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  • Melissa Sidki

How to Ring Muscle up

You can do all the pull ups and dips in the world but you will never get your ring muscle up.


Why? Because you may not be breaking down the movement itself, rather than fluidly moving through the rings you are trying to apply sheer force and muscle yourself into it, which is far more dangerous and looks ugly.


I am going to break the movement down into 3 steps. The strength needed, drills and the transition.


Step 1 - The Strength

Before you even attempt on breaking down the movement you need to make sure that you have the strength to be able to perform the skill itself. Ultimately you will need to master a high ring pull up in order to easily transition your weight into the dip and you will also need to have a solid dip so you can push yourself up from the bottom of the dip.


I would recommend only attempting the ring muscle up if you can get:

- 10 Consecutive strict pull ups in a row (overhand bar grip)

- 8-10 Consecutive dips (past or at 90 degree)

(If your pull ups are strong and consecutive I would suggest that your next goal would be to master an L Sit pull up, this can help unlock new skills in the future on the rings due to the bodies position and weight distribution)


If you are yet to achieve your pull up then head over to my blog on how to master your first pull up to give you a starting point.


Once you have both movements lockdown you need to take them to the rings. This is because: 1. Dips on the rings will help you work on your shoulder stability making you feel more comfortable with the apparatus. The trick here is to constantly think about keeping the rings close to your body, you'll find that even a straight arm tuck hold or plank or even a push up is far more challenging on the rings than the parallettes or dip bars, a high level of control and body awareness is required on the rings.

2. You should try performing false grip high pull ups, the only way to practice this is by learning how to apply the false grip onto the rings. The more comfortable you get with your false grip the easier it is going to be for you to transition into your dip. Below I have found a video to help you understand the false grip which I would recommend watching - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6TI7xxeGhw&t=179s


3. False grip Isometric hold. This exercise is going to help you to build maximal strength in the top position of a pull up before the transition takes place. By being strong in this position means that you will be able to withstand more forces, it will ultimately give you the strength to fight for that muscle up because you have trained your body to stay in the end position for long periods of time. I would recommend aiming to hold this position anywhere from 40-60s for 5 rounds.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPTAASNrvXH/?utm_medium=copy_link - Please refer to the second exercise.



Step 2 - The Drills

There are most certainly endless amounts of videos online with exercises you can do to master your muscle up and "drills" you can implement into a training program for you to achieve them. However simplicity is key here. There's never any point in doing any sort of fancy workout or exercise if its purpose is not clear.


Here are a few drills that I would personally suggest. Below I have found youtube videos to help give you a visual.

  1. The Negative ring muscle up

I have spoken a lot about eccentric loading in my blog on how to master your first pull up, If you are not aware of what a negative is then please refer to that blog first.

Below is a Video of a negative Ring Muscle Up, please refer to the 4th Video, you may scale this down by removing the box and keeping your feet on the floor. This will give you some assistance managing your weight. Gymnastic bodies is a great page to be following.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPTAASNrvXH/?utm_medium=copy_link


Below is a video from the Movement Fix, although the majority of the video is of them talking they do cover some very valid and useful points, they also speak about the movement in depth which will give you a better grasp and understanding of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRE5-FYwV2g


The transitioning phase drills

The hardest part of this movement is transitioning between your pull up into your dip. This is where being mobile can work to your advantage if you have the strength to push up from a dip. The more mobile you are in your wrists and shoulders you will be able to transition to a lower dip position as your mobility will easily allow you to thread through the rings, this means that you won't need as much strict high pull strength to master this skill.


Now in terms of speed, the strict ring muscle up can be performed slowly with control however if it is your first time trying to do them or you are on your way to achieving your muscle up you are going to want to move with speed and power.


Imagine your body almost like a recoil, in your starting position (in this case a dead hang) you need to explode up fast and high enough in your pull up and quickly transition into that low dip. This is where you can breath in take a second and use your force again to explode up through your dip into a straight arm hold.

Learning how to move fast and slow, and knowing when to breath and apply force in this skill is going to benefit you a lot and how quickly you will be able to master your muscle up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hjF99ed5Pc- Check out this video to see the transition from a concentric perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bCIOJACd7I - Absolute INCREDIBLE scaled exercise for you to try with the feet on the floor.


Whats next?

Practice, practice, practice. Majority of the time there is no right or wrong to a training program, it all depends on how you approach training and what you want from a plan.

If you are one to see this as play time then you can always train this movement as and when you want to work on it. However if you are determined to master your ring muscle up then a good program or workout plan should be put in place. This is where things get a little tricky and where you may need a PT or a professionals advice.


If I was to be very vague here I would suggest that you try and work on this skill 3x a week if you are yet to accomplish it and want to master the ring muscle up.


Practice, consistency and mindset is all that matters here.


Good Luck!