Practicing strict muscle-ups drills is absolutely essential if you want to be proficient at kipping ones. Even if kipping muscle-ups is not your aim, the strict form of the exercise comes with many important benefits:
- Increased upper body strength
- Enhance grip strength
- Improved shoulder stability and strength
- Greater coordination and mind-body connection
But before we reap benefits, let’s go back to basics: what exactly is a muscle-up?
A muscle-up is an advanced gymnastics exercise where an athlete brings their body from a hanging position under the rings to supporting their weight above them.
Athletes require not only skill but a minimum level of strength as well to successfully complete this exercise. Generally, it is advised you are proficient at strict pull-ups and ring dips, and can perform a handful of both exercises unbroken.
If you have this basic strength but haven’t unlocked ring muscle-ups yet try these three strict muscle-up drills. Goof luck!
3 strict muscle-up drills you should try
1 – Master the false grip by using it on a bar
“In my opinion, learning the strict muscle-up is absolutely essential before you advance to things like kipping muscle-ups,” says Ben Dziwulski, head coach at WODprep. “It proves that you’re strong enough to do a muscle-up, it shows that you have the right mechanics, and overall, it is a safer movement.”
You have to know how to do a false grip if you’re going to do a strict muscle up. One way to develop the false grip is to practice it on a bar.
How to do it? Hold yourself on a bar with that false grip, using your wrist over the bar to hold your weight. Your hands should not be wrapped around the bar.
2 – Develop your false grip on rings
Once you feel confident on the bar you can move on to the rings. Same as the strict muscle-up drill above, put your hands through the rings and hold yourself with your fists closed. This will help you develop that false grip hold.
How to do it? Once you’re confident hanging onto the rings, place your thumb around the other side. Simply hanging is pretty difficult when you’re starting out, so aim to stay in this position for at least 10 seconds and then increase the time.
3 – Practice false grip ring pull-ups
Once you master this drill you’ll be most of the way to completing strict muscle-ups, and you’ll only have the transition to go. False grip pull-ups will not only develop your false grip but will also develop your pulling strength.
How to do it? Grab the rings with a false grip and, tightening your body, pull yourself as high as you possibly can, aiming to pull the rings to the bottom of your sternum.
“Obviously the transition is a very difficult part, but if you can master the false grip and start pulling yourself really high, I promise you learning the muscle-up is going to get a lot easier,” says coach Dziwulski.