Wanting to learn how to get your first muscle up? Here are some progressions to get you to master your muscle up!
Once you have your pull up and dips you can start to progress toward a muscle up. If strength is your limiting factor, I recommend starting with ring muscle ups. Ring muscle ups require more technique, but slightly less strength compared to bar muscle ups. If you’re pretty strong and can do at least 10 strict pull ups in a row and at least 10 dips in a row, you probably can start with bar muscle ups without a problem.
For right now, we’ll start with how to get your first ring muscle up.
Grasp the false grip
Before working the false grip, you want to make sure your wrists are warmed up and you have done some wrist strengthening as well. The false grip allows you to transition from the pull up part to the dip part without changing your grip.
The false grip will likely be uncomfortable if not a little painful when you first start out, but trust me, you’ll get used to it over time. If you’re not able to hang in a false grip initially, try starting hanging with one hand false grip and the other regular grip and progressing to hanging with both hands false grip. Also add in some wrist strengthening exercises to help speed up the progression!
After you can perform a false grip hang, you can start to add scapular depressions as shown in the video above to get comfortable with slight changes in position. Then progress to false grip pull ups to build more strength in the false grip position. As you progress and gain strength with pull ups while maintaining a false grip, you can focus on pulling up as high as you can to really get on top of the rings.
Tighten up the Transition
The transition is a tough portion of the muscle up and likely a movement pattern that is a bit unfamiliar. That means lots of reps are needed to feel comfortable with the movement. To gain strength and go through the proper motion you can lower the rings to be close to the ground and only use your legs as much as you need or you can use bands to assist through the range of motion. When first starting it should be pretty easy so you understand what the correct motion should be, then you can progress by decreasing the assistance and really challenge yourself with the movement.
Dominate the Dip
The last part of the muscle up is to learn the dip. First, get comfortable holding a front support on the rings. In this position, your arms are by your side with your shoulders turned out. It’s important to have your hands turned out so your shoulders are in external rotation to prevent shoulder injuries! This should be the end position of the muscle up. To get even more comfortable in this position, try some small leg lifts. The change in position with make the rings move a bit and challenge you to hold this front support position.
Once you feel comfortable at the top, you can try some dips! If you’d like, you can also use a band for assistance to be able to complete the full range of motion then progress to no resistance.
Put It All Together
Once you’ve got the parts down, you’re ready to put it all together! You can use bands as assistance and slowly reduce the resistance as you gain strength.
The most important part of all of this is to be consistent with your training! It took me over a year to get my muscle up, but I wasn’t very consistent with practice and I didn’t have access to rings the whole time. I probably started training the muscle up before I was really ready strength wise. I saw a lot of improvement with consistent pull up variations and weighted pull ups and dips.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or collaboration requests drop a comment below or shoot me an email or DM on instagram! If you want to see some more muscle ups and ring flows, check out my instagram page @paradigmofperfection.