False-Grip Training To Improve Your Muscle Up

October 7, 2015 by VAHVA Fitness

In the muscle up, you are as strong as your weakest link. If you’re lacking wrist strength, then performing a strict muscle up can seem almost hopeless.


False-grip strength is especially important in the ring muscle up, where completing a clean repetition is nearly impossible without holding the false-grip.

Bar muscle ups can be performed without the use of false-grip, but wrist & forearm strength will still play a major role.

There is only one cure though, and that is the specific false-grip strengthening.

False-grip strength is one of the key elements why a strength feat like 10 consecutive strict muscle ups is possible:

What Is A False-Grip?

what is a false-grip?

In false-grip, the wrist is already on rings/bar and holding it requires some strength and mobility.

False-grip in gymnastic is a special grip, where the wrist is already on rings or on a bar.

With the false-grip, there is no need to rotate the grip to get your body on rings or a bar, which makes it easier to do exercises like muscle ups.

Training your false-grip is a great way to strengthen your grip and wrists, but also to improve your wrist and elbow mobility.

Everyone who can hold a strong false-grip, tend to have a great deal of grip and wrist strength. 

Holding a straight-arm false-grip hang is not easy, but it can be achieved by pretty much anyone who focuses on the correct progressions (read below).

How To Train False-Grip

Level 1: Bent-arm False-grip hold with leg support

inverted bent-arm false grip

Mastery: 5 x 15 seconds.

Level 2: Straight-arm false-grip hold with leg support 

inverted false-grip

Mastery: 5 x 15 seconds.

Level 3: Bent-arm false-grip hang

hanging bent-arm false-grip hang

Mastery: 5 x 15 seconds.

Level 4: Straight-arm false-grip hang

hanging false-grip on rings

Mastery: 5 x 15 seconds.

Mastering the level 4 should produce enough mobility to perform your first muscle up, and developing your grip hang even further, will certainly improve your overall muscle up performance. 

All of these progressions are done on rings, but a bar will also suffice. Using a bar just tends to be a bit less comfortable compared to doing it on rings.

You can also include wrist curls and reverse wrist curls with a dumbbell or a barbell to your training regimen. All grip work is beneficial, but they alone aren't sufficient. 

The only way to really improve the false-grip is to practice holding it, so focus on the thing that actually matters.

After you have achieved the level 4, you can add weight, increase the duration of the sets, or practice one arm variations.

When To Train False-grip?

You can do these exercise anytime you like - they will definitely help. They are a great way to warm up your wrists and they also offer a nice finishing touch to any workout.

However, we recommend performing the false-grip training together with your specific muscle up workout. 

To find everything about correct muscle up programming, please use the form below to get access to your free muscle up guide.

Stay safe, train hard.


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