If you’ve even attempted muscle-ups, then your coach has probably talked to you about using the false grip. What is a false grip used for, when should you be using it, and what are some of the false grip benefits?

Psst! If you’re still working on the movement, don’t forget to get out these five muscle-up progressions from Annie Thorisdottir!

What is the False Grip?

Put very simply, “false grip” means that your wrist is over the bar. It helps to look at the false grip vs regular grip, to really see the difference. We’re borrowing this very helpful image from Four Barrel Fitness that demonstrates it perfectly. On the left is your regular grip, and on the right is the false grip.

regular grip vs false grip

Look uncomfortable? It can be! Over time, your skin will toughen up in the right places. However, you will almost always see athletes using hand grips, wrist wraps, tape, or a combination while using the false grip.

What is a False Grip Used For?

Most commonly, you’ll find athletes using the false grip for kipping ring muscle-ups. However, it’s also possible to utilize this grip while training on the pull-up bar.

… But why?

False Grip Benefits

It might look — and feel — awkward, and surely, it takes some getting used to. But the false grip will help you tremendously. First of all, by using it, your hands will always stay on top of the rings. The reason this is so helpful is that as you move through a muscle up, the transition from under the rings to over the rings to the dip and the final push will feel so much smoother. You won’t be required to twist, turn, or readjust your grip throughout the movement. Your hands are exactly where they need to be.

Secondly, because a false grip essentially shortens the “lever” (your arm), you can hold the positions of the muscle-up longer, stronger, and more easily than you could with a regular grip.

As an added bonus, using the false grip gives your forearms a serious workout. You probably don’t need us to tell you how important forearm strength is for a number of things you do in the gym.

How to Do the False Grip

While muscle-ups are tough, mastering the false grip is much easier.

  • Turn your palms up and put your hands through the rings.
  • Touch the insides of your hands to the top corners of the rings — look for the 10:00 and 2:00 positions!
  • Grip onto the rings with your fingers.
  • Rotate and pull down on the rings. The heels of your hands should be resting on the rings, your wrists curled over the rings.

How Can I Strength My False Grip?

Practice is progress! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Static holds on the rings using the false grip.
  • Ring pull-ups.
  • Kipping on the rings.
  • False grip kettlebell holds or carries.

All of these exercises will help you (1) build strength and (2) get comfortable with the false grip.

Ready to get started? Protecting your hands and wrists is a must! Shop our selection of hand grips, wrist wraps, and tape today.