Somehow in the past few years the muscle up has gained some renown as an exercise, as opposed to just a way to get up onto the rings and then do something useful. Sadly as the use of rings as a training apparatus has become more mainstream the basics of using them seem to never get taught. The end result is ghastly things like kipping muscle-ups, and other bastardized versions of actual ring training. So the goal today is to try and ensure people understand how to use the rings in such a way that they don’t walk away with gaping holes in their wrists.
If a person has exceptional technique I don’t actually think these are needed, but we might as well set some ground rules so I don’t have to watch another person jump off a box and hope they will somehow make it up onto the rings.
1) 5 chest high pull-ups (no kip)
2) 5 low dips
If you want something to train that will cross over really well to this exercise, archer pull-ups, archer presses, and one arm lock offs are all exceptional at building strength that transfers over really well to muscle ups.
1) False grip
Do not put your wrist on the ring. This is the first mistake that everyone does, they see someone use a false grip, figure that they just hang off their wrist, and then the whole program shuts down from there. Much like pressing a kettle-bell, or setting up for a bench press, the weight needs to be centered on the heel of the palm. This gives you an axis to rotate around, limits sliding and movement of the hands, and does some cool neuro stuff with bicep activation.
2) Leg position
Now it is very easy to do a muscle up in L-sit if you are both strong and happen to possess good technique. However, if you are new to the movement the last thing you want is for your legs to be pulled up when you actually try to rotate from below to above the rings. You can either keep them down the whole time or swing them down as you go through your sticking point, but do not try to rotate onto the ring with your legs up. It makes things harder.
Assuming you actually have the prerequisites down well then this will actually be super easy. Simply do a nice high pull-up using a false grip with your palms facing each other. At the top of the pull drop your legs and lean forward to bring our elbows from below to above the rings, then simply press out of your low dip. Easy.
Once you pull off getting up onto the rings start looking at a super controlled descent. Dip low, and then rather than dropping into a hang try and control the movement of your elbows from above to below the rings. This portion will allow you to keep your false grip more easily, thus allowing multiple reps (of a transitionary movement, but I am trying to get over that). Working that negative is actually a rather good piece of training if you are looking to actually get good at training with rings.
This is a very tricep intensive exercise. I would definitely focus on doing some good soft tissue work on the triceps as it will keep the likelihood of sore elbows down. Other than that the usual stretches for the upper body; lats, pecs, shoulders. The triceps are the big one to look at here though, some ART style work on a hard ball against a wall or on the floor will do wonders.