The muscle-up is astonishingly difficult to perform but unrivaled in building upper body strength, writes Coach Greg Glassman.
The muscle-up gets you from under things to on them. It can be a critical survival skill. We do our muscle-ups from rings chiefly because that’s the hardest place possible.
From a normal grip, roll the meat of the hand over the ring, leaving the thumb on the starting side until the wrist opposite the thumb is in full contact with the ring. This is a false grip. It shortens the forearm, greatly improving strength. The false grip is difficult simply because it’s a sufficiently odd feeling that the beginner rarely believes is what’s expected. No false grip, no muscle-up. When an athlete can’t get it, 50% of the time they’ve got too much hand on the thumb’s side of the ring.
Assuming the grip is O.K., a common barrier to the muscle-up Is not being strong enough. Here’s the litmus: if you can do fifteen good pull-ups and fifteen good dips, then you’re strong enough. If you can’t, work your pull-ups and dips overtime until you can do the muscle-up.
If you can do the pull-ups and dips, your grip is good (you’re getting bruised wrists) and you’re still unable to get above rings, then you’re either letting the rings wander away from your body or you aren’t trying hard enough.