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Slow Down to Muscle Up: 5 Progressions for Perfect Movement


The next step is to groove the muscle up transition, which is the point where the athlete moves from hanging support below the rings to elbows above the rings holding top support. This is the critical point at which most athletes fail due to lack of strength but also lack of understanding proper torso leverage and creating lateral momentum.

Muscle Ups
Muscle up transition

  1. Cue the athlete to grasp the rings in a false grip with feet directly beneath the ring straps.
  2. Next have them squat down beneath the rings and sit directly on their heels.  Tilt the upper torso back to approximately 45 degrees or less while opening the hips.
  3. Begin the pull from a straight-arm position.  Important details are to keep the head neutral with eyes on the rings and knuckles facing each other and close together.
  4. Begin pulling the mid torso towards the rings until the ribs make contact focusing on keeping the shoulders behind the rings rather than directly beneath the rings during the pull phase.
  5. Once the top of the pull is reached and the transition initiates the athlete can create lateral momentum by aggressively moving their head and torso angle from about 10 o’clock position through the straps finishing at the 2 o’clock position on the other side of the straps.

NOTE: Most athletes fail because their torso stops moving forward at about the straight up 12 O’clock position and they lose all momentum and leverage advantage.


The next steps would be to make the drill more challenging by slowly moving the feet forward of the ring straps allowing less assistance from the feet during the transition.  The final phase of this transition drill is when the athlete can perform from a sitting position on the ground with feet stretched out in front in a pike sit. The athlete would leave their feet on the ground throughout the pull phase until transitioning into low dip support on the rings.

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