The first time I saw someone do a ring muscle up was a co worker of mine.
I was really fascinated and thought “I can do that, I’m great at pull ups!” I was quickly humbled.
That was in 2012. That day led me down a gymnastics journey that I still love to this day. In fact,
focusing on gymnastics really helped me excel in Crossfit once I begin competing in 2013.
Today I’m going to:
- Give you some progressions for ring muscle up
- Give you a step by step playlist on how to perform the ring muscle up
- I will also share a video where I took a client of mine who couldn’t perform one muscle up and by the end of the video he does he first one.
Check out my gymnastics training program here. I guide athletes through a training program to help them get stronger, improve position, do muscle ups and more.
Ring Muscle Up
In the photo above I said you don’t have to be ripped to do a “mu” muscle up.
You probably already have the strength* to do one.
Most of you struggle with the technique and do zero drills.
*More on the strength requirements later.
I’m confident that if you follow these step by step progressions that when you actually attempt your
rep you will EFFORTLESS achieve your ring muscle up.
So stick around, I’ll be giving you a step by step progression.
Strength Requirements To Be ABLE To Do Ring Muscle Up
I’m a huge believer in having the proper foundation first.
I don’t care if you are learning how to do a:
- Handstand push up
- L Sit
- Romanian Deadlift
- Back Squat, Deadlift, Power Clean, Snatch, Jerk, etc you get the idea
Having the adequate mobility, stability and strength is the first thing we should focus on.
That way you don’t get on the rings and rip your arms out of socket.
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…simple click harder or easier.
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You should be able to:
Below I have a table that I have created after working with clients since 2008 gathering and collecting
data on what strength level is required to be able to do muscle ups.
|Level||Strict Pull Up||Strict Dip||Push Up||Support Hold|
|Min Requirement||5+||5+||15+||10 seconds|
If you look at this and are thinking…
…geez that strict pulling numbers are kind of high that’s because strict pulling strength is very
Too many athletes I know focus on kipping (we will get there) and not enough strict pulling strength.
Improve your strength pushing and pulling strength and all of the muscle up progressions below will be
Muscle Up Progression
The harder the skill…
…the more progressions there are.
In Crossfit we challenge your ability to perform several skills. The ring muscle up being one of
the most challenging skills requiring strength, stability and technique.
In the steps below I’ll give you video tutorials on exactly how to ring muscle up (strict or kipping)
Muscle Up Progression #1
Now, you are going to see this drill and quickly realize two things:
- this hurts (the false grip)
- and this makes sense on why you can’t get on TOP of the rings.
You don’t always have to have this grip.
But, to learn it’s a must.
It’s going to help you with your transitions to get on top of the rings.
I was performing false grip pull ups in the video…
…the biggest take away is being familiar with the false grip itself.
You may start off with just false grip hangs like this.
Muscle Up Progression #2
This is a very EASY drill.
The first drill we taught you the false grip. This video I’m just wanting you to get comfortable with the
transition and begin to feel what it’s like to be on top of the rings preparing for the ring support
Doing this drill just makes like you will be able to do one right?!
That’s the idea of course.
Next, we want to begin to challenge your stability in the bottom of the rings.
Stay patient and spend some time studying and practicing each progression.
Muscle Up Progression #3
For this variation we are going to remove some of the strict pulling strength required and use a band.
Because I want to take the two things we have learned first:
- false grip
- transition to bottom of rings
And combine them.
This drill is still challenging.
Kipping variations are coming don’t worry.
I highly encourage you to build this foundation of strict strength first.
Now, if you were having a difficult time getting to the bottom of the muscle up still you aren’t the only
This drill is still very hard.
The speed and strength that is needed is a lot.
But you are here to get better so I know you want this!
Side note. Doing drills, watching youtube videos are great but nothing will help you reach your results faster than getting a coach and following a program. You can check out our gymnastics program here.
Muscle Up Progression #4
You thought you had to be fast with the band…
…you are going to have to be very fast to do this drill.
Trust me though guys/gals if you continue to practice this drills first when you get on the high rings
you are going to effortlessly float on top of the rings and let out a ROAR like Adam did.
I filmed a 15 minute coaching video with Adam I’ll be posting below. Beginning of the video couldn’t do one muscle up…at the end…he got his first 🙂
Last drill before I get you to the high rings!
Before we start to practice kipping which is coming up next I wanted to give you another drill to remind
you of how aggressive your turnover (transition) is going to need to be.
Muscle Up Progression #5
This drill is getting you used to getting your knees…
and then finish the drill with an aggressive hip pop.
All the drills prior have been about pulling strength and transitioning.
The next few I’m going to teach you how you can land in the bottom of the dip position with ease by
using your HIPS!
It’s a silly I know but it’s a must.
Remember throughout all of these muscle up progressions I’m trying to make it to where when you
actually get to the final step that you do it effortlessly because…
…you learned all the drills prior.
Next up, let me teach you how to do that same drill now on the rings. So that you can get your body
completely vertical like this:
Muscle Up Progression #6
The photo above is taken from this drill below.
Notice how my body is completely horizontal?
It looks like I’m just floating?
…I kind of am.
This video below is going to teach how to do get your body to be completely horizontal so that all you
have to do is to a really fast “sit up” and boom you are going to nail your ring muscle up.
Throughout this entire muscle up progression playlist we have talked about the strict pulling strength
needed and the importance of a fast transition.
One thing as we get closer to actually doing the muscle up is…
…the ring dip.
I’m not going to send you down another 10 progressions on that in the post but I will link to a
video that gives you 7 progressions to master the ring dip here.
Muscle Up Progression #7 The Ring Muscle Up!!
If you came here just because you typed in ‘how to ring muscle up” well…
…here you go.
Hopefully you take the time to review the progressions above so you master the foundations first
(if you haven’t done that already) then go back and watch the previous progressions.
I have shared with you a ton of progressions on how to do ring muscle ups and I want to know if you
were able to get some useful take aways!
I also wanted to share with you the full coaching session that I did with Adam where I walk him through each drill:
Adam worked very hard at developing his strict pulling and pushing strength before even attempting a
One thing we did was rushed him just a little bit through each drill. I would recommend spending more
time then just a minute or two like we did.
The more time you spend in each drill and watching the tutorials the more confidence you will get!
So I ask of you this:
- comment down below if this was helpful to you
- share with a friend who might need to see this
- let me know what other skills you would like to learn
All I ask of you is to help us spread the word about K Squared Fitness 🙂
The ring muscle up is a sweet skill that is often seen in Crossfit workouts and can be a road
block/milestone for many athletes.
In the post I gave you the
- recommended strength requirements to have before you start ripping away at the rings
- 7 ring muscle up progressions to follow to effortless achieve your first one or have better technique!
- A full coaching video walking a friend of mine to achieving his first muscle up!
If you are anything like me you love seeing drills to learn the technique better but figuring out how to
piece it all together is a different ball game. It's that's you then check out our gymnastics program
where we help people improve:
- core strength
- handstand push up and handstand walks
- more confidence on the rings
- and more
Check our our gymnastics program and all the details by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get your first ring muscle up?
You are going to want to master the false grip first. When you are first learning how to do a muscle up the hardest part of course is landing in the bottom of the dip. The false grip will allow your transition to be a lot easier (although it's uncomfortable at first) it's a must.
From there you will want to make sure you have taken the time to focus on all of the different drills and muscle up progressions I showed you. Drills like the "hip pop" drill or even getting comfortable with the transition so when you land in the dip you aren't freaked out and rip your shoulder out of socket.
Which is the very reason I talk about the importance of having adequate levels of strength first!
I can get my rings to my chest but I just can't get the turnover. What do I do?
If you are doing this properly from the "hip pop" progression your body should be completely vertical like the image below. Then from their act like the rings are a shirt and you are the incredible hulk and "rip your shirt off."
What I mean by that is when you would rip your shirt off you would aggressively pull to the sides of your body. To get the muscle up that's what you are going to have to do. Tell yourself this as you pull:
- Rip the shirt
- Fast sit up
- Nose to toes
The nose to toes helps me the most. I'm telling myself to aggressively sit up and as I finish the drill I should be looking down at my toes.
Any other questions leave them in the comments below and I'm happy to help.
Be sure to comment below with:
- any additional questions
- your biggest take aways
Do us a favor and share with a friend who would benefit from this!