SHOW-OFF MOVE #2 STRICT MUSCLE-UP
You’ve probably seen people do the “kipping” version, jerking and flinging themselves above the rings like a salmon ascending a waterfall. In gymnastics, though, the muscle-up is done strict: it’s a pull-up that transitions smoothly into a dip with minimal movement from the legs. It’s also a move that commands respect wherever you bust it out. The version pictured, with legs straight, requires a huge amount of core strength and is an advanced demonstration of the move. Start by using the form guides on the right – once you’ve perfected the basics, you can try the straight-legged version.
STEP 1 THE GRIP
For the muscle-up, you’ll need to use a “false” grip, which means keeping your wrist above the rings. To do it, grip the ring and then point your knuckles back towards you, bringing the ring close to the crease of your wrist. At first, you’ll barely be able to straighten your arms from this position. Work on hangs, rows and finally pull-ups to get used to it.
STEP 2 THE PULL
You’ll need a solid body position and a strong pull to get up to the transition part without kicking. Bring your feet forward with straight legs and brace your abs, then pull your body as high as possible while holding the position – your goal is to get to the point where your chin’s above your knuckles. Keep it slow and controlled. Do five sets of as many reps as possible two or three times a week, until you can do five controlled reps.
STEP 3 THE TRANSITION
The tricky bit. During the transition, you’ll need to roll your shoulders forwards to get your weight over your hands for the final push. Your body comes between your hands as you bring your head forwards. To get used to it, use the “baby muscle-up”: kneel on the ground and pull, using assistance from your legs as you move through the transition. Practise for a few sets each session until you’re comfortable.
STEP 4 THE PUSH
This is the easy bit – if you can manage a handful of full-range ring dips, you’ll do it easily. From the top, reverse the move and control the transition down to build eccentric strength throughout the whole rep.