The muscle up is not an easy movement to master. It requires a lot of strength and practice to execute even just one. Since the muscle up is one of the hardest upper body exercises, being able to perform this movement is a huge accomplishment for any athlete.
Essentially, the muscle up is a pull-up followed by a dip. Before even getting on the rings, make sure you can complete a strict pull-up and a strict dip. These exercises will transition over into the rings and if you can’t complete them on their own, you won’t be able to do them in a muscle up.
CrossFit Games athlete, Scott Panchik, shares the three steps for mastering the ring muscle up. Visuals for all of these steps can be seen in the video below.
Step 1: Master the Pull-Up
Once you’re ready for the rings, it’s time to work on a false grip pull. To grip the rings, bring your wrist all the way up through the top of the ring. Grip the ring up high. Once grip is in place, get yourself in a hanging position and lock out the elbows. Pull your body up to the rings and trace your ribcage with the rings to bring your body through. At this point, you will be in the bottom dip position.
Step 2: Develop the Dip
When you pull up and catch into your first muscle up, you’re going to be in the deepest part of the dip position. If you can’t press up out of this position, you won’t be able to complete the full muscle up. To establish strength for this movement, Scott recommends doing the following:
- Start in the top position on the rings
- Bring your body down and pause for 2-3 seconds
- Press up and out of the bottom position
- Do a total of 5 sets of 5 reps
You can also practice bottom to top jumping dips. For these, start in the bottom position of the dip and jump just enough to get out of that position, while still utilizing your arms and triceps. This is a good way to get used to being in that bottom position and pressing out of it.
Step 3: Use Your Hips
Using your hips to assist with the muscle up can create a huge advantage. The key is to have your hips working simultaneously with your pull-up to create momentum that will bring your body up into the rings. This will allow you to get into the bottom dip position a lot more efficiently. Practicing hollow rocks can help you get familiar with this body movement.
Once you nail all these steps and your strength is built up, it’s time to link them together and complete your first muscle up. Keep in mind that like anything, it may take some practice and a few tries to get there.
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