T Nation

Muscle-ups or Chins and Dips Seperate?


If I can do 6-8 muscle ups, is that better than doing a heavier weight on chinups and dips seperately? you would be getting more power thus overall force, and the intensity would be higher.
You can still get mighty big from doing powerful movements rather than slower heavier movements, for the same reps, so I thought technically I would be better off doing muscle-ups.


No. Power does not equal intensity. Power is also different from force. Given the same effort in doing muscle-ups compared to chins and dips, overall force would be the same. The effects are different, though. Nevertheless, neither is better than the other.


I think of it as power = work/time. Do a fast pull up compared to a slow one, you are producing more power. Do a muscle-up, moving a mass a greater distance ie more work, in the same time as a pull up, you are producing more power. I think of intensity as sustained work. I saw in one of the crossfit videos, they actually calculated an average horsepower based on the amount of reps done, the distance the weight moved, and the time it took to complete the workout. It was like x horsepower sustained for x minutes. Its an interesting way to look at things I think.

I see no reason to stop doing weighted dips,pulls, and chins for solely muscle ups. You can do a slow muscle up just like a slow pull up. You can kip your body over the bar/rings or whatever just like you can with a pull up. Doing 10 muscle ups is probably harder than doing 10 pull ups, but if you can do 10 muscle ups you can do more than 10 pull ups.

They’re all good exercises, but if you are looking to get stronger and more powerful, I’d do all 3 regularly.


One muscle-up is significantly more difficult (and beneficial) than one pullup + dip. The overall force would not be the same.

You must take into account the incr. force production aspect of the false grip, which is needed; the transition phase is a power phase; in addition to the increased instability of the mode used, in this case the rings.

If you can do muscle-ups (few can) then by all means continuing to perform them is the best way to increase your performance in that specific exercise. However, definitely continue doing weighted chins and dips, as these are your supplementary movements to also add to your muscle-ups.


Hmm I can do quite a few muscle ups on a pullup bar (no access to rings), but I never actually thought of using it in my training; I just do it for fun occasionally. That is because I find it difficult to distinguish between using momentum and using power (produced by the muscles) to complete the movement. I also find it difficult to track progression, since I seem to be able to do more muscle-ups by improving my technique, so I’m not sure whether I’m actually getting stronger from doing them.

Any tips on incorporating them into my lifting?