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5 Steps to Perfect your Muscle Up Skills

It is an advanced gymnastic movement that combines a pull-up, transition, and a dip in a single movement. Find out how to perfect your muscle up skills.

BOXROX in collaboration with Scitec Nutrition presents a how-to video for one specific exercise all CrossFit athletes aim to master.

The following tutorial is presented for a kipping muscle up as often used in various workouts. To attempt them safely, you should have a solid strength base and be able to do consecutive strict pull-ups and dips.

In CrossFit, athletes are asked to do muscle-ups in rings or bars. The steps to perfect your muscle up skills we will show below are focused on the ring version of the exercise.

If you are looking for the bar muscle-up, check out here how to master this movement.


1. Begin directly under the rings and choose a grip you will be using during the movement.

True grip is usually used by advanced athletes.

False grip allows you to move more easily in the transition phase. The hands should be moved upwards, so they sit on the rings at the bottom of the palms and wrists. Usually it is recommended for the beginners.

false grip


2. Jump and hang from the rings, keep your shoulders engaged.

TENSION PHASE: engage your core, start kicking/swinging your feet backwards and keep the hollow position setup to build tension.

DRIVE PHASE: keep the hollow position to execute power, swing your legs forward and kip with your hips up, from extension to flexion.

HIP DRIVE: use the tension from the hollow position, keep your feet together all throughout the move. You should generate enough power to kip and pull yourself above the rings.


3. This is the part when you move from the position below to above the rings. At the top of the pull up, bring your whole upper body over the rings and keep the rings tight to your body. Your shoulders should move over your hands and you should be in to the bottom position of a dip.



4. Make sure you keep the rings held in tight and close to the body. Finish the movement by kipping your knees up and doing a dip.

improve your muscle up skills


5. Keep rings held in tight, sit back and drop down.

Tips and tricks for getting the first muscle up:

  • Build the basic strength: strict pull ups, chest to bar pull ups and strict ring/bar dips.
  • Band assisted muscle ups: use bands to reduce the amount of the bodyweight you have to use during the movement.
  • Muscle up jumps: use the lower height of the rings and start from the ground. Jump into the position. Raise and adjust your height as you get stronger.
  • Again, work on your basic strength: when strict pull ups become too easy, add some extra weights (belt or vest).
  • Work on your technique, because it matters. Ask your coach to watch you and give you some feedback.

Now that you know how to improve your muscle up skills, how about putting them to use?

Here are 20 Muscle Ups workouts, with full progressions included.

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