Ring Muscle Ups: Fixing Common Errors

Strict Muscle Up Pull: Staying Hollow

First thing is positioning, in the strict muscle up it’s important to maintain a solid hollow body position throughout the pull. Overextension in this position leads to a loss of power and result in a less efficient pull.


Along with this loss of power comes poor positioning, this poor positioning makes it much harder to pull yourself above the rings. Practicing hollow body pull ups on the rings is a good drill to help correct this error!

Kipping Pull

This is the most common error I see when people  perform muscle ups. Strict and kipping muscle ups DO NOT have the same pull, despite common practice, the pulls are completely different. The strict muscle up is a close pull to the lower chest (while leaning back) so the athlete can turn over the rings and land in the dip position. However, this is different for the kipping muscle up. When you pull on a kipping muscle up you cannot pull down to the lower chest, instead you should pull back on the rings (this keeps tension on the rings)  putting you in a better position to pull over the rings. To correct this issue practice your swing keeping tension in the rings and every time you go to attempt a muscle up pull back on rings. 

Pulling this way will allow your upper body to turn over the rings rather than get stuck behind the rings. You will also notice that keeping tension on the rings will also prevent your legs from working against your turnover. When you pull to the hip the legs tend to raise to high (keeping the hip closed) which prevents your upper body from turning over the rings. This can make sets of multiple muscle ups very difficult. 

Lastly, the swing must involve the legs (when keeping tension on the rings this will prevent the legs from raising too high which we mentioned earlier) so you remain in a solid hollow through the pull. If the hollow is broken and you lead up with the knees and not the toes you will have a less efficient swing which leads to failed repetitions. Basically, if you lead with the knees your swing will be less efficient and your hip will remain closed which will affect your turnover!


If you have any confusion with the full swing check out this video from Power Monkey Fitness.


Poor False Grip Position in Strict Muscle Ups

The false grip is a key part to completing a successful strict muscle up. Many times, people try to complete the false grip on the inside of the ring rather than in the middle of the rings. This can increase the difficulty turning over the rings and completing the dip because the hand is too far up the side of the rings.  

When I teach athletes the false grip, I tell them to karate chop just off center (just to the left for left hand and just to the right for right hand) then grip down on the ring. This puts the hands in the correct spot. 


Problem: Losing hollow on the strict muscle up pull

      Fix: Hollow body ring pull ups

Problem: Pulling the kipping muscle up like a strict muscle up

      Fix: Perform kipping muscle up swings with a focus on pull back on the rings to keep tension when in the hollow body position

Problem: Not following through with the feet

      Fix: Perform kipping swings and make sure when you’re in the hollow position you can see your toes

Problem: Poor false grip

      Fix: Focus on placing the wrist just off center then grabbing straight down.


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