In CrossFit, we commonly identify ring rows to be a scaled version of pull-ups, but the ring row has more to offer than a modification. If you're trying to increase your muscle up count or get your first muscle up, here's why you should be incorporating the ring row into your training:
- Your lats control your end range of motion during the pull of the muscle up and ring rows. A lot of athletes struggle to pull the rings deep enough to where they can transition. That struggle comes from lat weakness or coordination. The ring row allows an athlete to focus completely on the end range of motion on the pull without having to worry about the transition. Many athletes won't get to the end range of the pull because he or she anticipates the transition too early or does not have the strength to reach the end range position.
- Leaning back during the ring row mimics leaning back during the pull. We see a lot of athletes with good strength pulling themselves through the rings instead of behind. Pulling yourself through the rings in a muscle up is possible, but way more difficult than pulling yourself behind the rings. In the ring row, leaning back is necessary for the efficiency of the movement. Leaning back also calls for a nice hollow position in the pull that makes the transition easier and more efficient.
- Lastly: pulling strength. Simply put, you can never have too much pulling strength. When the ring row is completed correctly, your pulling strength is the beneficiary of this movement. And as you already know, pulling strength is a big part of the muscle up.
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~ The False Grips Team