How I mastered my first muscle up and what you can learn from it

October 27, 2020 by No Comments

As soon as I wrote the article about the Muscle Up Challenge, I was wondering if this was really a good idea.

What would happen if I fail?

How would my readers react?

I didn’t know if I would make it, but I made it my goal and followed my plan.

I fell and got up again. And finally made it.

You can find out how I felt and what tips I have for challenges in your life in this article.

The 40 challenge days in fast motion

First things first: I did the 40th day of the challenge on October 29, 2015 and therefore it took me twice as long as I had planned.I did my Muscle Up Challenge on 3. Started August 2015. The end date would therefore have been 9/11/2015.

What was the problem?

There were three problems:

  • Illness
    About after day 15 I caught a stubborn cold and lost a week of time. Also important for you: If you have a cold or are otherwise ill, you should refrain from training. You can go for walks and do a bit of stretching, but you can also relax and take the break your body demands.
  • Injury
    When I was fit again, things continued to be quite good until day 25, when I got down to one Freeletics Workout (Hyperion Strength) – yes, besides the challenge, I also continued the Freeletics Coach, but only twice a week – panned the cross. I already felt at the beginning of the day that my upper back was very tense and still wanted to do the training. It gave me a stab in my upper right back (during a high jump) and I had to stop training and it took me a week to get fit again.
  • Fear
    Yes, you read that right. If you did have tried pull-ups once, you may know the feeling. You stand under the bar, look up and think to yourself: Oh my god, how am I supposed to manage all the pull-ups …
    This has contributed to the fact that I have some difficult days – for example, day 36 with the Freeletics workout Kronos (including 100 pull-ups) or of course Day 40 with the muscle ups – I didn’t trust it straight away, but before that I did some other workouts (e.g. Freeletics Poseidon: 50 pull-ups, 50 push-ups). That then cost the rest of the time.

My problem-solving strategies and what you can learn from them:

It is important to listen to your body.

If you have been training for a long time, at some point you will get a feel for it and then you will be able to better estimate when you need a break.

If you haven’t been around that long, periodize your training sense. It can look like you put in a regeneration week every four weeks in which you only do low-intensity training. You can find out more about the training principles here.

A little sickness is sometimes very healthy.

Because: Regeneration is also part of training and you have to accept breaks if you want to develop yourself further. If you don’t do this, you increase the chance of getting injured and sick.

As far as injury prevention is concerned, I can only advise you to warm up sufficiently (5 minutes is the minimum!) and to work regularly with a blackroll. You should also keep an eye on your mobility and flexibility.

Should an injury occur anyway, your doctor and/or physiotherapist will certainly help you.

How to get your fear of failure under control

We meet her every day.The fear of failure does not only come across in training, in losing weight and in our endeavors to lead a healthy life.

The good thing about it: If you learn to overcome them as part of your physical development, you also learn how to put them to flight in other areas.

There are more people who capitulate than those who fail.

So next time you think about whether you can do something, think about the following:

Stand above it all!

Sure, you have to overcome yourself: If you want what you’ve never had, do what you’ve never done.

Nevertheless, you should never take failure personally. You only failed when you lay down.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without losing your enthusiasm. Winston Churchill

Consider what can be possible!

If you don’t align your actions with your goals, you will regret it. Think about the pain you might feel because you didn’t even try. He can be your drive.

But with regular training, confidence in me and my abilities also increased.And hey: I started adjusting my training and diet to my goals a good year ago. Back then, a muscle up was still as far away for me, as Liechtenstein was from the European Football Championship.

And then at some point I thought: Why not? Yes, we can.

Have a plan B handy!

Imagine your success, pat yourself on the chest, scream. Do whatever helps you to get started.

Change your habits!

Sometimes the fear of failure just comes because you’re used to it. If you then change your approach – whatever – you can cheat the fear.

Hold on!

Sounds easier than it is, I know. Nevertheless, the following still applies: Those who give up never win, winners never give up.

You can find even more tips to overcome your fear of failure at

The video with my first muscle-ups

The challenge ended with the following challenge: How many muscle ups can you do in one minute?

I did 3.

And I’ll tell you one thing: It was really a great feeling up there, even if I hit my head lightly on the ceiling.

However, it takes some time to realize how much training and dedication it really took to get up there. That almost knocked me out.

It’s unbelievable what we humans are capable of when we really work consistently towards a goal.

I also wish you this moment of happiness, regardless of whether you are creating your first muscle-up, pull-up or any other difficult exercise.

Back to my first Muscle Up attempts: I am still a long way from being satisfied with the execution. I would rather call them “hang and choke”.

To save my honor: I had hardly any space to swing and no continuous bar, which made things a little more difficult.

Still: I can’t do a Stict Muscle Up (one without swinging) at the moment. The Kipping Muscle Up (with swing arm) works quite well – with enough space and a continuous bar.

How I would change the challenge

You are always smarter later. Logical.

So here are a few things that I would change about my Muscle Up Challenge if I did it again:

  • Find a pull-up bar that is really stable, high enough to swing, and with enough space on the top to practice negative muscle ups.
  • chin-up step intervals incorporate into the training. You can find out more about step intervals in this article.
  • Include more workouts (e.g. from Freeletics) such as Krios, Triton, etc. – all workouts that include enough pull-ups.
  • Do the pull-ups consciously explosively and as high above the bar as possible.
  • Include Archer pull-ups in your training.
  • Integrate the transition movement intensively into the training (i.e. converting a pull-up into a dip).
  • Work with resistance bands that will take some of your weight off.
  • Train with the YKings PBT app.


It is never easy to push your limits.

But it’s worth it.


Either so that you get to know your limits or so that you can exceed them.

Whatever the outcome: Before it gets that far, one thing comes first: The courage to start!

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