Ring Muscle-Ups || Coach Mark Grande


The Ring Muscle-Up

Today’s blog post is all about the ever elusive muscle-up.  A muscle-up is an ADVANCED complex movement that requires technicality, stability, and patience.  First, I feel it is necessary for you to know yourself as an athlete. For example, the CFA coaching staff and I recommend that an athlete should be able to perform strict ring dips and chest-to-bar pull-ups prior to attempting ring muscle-ups. However, if you don’t have ring dips or C2B pull-ups that doesn’t mean you can’t practice the subtleties of the movement.  In fact, it would be very beneficial for a beginner or novice to practice muscle-up progressions to avoid creating bad movement patterns and reinforce neuro motor control (coordination, agility, balance).  I see far too often athletes attempting to “pull” themselves through the rings or excessively swing…which leads me to my do’s & don’ts


Reinforce proper movement mechanics in all facets of the muscle-up.

  • If you feel “off” don’t keep practicing the movement because bad motor/movement patterns will keep you from efficiently executing the muscle-up
  • Perform correct progressions several times a week to create good movement habits
  • Try different types of the muscle-ups (strict, kipping, false-grip, non-false grip).  You may find that one technique works better for you or helps create better movement quality.
  • Hip, Hips, Hips! Don’t pull yourself through the movement.





Create tension in the swing/kip

(Above)This is the ideal position for creating tension in the swing, allows increased upward momentum via the hips.  Do not let the lower back hyperextend or knees flex too much.

(Below)  NO!  This position represents lack of tension in the core, and will cause the athlete to swing via the legs thus neglecting or inhibiting the maximal upward movement of the hips.



  • Success in the MU is highly dependent on a smooth transition into the dip position.
  • The sit-up/pike phase of the transition occurs prior to ever reaching the rings which will prevent one from “pulling” through.
  • Cues to think about: head over and through, violent sit-up



  • Break or lose tension in your core and posterior chain
  • Kick with the legs
  • Pull yourself through the rings
  • Practice when fatigued
  • Practice improper movement techniques/patterns


In all of its complexity, the ring muscle-up can be broken down into simpler movements that can allow any athlete to progress towards achieving their first muscle-up or stringing 10 in-a-row efficiently.  I will never forget the feeling a pure excitement the first time I got a ring MU, as I screamed and hollered for 10 seconds at the top of the rings!  I want nothing more than to see some of you all get your first MU and experience the jubilation.  If achieving a MU is a goal of yours, I strongly encourage the CFA community/athletes to get with a coach 1-on1 and attack the mechanics of the MU, as it will undoubtedly improve your performance.


Stay Strong and CFA On!

-Coach Mark