Quest for the Muscle-Up: My Beginner's Workout

After a few week's of playing around on the monkey bar's at Barshaw Park, working on my terrible (as they were at the time) pull-up's to break up a 10km run to and from Paisley, I decided that the main intermediate move that I wanted to work towards was the 'muscle-up'.

The muscle-up is a seriously explosive, powerful and technical combination of movements involving two individual basic exercises; pull-up's and dip's.

In the video below, there is a good example of what a muscle-up looks like - video originally posted by Barbarians2k on Youtube.

As you can see from that video, a calisthenics newbie would have a long way to go before being able to complete this movement, let alone 20 rep's!

After watching a few more random Youtube tutorials, I soon realised that in order to work towards this movement, I was going to have to seriously work on my core and more, as opposed to just focusing on my upper body as I had been initially.

Previously, as part of my initial searches on social media and Google for inspirational video's and UK calisthenics enthusiasts, I came across an Instagram account called @incitefitness. Incite Fitness is an outdoor gym equipment supply and installation company run by a guy called Neill Timms. Neill also has an active Youtube channel, offering how-to video tutorials to inspire and help other people - the Youtube channel was originally founded in 2009, before the supply and installation company itself.

As part of my previously mentioned meeting with local Councillor, Cathy McEwan, I had used some of Neill's products and examples of installations to make up my rough cost estimations. Following the meeting, I got in touch with Neill and asked him to offer me some quotes based around a range of budgets - I will post details of my actual proposals at a later date.

Neill is a top fella and his @incitefitness Instagram page and InciteFitness Youtube channel is a brilliant resource for any calisthenics enthusiast. I have honestly learnt so much just from refreshing my Instagram feed on a daily basis.

In particular, two recent Youtube video's caught my attention and I knew straight away that these were two really good tutorials to help me put together my beginner's workout and work towards my first muscle-up.

Firstly, I watched 'How to start calisthenics; 10 pull up bar exercises':

Following that, I watched '5 best abs exercises on dip bars...':

As you can see, in these two video's alone, there is a huge range of exercises for a beginner to explore and work on, as long as they have access to a pull-up bar and parallel dip bars - and as you know, I have access to alternatives at Barshaw Park.

So, using these two video's, and other bits and pieces I found online, I created the following workout:

10 x pull-up
10 x chin-up
10 x hanging knee raise
10 x diamond push-up
10 x knee raise
10 x dip
10 x leg raise
10 x inverted row
10 x pistol squat (each leg)

(Click each link for a Youtube tutorial explaining how to do each exercise)

I complete these nine exercises, in that order, twice over, before finishing off with a final maximal set of pull-ups to make sure I put everything in!

At first I wasn't able to complete a full set of 10 for every exercise, but after four or five weeks since I started this workout, I am now able to complete sets of 10 in just about every exercise twice.

Obviously I am not a calisthenics expert like Neill Timms (yet), but based on my own results, I would recommend a workout like this to start your calisthenics journey. I am now stronger, with visibly more aesthetic shape than I had previously. I'm not saying this will definitely be the same for you, but you won't go wrong if you follow Neill's Incite Fitness on all available social media platforms!

Good luck! Why not let me know how you get on?

You can find @InciteFitnessUK on Twitter, here.

Or @incitefitness on Instagram, here.

Or even on Youtube, here.


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