Khan Porter On How to Pull Off The Ring Muscle-Up

Khan Porter: how to pull off the ring muscle-up

Men's Health's fitness expert Khan Porter takes you through his step-by-step guide to pulling off the mother of all calisthenics moves: the ring muscle-up.

WHEN IT COMES to show-off gym moves that also have underlying functional benefits, it’s hard to go past the ring muscle-up. Essentially a combination of two killer moves, the pull-up and the dip, the ring muscle-up (RMU) is a compound gymnastic movement popular in CrossFit. To pull it off successfully, the athlete must move from the hanging position at the bottom of the rings to up and over, finishing the movement in a full lockout position.

So, apart from turning heads on outdoor gym equipment in your local park, how can the RMU actually benefit you? Gripping the rings and swinging yourself back, forward and upward requires quite decent grip strength to support your body’s weight and ability to go from the bottom hang position to the press and lock-out at the top, above the rings.

RMU’s also require full-body strength and coordination. While a lot of the force for the movement comes from the hips, RMUs also require a great deal of upper body strength to complete the movement once your chest turn over on the rings. At the same time, to pull off the move while remaining stable on the rings, you also need to develop strength in the back, biceps, triceps, lats, glutes, hips, and core, basically everywhere.

Importantly, your shoulders need both strength and mobility to execute the movement fluidly and without injuring yourself.

How to do a ring muscle-up

While flashy, RMUs are not a move you can just expect to complete without a solid foundation in other compound gymnastics moves. It’s a progressive exercise and you need to be rock solid in fundamentals before you even attempt the full movement.


First, you must be able to execute five strict form pull-ups.


Next, you need to be able to do five ring dips.


Now for the complete movement:

1 Grip a set of Olympic rings that are high enough off the floor that your feet will not touch it.

2 Drive your lower body backward, squeezing your glutes and hips, arching your back, and driving the feet behind you.

3 Engaging your core, swing your feet, legs, hips and core forward, with your arms still extended overhead.

4 As your hips come forward,  engage your lats and begin to pull yourself up to the rings, tucking your chin and starting the upward movement towards the turn-over position.

5 Kick your feet back behind you, turn over on the rings, keeping your shoulders tight to your body before thrusting your chest and head forward.

6 Bring your feet and knees upward and press out of the movement using the force from your lower body.

7 Lower and repeat.

8 Bow to the adoring crowd.



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By Khan Porter

A seven-time CrossFit Games veteran, former state rugby player and national surf lifesaver, there isn’t much in the realm of fitness that Khan Porter hasn’t conquered. Porter is, quite simply, one of Australia’s fittest men. Having spent most of his entire life keeping his body in peak condition, he’s Men’s Health’s go-to guy for all things fitness. From high-energy cardio sessions to sweat-inducing weights workouts, Porter’s fitness acumen knows no bounds.

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