How to get a Strict Ring Muscle Up

The Ring Muscle Up is a true testament to upper body strength and mobility. Plus it’s a cool party trick!

To obtain a strict ring muscle up, you’re going to need to train your shoulders, core, triceps, and grip. All of this needs to be molded together into proper transitions with practice.

What is a Strict Ring Muscle Up?

You may have seen kipping muscle ups in crossfit, but the strict muscle up is a more controlled exercises that requires a ton of strength and stability. Traditional muscle ups are done on a bar, and a ring muscle up is another variation of that.

Before attempting a strict ring muscle up, you’ll want to be sure you can master the pull up. We recommend having 2-3 solid pull ups before attempting to master the ring muscle up.


Steps to Building Up To A Strict Ring Muscle Up

Ring False Grip

You must be able to have a false grip on the rings in order to be able to do a Muscle Up. The false grip is when you hold the rings where the rings rest on the crease of the thumb and crease of the heel of the palm. Think about forming a diagonal line from your thumb to the heel of the palm.

You can build up strength for the false grip by performing hangs to strengthen this position and get used to this style of gripping the rings. (and yes this will be uncomfortable as hell at first – GET OVER IT). False Grip Chest to Ring Holds are also a great way to train the false grip

Ring Support

This is the top position of the Ring Muscle Up (or Ring Dip). You want to ensure you have adequate stability in this position to demonstrate complete control of the movement.

Practice Ring Support holds with palms turned out slightly and arms straight. Build up to 15-20 second holds.

Ring Shoulder Extension

You will want adequate shoulder extension in order to be able to do the Ring Muscle Up. Some shoulder extension exercises to add into your training: German Squats, Table Bridges, and German Hangs.

Ring Muscle Up Transition

This is usually the hardest part of the muscle up for most athletes. You basically want to think about pulling the rings to the chest and pull the elbows back while keeping the rings close to the body. Start with your feet on the floor as you practice this movement

Ring Muscle Up Eccentrics

On the transition for these, make sure rings stay glued to the chest as you slowly lower yourself into extending the arms. Once you can hit a 10 second Ring Muscle Up Eccentric (and you have adequate shoulder extension) you can try to start training full reps.

Things You’ll Need to Nail Your First Strict Ring Muscle Up

  1. Consistency. Be sure to train parts of this movement consistently; implementing progressive overload as you train the movement.

  2. Patience. This is an advanced movement that will take time. Be sure to measure your progress at all the variations and parts of the movement so you can feel successful at progressing toward your goal of a full strict ring muscle up.


Looking to continue working on your strength and mobility? We have programs to help you get strong as hell while living pain free and moving well. Check out our Bend, Don’t Break program.

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