Let’s talk about the false grip. Considering I have explained it in the Muscle-Up Tutorial I wouldn’t expect people to be asking about further explanation. However I often receive requests for additional explanation and tips. That’s why I took some time to photograph the muscle-up grip on the pull-up bar and will now explain again.
Let me begin by encouraging those of you who went through numerous videos and articles regarding the false grip but still can’t get it. Friends, do NOT get frustrated. Even if you have enough strength but don’t position your palm on the bar properly you will fail the no-momentum muscle-up. That was the case with me too. It took me several months to understand the false grip because there was nobody to show me in real life what I was doing wrong. I kept trying the muscle-up but with every attempt I kept placing my palm wrong on the bar. Further read and you will understand what I mean.
Before looking at any photos or explaining anything think of your normal pull-up bar grip. Now ask yourself why do you grab it like that? Furthermore all of us position our palms on the bar the same way when we execute pull-ups, not just you. Why? Because naturally everyone grabs the bar the way it’s most convenient and comfortable for him and since our bodies are very much alike in their essence we all find the comfort in the same way we grip. What I am saying here is that the false grip does not feel natural, nor comfortable. You will have to understand the principle behind it before adopting it.
The false Grip
Above you can see 3 photos from different angles of the false grip. Click on any of them to enlarge. Keep your eyes on how I have positioned my palm on the bar! There are several things that I want to explain here:
1. You want the bar at the very end of your palm. Why? Because the closer the bar to the ending of your wrist the easier you will turn your wrist over it in order to get into a dip.
2. Keeping the bar at the end of your wrist benefits you for one more reason. Once you turn your wrist over the bar, the bar will end up right under your forearm bones(ulna and radius). The palms’ position when performing dips is very similar. Otherwise you will create unnecessary tension in your wrists.
3. Distance from the bar. During the transition you want to keep the pull-up bar as close to your body as you can. The closer, the easier it will feel.
After we are done with the explanation of the grip let’s see it in action. Below I have posted a number of high quality photos of the muscle-up transition. This way you can look closely how I execute and manipulate the grip in order to perform a slow and controlled muscle-up.
Two things to point out here:
1. Once I finish with the transition and my shoulders get above the bar’s height I start leaning forward aiming to recreate the lowest part of a dip. For that matter you want your shoulders above your palms. Do not waste any time and once you get your shoulders in line with the bar start focusing onto leaning forward.
2. Notice where my thumbs are at the beginning of the transition and where they end up at its end. That is a personal preference, it helps me “secure” the grip and I feel more comfortable with it. You can try it like this or keep your thumbs from one side of the bar during the whole movement.
Now let’s look at 3 more photos taken from the side this time:
Again, pay attention to how close the bar is to my body.
Now let’s watch a video of the movement as well:
How to keep the bar there during the pull-up? As I said above, it will feel very weird and uncomfortable to pull yourself up like that. Well nobody gets this skill at birth so it’s all about little practice here. The small secret with this grip is to press with your fingers against the bar so this way the bar will be locked in the right spot. If you find it hard to keep the bar positioned at that area of your palm during a pull-up then start practising pull-ups in a false grip. Your goal is to achieve 5 controlled pull-ups in a false grip. It’s very important that you don’t lose your grip!
Also if you have rubber bands you can perform this exercise to build up more strength for the transition part.
If you still experience problems or have any questions let me know in the comments below!