Coach Rachel’s Ring Muscle Up Strength Movements and Drills

Are you wanting to get your first ring muscle up or become more efficient at them?  Well, you have come to the right place!  For starters, it is important to develop horizontal and vertically pulling strength so that you can pull yourself to the rings (horizontal pulling), and then pull yourself up and over the rings (vertical pulling).  Coach Rachel has some movement suggestions that will help you develop pulling strength.

Vertical Pulling

Strict Pull-ups
Seated MU
Strict C2B

Horizontal Pulling

Ring Rows
Incline Pull-up
Decline Ring Rows
Hip to ring

Vertical Push:
Ring dips
Bar Dips
Russian Dips (elbow to hands)

You will also want to develop your horizontal pushing strength, which will help you press out your dips.Horizontal Push:

Horizontal Push

Ring Push-ups
Push-ups
Narrow and Wide hand placement
Deficit
Weighted
Incline

Strength and Efficiency Drills

Here are some strength and efficiency drills to help you get that muscle up or get better at them.  These Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) drills will help you develop strength and volume.   Start by working on quality of the reps or number of reps per round.  Build your volume over time.  If you need to start with one rep per round, start with one rep.

10min EMOM
-2 strict pull ups + 2 Dips
12 min EMOM
-2 strict pull ups + 2 dips
14min EMOM
-2 strict pull up + 2

Kipping Drills

Many times athletes want to just jump into trying a ring muscle up without really practicing technique. The majority of the time, when a muscle up fails, the fault can be found in the first part of the muscle up–the kipping swing and/or the hips to ring pull. Tension and patience is KEY to achieving your first muscle up and becoming more efficient in the muscle up.

Kipping Swing + Hips to ring

Practice with sets of 5 to 10 swings at a time.  Give yourself a rest between sets.  Try working in 3-5 sets 3-5 times a week.

Keep tension throughout the whole movement without breaking in the hips, knees or arms. SQUEEZE your legs tighter than you ever have and focus on pushing the rings away when flashing your hands.

Pulling Hips to Ring

Once you have mastered the tension of the kipping swing, work sets of 3-5 hip to rings pulls.  Try for 3-5 sets 3-5 times a week.Coming off the backswing the athlete needs to use their lats by keeping the arms straight longer and pop their hips to the ring and at the last second pull (bending the arms for eventually the transition). Again staying tight and being patient in the pull is important.

Be sure to remember coming off the backswing the athlete needs to use their lats by keeping the arms straight longer and pop their hips to the ring and at the last second pull (bending the arms for eventual the transition).  Again, staying tight and being patient in the pull is important.  It may help you to videotape yourself as you work on these pulls so you can check to see if your hips are pulling into the rings.

Transition

Often times, even though an athlete may master the kip and hip to rings pull, they may lose the muscle up in the transition phase.  Athletes tend to pull early, causing them to pull the rings to the chest instead of the hips, performing more of a pull-up.  When the rings pull to the chest, they are not low enough on the body for the athlete to be able to transition up and over the top of the rings.  In order to pull to the kips, keep the arms and legs as tight as possible and drive the hips to rings while pressing down.  As the feet and hips get parallel to the ground,  perform the fastest sit up ever!!!!  A good cue is throwing a quarter in the wishing well and looking over (I learned this from Invictus).  It may also help you to think of breaking a glass window with your head.  Your ending position should be with your head and eyes looking down and over your toes.

Hips to Rings Drills

Drill 1: Banded hip to ring on the rig or using the ringsSqueeze your legs and butt while popping the hips to rings and pulling the rings to hips (ideally palms facing each other)

Squeeze your legs and butt while popping the hips to rings and pulling the rings to hips (ideally palms facing each other)
Drill 2: Kipping swing + hip to ring

Keep tension through the movement and focus on pulling at the last second. The hips and feet should almost be parallel with the rings/ shoulders.

Transition Drills

Drill 1: Seated Ring Pull Transition

Focus on staying hollow even seated, leaning back, pulling below the chest, and sitting through fast. This recreates the transfer to the actual seated MU                transition.

Drill 2: Seated Hip to ring + transition

Perform two hips to ring and then transition on the third. This will help master the pulling of hips to ring into the turnover. If this proves to be too                          complicated at first,  start with just hips to ring. Then try to add both after you feel comfortable pulling hips to ring.

Drill 3: Seated MU

After you have mastered the hip drive and can perform the seated MU quickly, you are ready to try the seated muscle up drill.  You can also do this drill with the band on the rings if they are set up on rig.   Focus on a big, hollow pull or press down while driving your hips to rings. DON’T GET SLOPPY AND JUST TURN OVER. If you are slopping and not driving the hips to rings, this drill will not transfer to the actual MU.  Concentrate on making your belly button the highest point on your body as you pull towards the rings and avoid using your feet to drive you to the rings.  Use your hips as much as possible.

If you are serious about getting your muscle up or improving your efficiency, you will need to find consistent time to work on these drills and exercises.  Shoot for 2-3 times a week but listen to your body and don’t overdo the practice.  Too much practice typically equals injury and a longer time before you are able to reach your goals!