Performing a ring muscle-up is a coveted goal for many of our clients in our CrossFit group classes at Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness. Ring muscle-ups are not an easy task and often feel impossible.
It’s common to work for months to years with little progress and let’s face it, it takes more than swinging around on the rings everyday to make it happen.
There are many benefits to being able to perform a ring muscle-up. It is beneficial for strength in the shoulders, back, triceps, abs, glutes, hamstrings and is also a great tool for improving coordination, hip speed and power!
My goal is to help you with a plan that is simple, effective and time efficient so you can get your first ring muscle-up!
STEP 1 – EVALUATE YOUR PHYSICAL CAPACITY AND STRENGTH
Be honest with yourself! Everyone starts at a different place and that’s okay! Very few people accomplish a muscle-up right away and it often takes an extended period of time to develop strength. However, with patience, commitment and perseverance it can be done.
To have a successful and safe run at completing your first muscle-up, I recommend accomplishing the following benchmarks before beginning a muscle-up program:
- Ring Support Hold x 10 seconds
Being able to hold your bodyweight at the top of a ring dip is important so you can safely control the rings when you begin your training.
- Ring Bottom Hold x 10 seconds
Holding in the bottom of a ring dip also ensures you can support your own body when it comes to transitioning over the rings.
- Strict Pull Up x 5 reps
Performing consecutive strict pull ups proves you have the upper body strength to pull yourself high enough for the muscle-up transition.
- Stationery Dip x 5 reps
This ensures you have the strength to press your bodyweight out of a dip after a muscle-up transition.
STEP 2 – IDENTIFY WHERE TO START
If you have a benchmark you still need to accomplish, be patient, take the time in your training to reach that benchmark before moving forward.
It’s common to see clients try to run before they walk, and it’s important for your safety to establish the basics before moving forward.
If you need to reach a specific benchmark before attempting a muscle-up program, check out the other programs we have available to help you reach your goals HERE.
STEP 3 – IF YOU’RE ABLE TO COMPLETE THE BENCHMARKS ABOVE COMMIT TO A TRAINING PROGRAM
Let’s be truthful, without commitment to your goal, it’s just a wish. You’ll need to put in the work and time to be successful.
Below, I’ll outline how you can build your own program or you can gain access to the MY FIRST RING MUSCLE-UP PROGRAM HERE.
STEP 4 – DETERMINE THE LENGTH OF YOUR MUSCLE-UP TRAINING PROGRAM
Most fail at their first muscle-up due to lack of upper body strength.
Pick a length of time that will be long enough for you to build strength.
If you already meet the benchmarks outlined above I recommend committing to a program for 12 to 16 weeks.
STEP 5 – DETERMINE HOW MANY TRAINING SESSIONS PER WEEK YOU’LL COMMIT TO THE PROGRAM
Building strength and skill for a muscle-up can be tricky and if done incorrectly can lead to injury.
To safely improve strength without causing overuse injuries, I recommend a maximum of two sessions per week committed to muscle-up training with one to two recovery days in between sessions.
Note – If you’re following a program like CrossFit which is generally more shoulder intensive and varied, ask your coach to modify your CrossFit workouts so you don’t overload your shoulders. You can schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with a Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness coach HERE.
STEP 6 – CHOOSE YOUR PULLING EXERCISES
The muscle-up requires strength to pull your body up and over the rings and into a dip.
I recommend dedicating one session per week to developing pulling strength.
Strict pull-ups, strict ring pull-ups, and ring rows are a great place to start.
STEP 7 – CHOOSE YOUR PUSHING EXERCISES
On a muscle-up, after you have transitioned over the rings you will need to push yourself out of a dip.
Dedicate one of your training sessions per week to develop pushing strength.
Stationary dips, ring holds, and ring dips are great exercises to incorporate.
STEP 8 – CHOOSE A SKILL EXERCISE
Muscle-ups also require finesse and coordination.
To be successful in your quest, you need to incorporate skill exercises at least once per week.
My favorite muscle-up skill exercises are standing muscle-up transitions, hips to rings and low ring transitions.
STEP 9 – DIVIDE YOUR PROGRAM INTO PHASES
I prefer to divide programming into four to eight week phases. This is a long enough time frame for your body to make neurological and muscular changes and short enough to avoid plateaus.
Include the same exercises within a phase, however, increase the volume and difficulty of the exercises by adding more reps, sets, weight or length of time under tension.
In every new phase, after you’ve increased strength and confidence, challenge yourself with a new exercise.
For example, in phase one incorporate strict pull ups, stationary dips and standing ring transitions, then in phase two incorporate strict ring pull ups, ring pushups, and low ring transitions, etc.
After your final phase, give yourself a little break for recovery then shoot for your first muscle-up!
If you’re not sure where to start, I have done all the programming work for you!
The MY FIRST RING MUSCLE PROGRAM is a 14 week supplemental program containing all the tools you need to accomplish your first muscle-up. It includes two muscle-up training sessions per week designed for the client who can already perform the following exercises:
- Ring Support Hold x 10 seconds
- Ring Bottom Hold x 10 seconds
- Strict Pull Up x 3 reps
- Stationery Dip x 3 reps
Each session contains strength training and skill work with exercise demo videos to help get you on the right track!
Yes! I’m ready to commit to my first muscle-up!
- Check out the ‘My First Ring Muscle-up Sample Program’ below.
- Then gain access to the ‘MY FIRST RING MUSCLE-UP PROGRAM’ HERE.
Note – this program is intended to be a supplemental program to your current exercise routine. I highly recommend meeting with a personal trainer or a coach to modify your current exercise routine as needed!
COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier