Getting Your FIRST Bar Muscle-up #2

This list of “Prerequisites"

Last week, I gave you guys the tools to hit your first Strict Pull-up

This week, I’m giving you guys the tools to get your first toes to the bar!

The Toe to the bar, like the strict pull-up, requires a focus on certain muscle groups to achieve a successful rep.

Grip is incredibly important when it comes to the Toe To Bar. If you can’t hang on the rig, how do you expect to perform countless repetitions as your lats, and core are fatiguing as well?

Grip is an essential part of capacity when it comes to the toes to bar, and for many with strong upper bodies, can be the limiting factor to producing quality repetitions.


If we are a ship, our Arch body position is our sails, you are not going anywhere without a sound Arch position, and just like sails requiring wind to provide propulsive force via a combination of lift and drag, your body requires the Arch to counteract the incoming momentum, and produce the power required to get your toes to the bar.

Responsible for getting our legs high enough (being supported by the hamstrings) to the bar, Our hip flexors are an underappreciated muscle group for the toe to bar. Similar to weak grip, weak hip flexors can limit how many times we can successfully get our feet to the bar, combined with tight hamstrings, you might have the technique, but without the strength in the hip flexors, your toe to bar dreams are just that.

Opposite to the Arch, the hollow body position, if performed correctly, places us in the most mechanically advantageous position to perform effortless toes to bar. By having this position mastered, we require less Lat, Core, and Hip flexor activation, as our body will be naturally closer to the bar. Neglect this position and you’ll be relying on the concentric muscle contractions that have a limited time use.

The biggest supporting muscle during the toe to bar, our lats are what’s going to control our upper body on the rig, through the arch and hollow positions. The lack of activation and tension in the lats can cause our kip swing to be unstable, our hip flexors and hamstrings will have far more demand placed on them.

Getting your first pull-up gets you most of the way there, however, developing the shapes of the HOLLOW and ARCH positions, combined with more specific strength for the HIP FLEXORS, LATS, CORE and GRIP can rapidly improve our toe to bar ability

Muscle Up Pre Requisite

Hollow/Arch Positions

  • Strong Shapes = Easy Toes To Bar
  • Developing these positions will have a massive carryover to our bar muscle-up, as the bar muscle-up utilises the Hollow and Arch positions 
  •  Building Strength from the floor, and on the rig will be key

Lats, Core & Hip Flexion

  • Developing Strong Lats and core, just like the pull-up, allows us to maintain the shapes of the hollow and arch positions while on the rig. Hip flexion and extension are what generate the power in the Toe to the bar.
  • I like to think; Arch generates momentum, Hollow Closes the gap, and having strong lats, core, and hip flexion can allow us to do this
  • GHD Hollow/Sorenson Holds, Kneeling Lat Pulldown, and Inverted Toes To Bar are just some good exercises I like to use


  • Can’t hold your body weight for the 20s? How do you expect to do more than 20s of toes to the bar?
  • Developing your grip allows you to focus more on your shapes, and less on holding on!

Pinch Grip Plate Carries, Farmers Carries/Holds, and Large Beat Kips are my favourite for this!

Add these exercises into your routine, check out the free “First Toe To Bar Guide” to accelerate your progress to ticking off this prerequisite!



Coach | Beast | Trainer


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