THE Muscle-up Tutorial – By Tyson Edwards

The muscle-up is a move that develops all-round upper body strength and is one of the first moves you will learn that uses the False Grip. The stresses on joints and muscles when learning this move will result in some all-round muscle gain and increased flexibility of the shoulders.

This tutorial delves deeper than all others to unlock the true secrets of this move and explains all that is needed for mastering the muscle-up.


Decent pull-ups (pronated grip), chin-ups (supinated grip), dips, holding support and shoulder flexibility are essential prerequisites that you should have before you consider learning the Muscle-Up.

I suggest being able to perform 10 full range of motion pull-ups before you begin learning the muscle-up. Completion of 10 pull-ups will 100% ENSURE you have the required strength to pull into the muscle-up. You may be able to achieve the move earlier but for the accuracy of this tutorial it is best to recommend more than enough than not enough.

When pulling into the muscle-up the pull mimics a chin-up more than it does a pull-up. So why recommend pull-ups? Because pull-ups are the more difficult of the two and emphasise the use of larger muscles, which are more important for functional strength.

Some tips on the pull-up:

Start from dead-hang.

Feet not touching the ground.

Pull your elbows to your side.

Think about squeezing the muscles of your back together and getting your head above your hands.

Make sure to control the eccentric phase of the exercise as well.


I purely mention pull-ups in the video tutorial to cover the strength requirements of the muscle-up. It may be in your best interests to work towards the muscle-up by trying one, some or all of these skill lead ups:

  1. Jumping muscle-up: Simply skip the pull-up phase by jumping and either catch above the rings or in support. The main point of this is to get a practical feel for the technique that is required without any real effort on your behalf. If you catch in support be careful to control the jump as too much slack from a big jump coming down on locked out elbows can be dangerous. If you plan on catching in the 'dipped' position be sure your shoulders are ready for the stretch.

  2. Feet/Knee muscle-up: Set the rings up at a level that allows your feet to stay touching the floor and use the ground as assistance to get into the muscle-up. This way you can practice the technique with some effort (you control the difficulty).

  3. Inclined muscle-up: Another tool in the box is holding onto the rings and hanging in an inclined position performing the muscle-up. The difficulty is set when choosing your incline and won't vary as much as the feet/knee muscle-up during the movement.

  4. Negatives: Self-explanatory but let me explain. Start in support above the rings and come down to hang, making note to reverse the technique that would be used to get up. This needs to be completed slowly for it to have any effect on your training.

  5. Stretch tubing: When you are relatively close to the muscle-up, the use of stretch tubing allows slight assistance without using up all your energy in one attempt.


A False Grip spreads the effort over a wider area and increases your leverage. The false grip will result in the rings rubbing against the skin on your wrist. It can be uncomfortable but persist; this is normal and just part of becoming a beast on the rings. That's not to say bleed all over the rings, etiquette still applies, just be aware your hands and wrists may take a beating when learning this move.

Chalk will help you hold the grip in place.

To grip the rings in a false grip, hold the rings as you normally would and curl your wrist over so that the wrist is now on top.

You can start by lowering the rings to a level that allows you to get the correct false grip feel without hanging.

However, when you do hang, you should feel as though you are hanging from your wrists, not your fingers.

Muscle-ups without a false grip can be done with an explosive pull and using the moment of weightlessness you gain to maneuver yourself into the dip phase (SEEN HERE). This should be attempted when you have overcome the technique and strength requirements of the false grip muscle-up.


The muscle-up involves three key movements; pull up, transition from pull up to dip, and the dip. So in essence, the transition makes the muscle-up. The transition works by continuing to apply a pulling force on the rings from the pull up.

With a false grip in place, your elbows will be in front of you during the pull up.

When you near completion of the pull-up rotate you elbows outwards (to your posterior) as if you are trying to reveal your chest - remember to continue that pulling force!.

As you are making note to reveal the chest, lean your shoulders over your hands and raise your elbows up behind you.

You are now above the rings, in a deep dip, waiting to press to support.


Before you show-off your muscle-up to your new and used friends I recommend you bookmark this page or store these few additional details into your memory bank.

If you haven't noticed I separate the dip/press to support phase from the muscle-up. This is because the transition phase is the core of the muscle-up. In my training I may muscle-up and then go to shoulder stand without pressing to support. I find it note-worthy, with the exception of linking moves together, to advise you to press to support out of every muscle-up that you do, it will set good habits for your future rings training and will further please the masses.



There are many ways to make the muscle-up a more challenging exercise. Train high repetitions (10 – 20 muscle-ups for 3 sets), high sets (3 – 5 muscle-ups for 8 sets) or weighted gear/objects to increase the weight you have to control.

If you have any great innovations to train the muscle-up whether it be skill lead-ups or ways to make the move harder please post it on our FORUM.

As mentioned before, muscles and tendons not accustomed to the demands you place upon them could result in injury. Methods to avoid injuries with the muscle-up include an adequate warm up, not progressing quicker than what your body (particularly your tendons) can handle, taking adequate rest days, and supplying your body with nutrient dense food for optimum recovery.



  • Turn the rings out when in support position with elbows locked at full extension.

  • Have a small gathering with close family and friends to celebrate your achievement.


  • Perform the muscle-up with one arm at a time. Both elbows must transition from the pull to the dip simultaneously.

  • Pike your legs. Keep them parallel to the body during the movement.

  • Lean too far forward on the transition.

If you haven't watched the visual tutorial yet, follow this (LINK).

Good luck with your muscle-up. If you want to share your success, air your distress or have any other questions, go over to the FORUM and post a comment!