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Drums or Flats? Not Here! How To Not "Chicken Wing" Your Muscle-Up.

atlanta crossfit decatur dr. caleb muscle-up muscles performance physical therapy shoulder strength training Apr 14, 2023

So you’re trying to get a strict muscle-up and you find that one of your arms is constantly chicken winging over the bar. What do you do about it and how do you fix it? Keep reading to find out. 


What is a chicken wing? 


A chicken wing fault is when one of your arms gets over the bar during the transition phase of the muscle-up before your other arm.


Why do you need to get rid of it? 


The simple answer to this question is to make your muscle-up legitimate but more importantly, you need to get rid of this fault because it puts your shoulders in an awkward position and increases your risk of a shoulder, elbow, or wrist injury during your training. 


Most common reasons causing your chicken wing


  1. You’re not strong enough - This might be a hard pill to swallow but the most likely reason for a chicken wing is you’re not able to produce enough power to adequately get your body over the bar.
  2. Your technique needs work - One key element of the strict bar muscle-up is the necessity of a C-shaped path which takes you around the bar as well as over it. If you’re trying to do a muscle-up the same way you would perform a pull-up you’re  not going to achieve the movement.


How do I fix it?


If you lack strength: 

  • Aimlessly attempting muscle-ups with poor form is a waste of time. Instead, implement part practice where you train the different aspects of the muscle-ups separately. This includes training the pull-up, transition, and bar dip individually. 
    • Pull-up Training: weighted pull-ups in the 3-6 rep per set range and explosive high pull-ups (attempting to get your belly button, waist, etc. to the level of the bar) with or without a super band in the 3-6 rep per set range. 
    • Dip Training: regular and bar dips weighted or unweighted in the 5-10 rep per set range. 
    • Transition Training: practicing the transition of the muscle-up with your feet supported on the ground and using a barbell and rig setup in the 10-20 rep per set range. 

If your technique needs work: 

  • This aspect is easier to fix especially if you already have the necessary strength and power 
    • C-shaped path: in order to properly execute this aspect, the initiation of the pull phase must begin slightly further underneath the bar 
      • A small sway forward (not a kip) more underneath the bar is the first thing that needs to happen. Once this occurs, the pull is initiated which creates the proper bar path


Try these out and let me know how it goes!


Also, if you’re in the Atlanta area struggling with any sort of injury limiting you from doing the things you love, give Athletes' Potential a call at 470-355-2106 or fill out a contact request form and we will reach out to you. 


Ready to Come Work With Us?


All the best, 

Dr. Caleb, PT, DPT, CSCS

Let us help you figure out to live your best active life today! 

 Remember, Movement is Medicine! 

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