Achieving your first muscle up is a serious feat of strength. However, the journey to master the muscle up doesn't stop there - in fact, it's only the beginning.
There are many different ways to make the muscle ups harder, which we will demonstrate in this article.
Many of the muscle ups illustrated in this article are for the athletes and fitness enthusiasts who already have achieved a solid muscle up on rings or on a bar.
Many of these variations are only possible with gymnastic rings. We recommend gymnastic rings over regular bars, although bars are a great alternative. You can get very affordable gymnastics rings from here.
In case you are learning the basic muscle up, you can download our muscle up guide from the sidebar or from the bottom of this post.
We also have numerous of articles covering the muscle up basics:
Advanced Muscle Ups
There are two ways to add difficulty to muscle ups: by adding resistance (weights, weighted vests) or by changing the angles and leverages of the exercise. We will cover both.
L-Sit Muscle Ups
Holding an L-sit significantly changes the nature of muscle ups, because your center of mass changes and your upper body has to stay more upright which means you cannot use your body's momentum to roll over your shoulders.
With a bar, L-sit can make the transition phase a bit easier though, but it's still a variation worth visiting for.
Wide Muscle Ups
Wide muscle up is probably one of the hardest variations of the ring muscle up, because it requires more strength in the rotator cuff muscles.
Like with the L-sit muscle up, your body has to stay more upright which increases the demands for pure strength. If you can do even one rep, you are a beast.
One Arm Muscle Ups
One arm muscle up is a special variation where you are focusing on one arm at the time and assisting with the other.
One arm muscle up is just an archer pull up and an archer dip combined with a transition phase.
Weighted Muscle Ups
Adding weight is probably the easiest way to add resistance to your muscle ups. You can start light: begin with 2.5-5 kg /5-10 lbs and work your way up. You can use a dipping belt, a weighted vest or a dumbbell between your legs.
In our next level ring muscle ups video, there's a personal record muscle up with extra 25 kgs or 55 lbs, which is probably one of the strongest muscle ups ever filmed.
How to Start Working Towards Advanced Muscle Ups
My advice is to first master the basic muscle up. You can download our extensive and free muscle up guide below, which will certainly help you master the muscle up.
Eventually, you can start playing around with muscle ups and see where it goes from there. Small increments of weights like 2.5 - 5kg / 5 - 10 lbs can be beneficial.
The L-sit muscle up is the easiest progression to do after the basic one. If you can do a basic muscle up, you likely already can do it.
Train hard, stay safe.