Ring Muscle Up

Learning The Ring Muscle Up

The ring muscle-up is different to the bar muscle up as you are able to come through the middle of the rings instead of having to come around the bar at an angle, the ring muscle up is usually the easier version of the muscle up to learn when first starting skill training. If you would rather learn the bar muscle up you can find it here.


You may be wondering, how long will it take me to get my first ring muscle up?. Getting your first ring muscle up will depend on a few things, strength and ability to pull while using the false grip on the rings.

If you are able to do between 8-15 false grip ring pullups and 10-15 ring dips then you should have enough strength to start training the ring muscle up. The ring muscle up will be achievable in the same time period as the bar muscle up, this is between 8-10 weeks if you are solely training the ring muscle up.

Warm Up

Warming up is really important to get the most out of your training and help avoid injuries, an example warm up is outlined below:

Please note the following times for the triceps, arm circles and wrist stretch:

  • Arm circles should take 30 seconds each direction
  • Tricep stretch should take between 20-30 seconds on each arm
  • The wrist stretch should be performed for 20 seconds each side and the wrist rolls should take 20 seconds each direction followed by a 10-second stretch on each side of the hand

Arm Circles

Chest Stretch- 30 seconds

Tricep Stretch

Jump Squats – 15-20 reps

Wrist Stretch

Push Ups

False Grip

The purpose of using the false grip is to allow your wrists to be in line with the bottom of the rings, it would be impossible to transition from the pull up to the dip position as you wouldn’t be able to rotate your hands.

You may find that you feel weak/uncomfortable in this position when you are trying to pull, this is normal when you first start, your wrists and forearms will become stronger over time with training.

How To False Grip On Rings

False Grip Hangs

To start getting used to the feeling of hanging in the false grip position you can simply hang from the rings, if you find this difficult then you can use a resistance band to help you. It’s normal to start performing these hangs with bent arms, over time the aim would be to straighten your arms as you will want to pull from straight arms when you get to doing the final ring muscle up.

A rule of thumb when using the rings is to have the rings at the following distance apart (see image below – rings would be on the outside of the arms):

For decent resistance bands we can recommend Rubberbanditz as they are strong and used by the top calisthenics athletes in the world.

Band Assisted False Grip Hangs

Bent Arm False Grip Hang

Ring False Grip Pull Ups – Band Assisted

False grip ring pull ups are essential if you really want to progress with your ring muscle up, standard pull ups will, of course, increase your strength but you need to build pull strength while in the false grip position.

When you are performing the false grip pull ups you want to try and pull from straight arms, as we mentioned above this may not be the case when you first start and you may feel more comfortable having your arms bent, you will want to try your hardest to pull from straight as you want to be using full range of motion as this will be the final position when performing the full ring muscle up.

Resistance bands can be really useful with the false grip pull ups, if you have multiple bands you can start at the heaviest band and work your way down, bands help you maintain correct form and allow you to build muscle memory using the correct form, once you can do 3 sets of 6-8 reps I would suggest moving to the next band.

Band Assisted Ring Pull Ups

Ring Pull Ups

Ring Dips

Dips are great for building strong triceps and pushing strength especially if you perform them slowly, it’s important to perform the dips using the rings so you can get comfortable performing them while on the rings, dips will be harder on the rings as you need to stabilise yourself while performing the dip.

You will want to try and get into the deepest dip you are comfortable with as this is key to being able to push yourself up once you have transitioned from the pull-up, if these are too hard at the beginning then you can use a resistance band to help.

Band Assisted Ring Dips

Ring Dips

Muscle Up Muscle Memory Drill

As with any skill knowing the correct points that you should be pushing/pulling at etc is really important for correct form and to perform the skill with technique and not brute force. This drill is really useful and will help you achieve the ring muscle up and make the movement pattern muscle memory.

How to perform the muscle up memory drill:

  • Hold the rings with the false grip
  • Start in a half squat
  • Lean back so your arms are straight
  • Pull towards the rings until your hands are in line with your chest – keep the elbows as close to the body as possible
  • Push your head through the rings as if your heading a football ending in a dip position
  • Push up to the top position of the muscle up
  • Repeat the drill in the opposite direction

Muscle Up Movement Pattern Drill

Band Assisted Muscle Up

At this stage, you will have a good level of strength and be feeling comfortable in the false grip position, if you have multiple bands I would suggest starting with the heaviest band and working your way down once you feel the muscle up is easy, making sure the form is good.

How to perform the band muscle up:

  • Hold the rings with the false grip
  • Start in an active hang
  • Pull towards the rings until your hands are in line with your chest – keep the elbows as close to the body as possible
  • Push your head through the rings as if you’re heading a football ending in a dip position
  • Push up to the top position of the muscle up

To get the most out of band assisted ring muscle ups I would suggest working the negative muscle up once you finish each rep of the band muscle up.

Setting the band up on the rings can be awkward when starting out but you will find a way that best suits you, I personally wrap the band around one of the rings so that I only need to hold the band on one ring, experiment and see what works for you.



Ring Muscle Up

You can start the ring muscle up in two ways, the first way is having your hands turned out and the second being standard false grip, we will be doing the standard false grip, as you get stronger with the ring muscle up you can move onto the more advanced starting hand position.

To perform the ring muscle up you will need to follow the steps above minus the band, below are the important steps for you to recap:

  • Start with a false grip
  • Pull to the chest keeping the elbows close to the body
  • Push your head through the rings as if you’re heading a football ending in a dip position
  • Push up from the dip

    Standard False Grip Muscle Up

    Full False Grip Muscle Up

    We’d love to be kept updated on your progress so get in touch and tag us into your posts!

    Make sure you tag us in your progression videos either on Facebook or Instagram @bestofbodyweight so we can follow your training and offer any tips where needed/asked for.



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