A Gym Novice Explains How He Finally Did His First Ring Muscleup


Last year, Brandon Jones of YouTube’s Goal Guys began incorporating ring workouts into his training regime, in the hope that it would improve his strength and stability. “Having to stabilize and balance on the rings made even the most familiar exercise feel new and challenging,” he says. In his latest video, Jones explains how after that challenge, he set himself the task of mastering the ring muscleup, and shares how he trained in order to achieve this goal.

“I begin practicing assisted muscleups using my lower body as support,” he says, “trying to go slow through the negative to get familiar with the motion using eccentrics. And just working through the muscleup assisted is still a lot tougher than I thought it would be.” In addition to this assisted version of the muscleup, Jones also practices exercises like ring pullups, ring dips and bodyweight rows, and adds weights to his ring pullups to ensure he continues to build strength as well as stability.

“While the ring muscleup is a more controlled movement compared to the bar muscleup, you still need that explosive upper back strength to get yourself high enough to start the transition,” he says. “Explosive pullups are a great foundation for building that foundational strength through your lats, that allows you to pull yourself through the first phase of the muscleup.”

When he starts out, Jones makes some errors in his technique, such as having his elbows face away from him—something which he learns to correct in order to reduce the amount of stress being placed on his joints. Instead, he focuses on pulling the rings down to the center of his chest, with his elbows tight at his sides. “Catching this mistake early was kind of a wakeup call that I need to do my homework, and to make sure that there aren’t any other mistakes or areas of training I’m neglecting,” he says.

Nine weeks into his progressions, Jones graduates from banded muscleups and is able to complete one ring muscleup to good form—one rep closer to his three-rep goal. “Once I finally got the first muscleup out of the way, I knew it was just a matter of time if I stuck with what was working,” he says. He continues training, and adds Russian pullups to his routine, to maximize his shoulder stability.

Two weeks later, he attempts his three reps, and makes it through the first two before he starts to struggle. Eventually, he speeds up his reps slightly and this helps him to complete all three. “This was such a satisfying exercise to finally learn,” he says.

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