Getting Familiar With The Strict Muscle Up: Grip

 In this post, we will cover the first phase of the strict muscle up - grip. Specifically, what is the false grip, the advantages of using it, the muscles used and how to use False Grips to develop a stronger grip to help you get your first strict muscle up.


Getting false grip right.

What is a false grip?

The false grip technique is what must be used in a strict ring muscle up and you do it by flexing the heel of your hand over the top of the rings, approximately 90 degrees, while holding your bodyweight. Your ability to maintain your wrist flexed in this position will be a determining factor in your ability to do a strict ring muscle up. 

What is the advantage of the false grip?

This technique allows you to reduce the distance between your body and an object. As a result, you will gain more leverage to pull yourself onto the object.

Similar to the way a baseball player chokes up on a bat to increase the strength and speed of their swing, getting into a false grip will give you better strength and control over the rings. Additionally, using the false grip technique allows us to have our hands already in place when we transition from below to on top of the rings as we will not have to adjust the grip in the middle of the movement. 

What muscles are used for this grip?

The primary muscles used in the false grip technique are in your forearms, which flex your palms toward the underside of your arm. Unfortunately, not many athletes train specific wrist and forearm strength frequently enough and thus struggle with maintaining the false grip!

training with atlas stones is a similar 'wrist flexed' position as false grip.

Atlas stones and sandbag training are a couple of examples I see athletes do at the gym that provides a similar "wrist flexed" position like the false grip technique. Have you ever done a REALLY good stone workout and noticed your forearms being super sore the next day? 

Using False Grips

In this previous post we talked about the benefits of using False Grips for developing false grip strength. Take a look here.

How to get into a proper false grip on False Grips

Getting into a false grip on False Grips is similar to the way that it would be on the rings:

 On low rings:

bottom of dip first

(Left) Get into the bottom of a ring dip position, which is where you will be “catching” yourself once you come over the top of the rings.

(Right) Keeping your hands in place, rotate your elbows and body underneath the rings. The palms will rotate inward to the front of the body and be facing each other. Make sure you don’t have any uncomfortable skin folds before you begin the exercise. 

On high rings:

On a box if needed, reach up to the rings with the wrists flexed to 90 degrees. Put the corner of your hand and wrist onto the outside corner of the False Grips platform. Make sure the grip feels comfortable before settling your bodyweight onto the rings. Jumping to the rings to get into a false grip is NOT preferred. You will be forced to waste precious energy situating your grip and likely tear wrist skin in the process.

Always adjust your grip to make sure there are no skin folds or discomfort in your grip before beginning the movement. A more confident grip will make for more confident movement.  

Applying false grip

In a previous post, I provided examples of the correct and incorrect false grip technique and what that actually looks like. I also provided examples of drills that you can do to improve your strength in the grip.  

Maintaining your false grip

When linking multiple muscle ups (assisted or not), you’ll need to continue to adjust the grip as you go, especially when returning back to below the rings after a completed muscle up. If your false grip loosens and fails, it is very difficult to get it again in the middle of a repetition, so it’s best to get a good grip first!


Ready to get started? Our False Grips Muscle Up Program is also a great resource for developing the grip (and everything else) to help you get your first muscle up. What are you waiting for? Get your False Grips and start working toward your strict muscle up today!