Strict Muscle-Up: Foundations & Positioning

Are you ready to get your first strict muscle-up on rings? There are a few essential techniques that will put you in optimal positioning for the movement. Gymnastics expert Pamela Gagnon discusses what you need to do with your grip, torso positioning, and pulling positions in this video. Dr. Zach Long also breaks down the most critical mobility component you need for strict muscle-ups.

Created by Pamela and Zach, Performance Plus Programming has helped thousands of athletes get their first ring muscle-up. Check out our First Strict Muscle-Up program that has helped thousands of athletes finally cross this off their goals list!

The Strict Muscle-Up

Video Transcript

When learning the strict ring muscle-up, we want to master three positions: the pull, the transition, and the dips. So the first thing you need to know in a strict ring muscle-up is you must use a false grip to go from pull to press position without having to slide the hand. So you want the ring to come to cut the thumb portion all the way down to the wrist portion.

You also want to think of yourself as being tall or kind of moving up in a straight line because what is the fastest way from point A to B? It is a straight line. It also keeps our rib in the right position, which is basically neutral or slightly tucked in that halt.

Here is the first position that we’re going to master. We’re going to master the pull. You’ll notice that my eyesight is forward. My rib is in a neutral position.

Once we master the pull, we go to the transition, keeping the rings in nice and close. You’ll see my rib pulling down just slightly into a little more of a hollow that will allow my elbows to be in a pressing position.

After we master that transition, then we need the strength to dip out into the top of the support.

This takes a ton of strength, mobility, and conditioning, so be patient while learning this skill. Also, make sure that you master the strength before you work on kipping for safety purposes. It’s imperative to have the strength before you add in that.

Strict Muscle-Up Mobility

A key component to getting your strict ring muscle-up can get the shoulder fully opened up. You’ll see a lot of individuals with tightness in their shoulders. As they go to muscle up, they have to start with a bent elbow because they can’t fully open up the shoulder.

This is the test we’re going to use to determine if you need to work on shoulder flexibility to help your muscle-up positioning. So Pamela’s sitting with her legs crossed, back flush against a ring or a wall. With her hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and her palms upright. We’re going palms upright because when we go to the false grip in a strict muscle-up, the arm is going to be a little externally rotated, so this helps to emphasize that. This is a tough mobility test to be able to keep the back flat and fully open the shoulder up there. A lot of people are going to fail.

But if you fail this test and you’re developing your strict ring muscle-up and then progressing to kipping muscle-ups, you’ll see a lot of little changes in your movement pattern happen because, as you try to open up in that kip, don’t have that mobility. So your movement patterns will get altered. And you’ll lose the efficient transfer of force. Because of that, you will be robbing yourself long-term of the number of reps you can do. Or increasing the amount of energy it takes to perform each rep.

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