Ring muscle ups are one of the hardest gymnastic CrossFit movements to RX, but knowing the various grips for ring muscle ups may help you progress in your training.
Here is a short guide to the types of grips you may come across while attempting both the kipped and strict the muscle up, and how each one will help you complete the movement correctly.
What Is a Ring Muscle Up?
The ring muscle up is an advanced, entirely strength-based gymnastic movement that brings the famous CrossFit bar muscle up to the rings. According to the Progrm:
“A ring muscle up is a very high skill gymnastics movement. To break it down to it’s bones it’s a kipping pullup, followed by a “in air” sit up and closed with a dip, all performed on a set of rings of course.
It’s difficult for several reasons. Firstly, it’s an exercise that requires huge amounts of strength in your back, arms and shoulders to lift your body above your wrists. Secondly, it’s harder than a normal muscle up, because the rings constantly move. This means you need more stability in your core and arms to remain in control.
The third reason why ring muscle ups are so hard is that you need very good grip strength to complete the movement. There are three main types of grips for ring muscle ups that can help you go RX unbroken for as long as possible.
3 Types of Grip for Ring Muscle Ups
The three types of grip you’ll use for ring muscle ups are the false grip, hybrid grip and standard grip.
Grips for Ring Muscle Ups: False Grip
This is the best grip to use when you’re learning to do your first strict ring muscle up. However it is taxing in your forearms and wrists, as you start the muscle up with the ring between your palm and your wrist — effectively holding the rings with your entire hand.
As you come up into the muscle up, you bring the rings around towards you, almost like you’re flexing as you pull your body up. You internally rotate as you come to full extension.
This is the best grip for beginners because by starting with the rings already on the wrists, as you pull up you’re already in a position where your wrist is above the ring and you can finish the dip. There is no need for loosening or adjusting your grip at any point.
Grips for Ring Muscle Ups: Standard Grip
If you’re comfortable with kipping, this is a great grip to use to get yourself through the movement. It doesn’t tax your wrists as much as the previous grips, and it’s more in-tune with the grip you use when doing bar muscle ups, and is what you’ll see the elites doing to get through their sets.
You will grasp the bar with your fingers, at the top of your palm — meaning your wrist and knuckles will be below the rings. You then allow your hands to slide around the rings as you pull yourself up into the dip position.
You have to have the timing and the confidence to release your grip on the rings as you move your body upwards, allowing the hands to slide around the rings — kipping here is required, and you must be able to kip efficiently to use this grip during a bar muscle up.
Grips for Ring Muscle Ups: Hybrid Grip
A cross between both the false and the standard grip, the main difference of the hybrid grip is that you allow the ring to come off the wrist, and slide down into the middle of the palm — but not quite as high up in the hand as the standard grip.
For this grip your wrist will stay flexed, and your knuckles remain above ring level. This gives you the slight advantage of the false grip, but you still have to relax your grip slightly as you pull up, allowing the hand to move around the ring.
For the hybrid grip to work correctly, you will either need to be incredibly strong, or be able to kip efficiently to allow the hands to slide around and release. Remember: The wrists must be above the rings in order to get the muscle up.