Ring muscle ups are one of the most beautiful, challenging, and high skill movements you’re going to see crossfitters perform both in the box and at competition. If you’re looking to get your first RMU or improve on your current ring muscle up skill, then this article is going to help you do just that.
What Are Ring Muscle Ups
Ring muscle ups are so much more than just a swing, dip, and press. In fact, ring muscle ups require much more skill, finesse, and strength than most people think. Sure, anyone can hop on the rings and flail around, but if you’re taking your performance to the next level and eventually want to string rep after rep together, you’ll want to understand the movement further. Ring muscle ups are a compound gymnastic, high skill movement, designed to take an athlete from the hanging position in the bottom of the rings to up and over, completing the movement in a full lockout position. They’re used in competitive CrossFit often and rarely programmed into class workouts or basic training due to the skill development.
Ring Muscle Up Benefits
Gripping the rings and swinging yourself back, forward, and upward, does require quite a bit of strength from your hands gripping the Olympic rings. Even in progressive movements that build up to completing ring muscle ups effectively, such as ring rows, kipping drills, and others, you’re going to be building massive strength in the hands, grip, forearms, biceps and triceps, all to be able to support your body’s weight and ability to go from the bottom hang position to the press and lock out at the top, above the rings.
Coordination and Strength
RMU’s require full body strength and coordination between the arms, upper body, core, hips, and lower body. While most of the force for the movement is driven through the hips, the movement itself does require a very high level of upper body strength to complete the movement once the chest turns over on the rings. On top of arm strength, you’re also going to be able to develop strength in the back, biceps, triceps, lats from pulling, as well as the glutes, hips, and core. Once you begin to string the reps together for kipping ring muscle ups, not just singles, you’re going to need even more strength and muscular endurance to be able to provide yourself with the coordination needed to start, finish, and restart the movement over and over again.
As with just about any gymnastics movement you see in competitive CrossFit training, the shoulders will not only require strength, but a great deal of mobility. With mobile shoulder joints you can not only see this translate into strong RMU’s but also into other movements in the sport, like push jerks, hand stand push ups, and more.
If you’re looking to become a more competitive athlete in CrossFit or functional fitness competitions then practicing and mastering ring muscle ups are going to be key for you. This movement is regularly programmed at the Rx and Elite level for CrossFit competitions and you will need to know it to really set yourself apart in the field.
How To Do Ring Muscle Ups
Step 1: Hop up onto a set of Olympic rings that are far enough off the floor that your feet will not touch. Using your grip strength to get your knuckles and hands up and over on the rings, you will begin to initiate the swing
Step 2: To initiate the swing/kip, you will want to drive your lower body backward, squeezing the glutes and hips, arching the back, and driving the feet behind you. Remember, the together the movement the more force you can drive.
Step 3: Engaging the core, swing the feet, legs, hips and core forward into the hollow body position, with the arms still extended overhead
Step 4: As the hips come forward, you will want to engage your lats and begin to pull yourself up to the rings, tucking your chin, initiating the upward movement towards the turn over position
Step 5: Kicking your feet back behind you, turn over on the rings, keeping your shoulders nice and tight to your body, thrusting your chest and head forward
Step 6: Bring the feet and knees upward, creating force, and press out of the movement using the force generation from your lower body (not just the triceps)
Step 7: Lower and repeat the kipping movement for rep 2
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