This Is Why You Should Only Do Bar Muscle-Ups On Straight Bars

Editor’s Note: Before proceeding into this article, we want to give full disclosure that the video below isn’t for the faint of heart. If injuries upset you, then we suggest not watching the video, or scrolling through to the next post.

Washington D.C. based strength athlete Drew Nicolette recently shared a muscle-up fail video that provides us with a friendly reminder. The reminder is that bar muscle-ups, especially for newer strength athletes, should always be performed on single, straight bars — and definitely not double bars that could catch an errant forearm.

Nicolette performed his muscle up on the middle pull-up bar section on one of those generic cable crossover machines. These handles have rubber grips and are angled slightly down with space between the grip and rack. This makes the completion of successful muscle-ups increasingly more difficult and dangerous. Check out Nicolette’s video below, and keep the sound off if you’re queasy with bone breaking injury sounds.

In Nicolette’s video description he writes, “It was only 2 years ago since I broke my arm when I was trying to attempt a muscle up… I was so small and weak after having surgery to put in 2 plates and 12 screws. Still to this day, I feel pain all around my left forearm but that’s not going to stop me from doing what I love! Even with setbacks just remember to take things one day at a time and stay positive through out the whole process!”

Props to Nicolette for overcoming his injury and sharing his personal anecdote of self-improvement publicly. What did his arm look like? Check out the image below of Nicolette’s forearm post muscle-up fail.

Injuries and setbacks happen, and they’re never easy to overcome, especially for the avid strength athlete. Sometimes though, injuries are a blessing in disguise and come with lessons that build us into better athletes.

Muscle-ups are no easy feat, and this video is a great example of why using the right equipment is so important. We’ve seen our fair share of impressive muscle-ups, but it’s always important to remember that there’s another side of the spectrum. Not every lift is going to be perfect, and not every day is going to go accordingly.

Feature image screenshot from @dc_fitness7 Instagram page. 


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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.