on a bar without any restrictions.

The better your elbow mobility, the less resistance there will be preventing you to perform a good muscle up.

Work hard and you may achieve this:​

How To Improve Elbow Mobility

Level 1: Elbow Stretch for muscle ups

elbow mobility joint stretch for improving your muscle up strength

Use one arm to stretch the other arm by pushing your forearm down towards your shoulder.

If you lack flexibility in your elbow, you will surely feel pressure in your elbow joint.

The next step is to add resistance. Start by applying pressure to your elbow joint by trying to press your stretched arm open. Use the other arm to hold the arm in place, and just feel the pressure in your elbow joint

Start cautiously, but eventually you should be able to press the arm quite hard. When you no longer feel any benefit or a stretch, move to level 2.

Level 2: Forearm push ups

forearm push up top position
forearm push up middle position
forearm push ups for elbow mobility bottom position

Mastery: 5 sets for 5 repetitions. 

You should be in 100% control of the entire range of motion.

Level 3: Russian dips

dip support for muscle ups
dip progression for muscle up
russian dip bottom position for muscle up

Mastery: 5 sets for 5 repetitions. 

Similarly to forearm push-ups, you should be in 100% control of the entire range of motion.

The absolute control in the entire range of motion improves the elbow mobility and the elbow mobility creates the perfect muscle up.

Level 4: Single bar russian dips

single bar russian dips for muscle ups
single bar russian dips for muscle ups and elbow mobility

Mastery: 5 sets for 5 repetitions. 

100% control of the entire range of motion. Stop when your forearms are horizontal to the bar, and then press yourself up.

After you have achieved this, you should be very close to achieving the full muscle up, since it takes a great deal of strength and elbow mobility to do single bar russian dips. 

Level 5: Negative muscle ups 

muscle up top position support
muscle up transition
muscle up pull
muscle up bottom

Mastery: 3 sets for 3 repetitions. 

Lower yourself from dip support with control. You should feel this very intensively in the elbows.

Negative muscle up is actually more strenuous than the actual muscle up. The eccentric phase of the muscle up just feels more in the elbows, and as a result, will massively develop elbow mobility.

After you have achieved mastery in this one, you should be able to perform a regular muscle up with ease.

Increase Pull Up Mobility


he exercises above will directly improve your pull up mobility and allow you to pull yourself up higher with a better range of motion.

In a short time, you should be able to touch the bar with your chest in every pull up repetition. ​

In order to maximize the elbow mobility in pull ups, ​ you should also specifically work on the mobility of chin ups and pull ups.

Level 1: Isometric Chin Up Hold

isometric chin up hold for elbow strength

The key here is to build stability and mobility at the top of the chin-up form.

Focus on pulling the bar as low as humanly possible.

When you can no longer hold the maximum range of motion, finish the set and rest for the next one.

​You can move to level 2 after you are able to hold the bar tightly to your chest and hold the 5 sets of 15 seconds with ease.

The bar has to touch the chest the entire time. Master this and you will see great improvement in your elbow mobility and overall chin up strength!

Level 2: Isometric Pull Up Hold

isometric pull up to chest for elbow mobility

Exactly the same as above, except here you use the overhand grip.

This will require much greater amount of elbow mobility to be able to hold the bar tightly to your chest.

5 sets of 15 seconds for mastery.​

Level 3: False-Grip Pull Ups

hanging false-grip hold
false-grip pull ups for muscle ups

From: straight arms to the bar touching your chest.

Mastery: 5 sets for 5 repetitions. 

This is one of the best exercises to increase your both wrist and elbow mobility. The exercise will directly translate to better muscle up performance. 

Taking Your Muscle Up To The Next Level


ll of these steps will be helpful in achieving your first muscle up. If you already can do a muscle up, these exercises will improve your performance both on rings and on a bar. 

All of these exercises can be taken to a whole new level. For example, to every exercise except the elbow stretch, you can add weight via a dipping belt or a weighted vest. 

Performing weighted russian dips and forearm push ups will absolutely take your muscle ups to the next level.​

If you want to know all of the basics and details regarding how to achieve your first muscle up, you can subscribe below to get access to your free muscle up guide. 

Train hard, stay safe.