If you haven’t gotten that first ring muscle-up yet — or if you have, but can’t stay consistent or string them together — we’re going to give you four transitions to break down the movement and learn to do it more smoothly and efficiently. With some help from Khan Porter, knocking out those reps on the rings is within your grasp.
For your part, to be able to perform this movement safely, you should be able to do at least two strict chest-to-bar pull-ups, where your chest touches the bar without using any kipping. Also, two strict ring dips should be checked off from the movement list, as you need to complete the full range of motion, having your shoulders touch the rings and push back up with pure strength.
By doing these two movements, you protect yourself from injury and confirm you can complete the muscle-up once you are up on the rings.
Here are four progressions to practice and how to protect your grip along the way. Don’t forget to check out our video on the full movement, with Khan Porter.
How to Improve Your Muscle-Ups
1. Transition With Feet on the Ground
Transitioning from the ring row position to getting through the rings can be tricky. For this progression, start with the low rings and feet on the ground.
Make sure your arms are extended and imagine there’s a plate of glass between both rings which you need to break through. From that position, drive your hips up to the rings and smash through the glass.
Your head should guide the movement along with your hips. This progression helps to understand the turnover you will later perform in the full movement.
Remember to always keep the rings close to your body and be fast and aggressive throughout the movement.
2. Transition With Feet on the Box
Place your heels on a box and kip to bring your hips to the rings. Again, break through the glass with your head, making sure you throw your shoulders in front of you.
3. Hips to Rings
To perform this progression, grab the rings with a false grip and steady yourself at a dead hang, shoulders always engaged. Extend back into the superman position and into a hollow body, bringing your hips to the rings in a controlled motion to create momentum. Feet should be together through the movement; and when you reach the hips to the rings, you should be able to see your toes.
Once you get to this transition, you may notice the false grip is a bit uncomfortable. The grip in and of itself is a huge hurdle for many of us, because it can be tough on your palms and the insides of your wrists. Leather palm grips will prevent the rings from chewing up your skin.
If you’re not a fan of palm grips — or if you haven’t used them enough to be comfortable with them yet — another excellent option is tape combined with wrist wraps. You’ll have the support and protection you need without something that covers as much surface area.
4. Linking the Two Movements
After you have completed these progressions, you need to link the two moves — from swinging in the rings to getting through the rings and breaking the plate of glass, and a ring dip to complete the full movement. Check out the full video below!
The secret of this movement is to make a fast transition, elbows back and your arms always close to your body, because when you bring your legs down, the rest of the body is sent up and it’s easier to get a high dip. By transitioning into a high dip, you need less effort pressing up to finish the movement and it’s less likely you’ll fail. If you feel strength is a limiting factor, you can do sets of legless rope climbs, strict pull-ups, ring rows, Russian dips, etc.
Always remember hard work and a lot of practice pay off. By following these progressions, you’ll get closer and closer to getting a ring muscle-up. We believe in you!