Muscle Up – For Size, Performance, Definition

Get Big. Scare Children.

The Muscle Up program is a method of training used within the Underground System that will enhance muscle growth and increase separation. The advantage of this system is the functional nature of the exercises that will help grow muscle uniformly around the body, additionally targeting small muscles usually forgotten in the gym setting. You will grow muscle while maintaining functional strength across 3 dimensions (up/down/left/right as opposed to just front/back or left/right). This is extremely important for sports, where varying movement requires strength and power at many different angles. Heavy bench pressing for example would be of little benefit to an athlete whose sole purpose is not pushing something forward.

To maximise hypertrophy (the growth of muscle) you have to work with heavy weights. You’re not going to build much muscle if you’re lifting light weights, which is more suitable for fat burning (toning – Melt Down). In a workout such as that in The Underground System toning is inevitable, as you are performing so much work in a short space of time. Your heart’s pumping, and the burning sensation you feel is the burn off of calories as heat. You could not become a bodybuilder in this class, but that’s not why you’re here. You are here to be fit, lean, and functionally superior. That said, it doesn’t mean we can’t put on a good bit of muscle in the process.

The general instructions for the Muscle Up program are relatively easy to grasp. You simply need to perform clean reps of as heavy a weight possible in the strength exercises. This means that in all the exercises we do involving kettlebells, dumbbells, bars or even yourself as resistance, you need to perform the exercise with great muscular control,  and as heavy as possible. If a weight is too heavy or too advanced to perform correctly, lower the resistance (or drop down from advanced to intermediate), and continue in good form. Doing things correctly will increase your likelihood of being able to correctly perform the lift/exercise next time you tackle it. A good slow lowering tempo is key.

The process of lengthening and shortening muscle fibres under control is what weight lifting is. If you perform an exercise too heavily or with bad technique, other muscles not meant to be involved will kick in to compensate, and you will develop back posture, poor muscle alignment, and possibly get injured.

Muscle building and strength development go hand in hand. You develop strength in order to lift heavier weights that will develop muscle. What also governs strength along with size is your body’s motor units. A motor unit contains a number of muscle fibres that it is responsible to contract. Lifting heavy weights has an effect on your muscles causing them to grow, and also on your motor units that improve your ability to perform that movement (like your muscles get better from practice). Your body’s central nervous system (CNS) is responsible for activating your muscles to flex/extend (move). Remember a time in your life when you lifted something very heavy, like furniture. You would not have really felt it in your muscles. It felt more like a body shock. These types of heavy strenuous movements are fired by your high threshold motor units.

You must train these higher threshold motor units with heavy weight to increase your chances of handling heavy weights in other exercises. If you train your body to lift a very heavy aqua bag even a few times, your body will be more adaptive to lifting heavier kettlebells in your swing etc. So you need strength to lift bigger, and it is in lifting bigger that muscle gets stimulated to grow.

As well as focusing on heavy weights where possible, you must also develop power. Power is defined as the maximum exertion of strength within a short burst movement. Power is like strength and speed combined. Power can be seen in a boxer’s punch or a footballer jumping high for a header. Excelling in the power based exercises of the class will increase strength and muscle size, by stimulating both the muscle tissue and the motor units of your central nervous system. You need only look at a sprinter to see how power affects the aesthetics of your body. Powerful muscles are lean, separated and Vascular (visible veins).

To enable you to perform at your maximal level in these exercises, you must sacrifice some of the energy spent on the cardio exercises (laps, jump jacks, skipping etc.). These exercises are great for fat burning and fitness, but to tip the scales more towards building strength and size you must pull back on your cardio intensity. Instead of hammering down in the cardio, go at a slower pace to slowly steady your heart rate. This will enable you to gather enough energy to perform maximal weight with good technique on the following strength/power exercises. Try to create balance where you increase cardio output (raise heart rate) in laps/skipping etc. while being able to lift heavy weights for good reps in following strength exercises.


In regards to diet, muscle loves carbohydrates and requires protein. Proteins (amino acids) are the building blocks of muscle. You are essentially eating an animal’s muscle when eat meat.  The Muscle Up Meal Plan is the diet guide supply’s you with the carbohydrates needed to perform exercise intensely, and the protein required to recover and grow. When you perform exercises (heavy lifts especially) your body is burning off an energy source found within your muscles.  There are a few different types of energy that your muscle uses in order, all deriving from sugars (carbohydrates).  After exercise, if you eat a good dose of carbohydrates, these energy stores can “supercompensate”. This means your muscles can almost fill to the brim with glycogen (one of the energy forms), enabling them to lift slightly heavier than the last time.  This is why carbohydrates are so important to weight lifters and athletes.

Protein is transported to muscle with the carbohydrates, where they act as building blocks repairing damaged muscle, which will build bigger than before (especially in the presence of supercompensation).

Eating big and lifting big is required to get big. The beauty of the system is that if you see yourself putting on unwanted fat with muscle, you can supplement in a Melt Down workout a week, or just switch to the Melt Down program for a period of time. It’s all scalable and changeable. We are here to help you achieve your desired look or performance.  If you have any questions just ask, and be sure to check out the blog regularly for tips and tricks to maximise muscle growth.

Lift Big my brothers.

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