Reaching the Ring Muscle Up


The ring muscle up is a gymnastics movement that requires great control and strength in the athlete’s upper body. The movement is completed as the athlete hangs from the rings and pulls his/her torso up above the rings until full lock-out of the arms is achieved. Just as with the bar muscle up, the ring muscle up is a complex movement that often requires athletes to work on various progressions in order to achieve correct technique. This exercise is great for strengthening the entire upper body, as it effectively works not only the shoulders, but also arms, back and core muscles.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.


  1. Set Up Rings to Correct Height: Set up the rings high enough above your head so that when you are hanging from the rings with arms fully extended, your feet do not touch the ground. You should still be able to jump up and grab the rings easily, but this height will allow for full clearance as you swing your body.
  2. Work the Kip: Just as with the bar muscle up, the kip you will use is a little unique from a traditional pull-up, as you will need to be a bit more patient and allow your body to get further behind the rings so that you can fully swing yourself up and over the rings. With your body further behind the rings, you will generate more momentum that will help get you up and over.
  3. Pull Hands Toward Belly Button: Often athletes will try to pull their hands toward their chest or arm pits as they attempt to get their torso up above the rings. However, this position does not create enough space for you to effectively shift your weight and get your torso over the rings. Instead, as you come out of your kip, focus on pulling your arms and hands down toward your belly button. This motion will create more momentum and help you get your torso much higher ultimately helping you achieve a ring muscle up.
  4. Link Multiples by Pushing Back and Away: To link multiple ring muscle ups together, as you reach the top of the movement and begin to come down, think about pushing yourself back and away to create as much momentum as possible. Remember – the more momentum created with your body, the more efficiency in leveraging your body back up and over the rings once again. (Doing this can put a lot of stress on the shoulder joint. If you struggle with shoulder mobility or pain, you can link muscle ups together by lowering yourself to the bottom of your dip and then falling into your next swing.)
  5. Do a Sit-Up: As your torso reaches the rings, attempt a sit-up to push your torso further forward over the rings. This will help your center of gravity get above the rings correctly so that you can fully push up with your arms and achieve lock out in the arms.
  6. Keep Feet Together: Just as with other gymnastics movements, keep the feet tight together versus flailing apart. This creates greater efficiency in the movement and will improve your ability to link multiple ring muscle ups together.


QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.


Fierce Play’s Hanging Gymnastics Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.


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Mark Mancuso started his fitness journey while enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Like most individuals, at first, he only focused on bodybuilding type workouts. Mark learned quickly that focusing just on the aesthetics of the body would get you only so far. In 2013, Mark found out about Crossfit and fell in love with everything that it stood for.

In June of 2015, Mark was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps and returned from his duty station in Okinawa, Japan to his home in Maple Grove, MN. Not having any formal coaching in Crossfit he was on a mission to find a Crossfit Box to call home. Fierce Play welcomed him with open arms, and he hasn’t looked back. Mark obtained his Level One Crossfit certification in November 2015 and plans to add additional certifications in the future. He also intends to compete in a variety of Crossfit competitions as opportunities arise.


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Jeff Birthler has a contagious passion for fitness. He graduated and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Personal Training Institute in 2010. On his way, he discovered and fell in love with CrossFit. Jeff hasn’t stopped learning, and still seeks a well-rounded education within the health domain, going beyond physical facets. He has trained clients at several corporate gyms, including Fitness 19 and LA Fitness, as he established a plan for his own gym.

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