Fitness training on gymnastic rings
What is the Ring Muscle Up?
The muscle-up is an incredible upper body manoeuvre which essentially combines a pull-up and dip into one compound move. It's a notorious ring exercise that eludes most people without some dedicated and consistent training to achieve.
If you really want to challenge yourself and achieve something great on the rings then conquering the muscle-up would be a worthy goal.
This exercise calls into play almost all of the upper body and focuses upon the pectorals, shoulders and triceps.
How to complete a Muscle-up
The muscle-up is carried out by completing a pull-up on the rings, and instead of stopping at the chin you continue the movement until the arms are straightened and the body is fully raised above the rings (like the support position). You then lower the body as per the Ring Dip and continue back down to the original hanging position below the rings. This is one repetition.
This stages for this exercise are broken down below:
- Stage One: Pull-up
- Stage Two: Trasition
- Stage Three: Dip
See the pull-up exercise for a detailed description. Pull yourself up to the rings in a slow controlled manner.
The transition stage is the most difficult part of the exercise, and involves moving from below the rings (the top of the pull-up) to above them (the bottom of the dip) so that you can press yourself up into the support position, which is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
At the top of the pull-up the rings should be up next to your armpits. Keep the rings in tight with the body and close together whilst moving your shoulders forward and over your hands. Your elbows should curve round to your ribs and then back behind your body. From this point you can push your body straight up into the support.
To achieve this you will need to master the false grip which is described below in the ‘Training for a Muscle-up’ section.
The final phase is the ring dip, see the dip section for a detailed description. At this stage you should be in the ring support position, simply lower yourself slowly down and continue moving until hanging underneath the rings .
Training for a Muscle-up
You should start by mastering the ring pull-up and ring dip. Once achieved you can train specifically on what is effectively the transition between these two exercises into one fluid muscle up manoeuvre. The transition is the most difficult part of the exercise and the false grip can be crucial in overcoming this.
The False Grip:
The false grip is an alternative method of gripping the rings which allows you to more easily move between the stages of the muscle-up. You simply move your hands upwards, shifting focus on to the bottom of your palms and wrists to support bodyweight rather than the hands and fingers, whilst still using your thumb around the ring for additional stability.
You may struggle with this hand position at first so you can ease yourself into the false-grip muscle-up by first performing false grip chin-ups or body-rows to build up the requisite wrist strength and develop your technique.
If you are struggling with the muscle-up please see the hints below:
- Ensure you have mastered the false grip, pull-up and dip as individual exercises in their own right before moving on to the muscle-up. Weighted chin-up or dips will go a long way to building the required strength for a muscle-up.
- Keep the rings close to the body. This makes the move easier and gives more control over your movement.
- You can also lower the height of the rings so you can jump into the manoeuvre using the impetus to carry you through.
- Use the legs to help master the transition by swinging forward and upwards for extra momentum. As you become more proficient you can phase out the use of the legs altogether.