Muscle ups…as they say anything worth learning can be taught in multiple ways and with muscle ups a big divider is false grip vs monkey grip. I will start with saying both have their place and like anything in CrossFit the goal would be to master both grips and their associated uses but let’s look at why you might start in one way or the other.
Let’s start with the false grip. A false grip is where the wrist is in contact with the ring creating an angle that allows a transition from pulling to pushing without changing hand placement. The false grips place is with ring movements that are strict, or strength based. So, you might opt to concentrate on a false grip ring MU if you are a strong athlete…if you tend to ‘muscle’ your way through things rather than rely on a kip. A good place to start if you are looking to achieve a strict or ‘false grip’ MU is to build strength in the grip position itself…here is a great drill using tennis balls to help build strength in that position.
Logically a monkey grip or a neutral grip is your ‘standard’ grip…like you are clenching a fist around the ring. A monkey grip is beneficial for kipping, dynamic ring movements…it allows you to create a long fluid kip and generate motion. With a monkey grip you will need a grip transition to move your hand on top of the ring to transition from pulling to pushing. You are likely to prefer a neutral grip if you are good at generating power from a kip and you rely more on this with other gymnastic movements. With a neutral grip therefore, you are going to want to focus on ensuring you have the best kip possible…take a look at this video for some tips from Kari Pearce to purely focus on the kipping motion.
To summarise false grip is for strict/strength movements on the rings and is probably your route to your first MU if you are a stronger ‘muscle’ through it athlete and a monkey or neutral grip is going to be your preferred method if you like to generate force in a kip.
Senior Coach – CrossFit Central Wellington