The Ultimate Muscle Up Progression (Video Series!)

I’m excited to welcome you to the 5-part video series for ring muscle ups! The exercises and drills provided here come from working with lots of different people and finding what is most effective.

The overall objective here is to provide you with an approach to the weak points in your game that are holding you back from achieving ring muscle ups. Likewise, you can use this to improve your current muscle ups.

The 5 pieces are as follows: Primer and Pre-requisites, Pulling Strength, Dip Strength and Stability, Turnover Drills, and How to Put it Together.

I suggest watching these in order and not skipping steps. Here we go!

1) Primer & Pre-Requisites for Muscle Ups

Can you perform strict pull-ups and ring dips? You’ll need those.

How about hollow holds/hangs and arch holds? You’ll need those too. Master the basics! Excuse my stiffness in video 1, took me a little while to warm up 😉 In this video, I cover:

  • Hollow Hold
  • Hollow Hang
  • Arch Hold (Superman), plus GHD

2) Pulling Strength and Grip

Now we can get into improving your pulling strength, specifically for the muscle up. Accessory work we’ll cover here includes:

  • Lat Pulldowns
  • Strict Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups
  • Using the false grip
  • False grip ring rows and pull-ups
  • Bent over rows
  • Pendlay rows

3) Dip Strength and Stability on the Rings

In this part, I offer accessory work to increase strength and endurance in your triceps and in the ring dip movement. Don’t be afraid to isolate the triceps or delts in order to improve your dips. The progression covers:

  • Tricep Pull-downs
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Parallette Pushups
  • Ring Support Hold
  • Support to Dip Hold (Negatives)
  • Ring Dip
  • Paused Ring Dip

4) Turnover Drills

The turnover is probably the most crucial piece of the ring muscle up. It is where most people get stuck and can be a big mental block. There is definitely a strength component to the turnover, but it is primarily technique and confidence. Use these drills to get comfortable with the turnover so that you will be prepared to get on top of those rings!

  • Proximal Ring Pull-through
  • Toe Nail Muscle Up
  • Jumping Muscle Up
  • Banded/Seated Strict Muscle Up
  • Box Hip Thrusts

5) How to Put It Together

I know the ring muscle up is sexy and you can’t wait to show everyone that you can do one! However, it’ll be far more impressive and rewarding if you have put in the time and worked each piece over and over again. Now you can use those skills and strength to perform a well-executed muscle up. Keys to success:

  • Get a solid swing. This means no loss of tension, no breaking at the hips/knees/elbows, and keeping full control of your body (especially in the back swing).
  • Pull toward the ceiling. Be horizontal when pulling toward the rings.
  • Use the hip thrust! A good hip extension at the right time will accelerate you to get above the rings.
  • Trust your turnover. You’ve done the drills, so don’t freak out when it’s time to get on top.

In your journey to getting ring muscle ups, take your time and work the basics. You can do the accessory work described in each video a few times a week. Have a pulling day, a dip/pressing day, a turnover day, etc. If you follow that for several weeks, it’ll get you prepared to start attempting great muscle ups!

I hope this helps you on the journey. Feel free to email me at with questions or tag @spsccrossfit in your training videos so we can see you get after it!

-Taylor Race, co-owner SPSC CrossFit at St. Pete Strength & Conditioning