Choosing a Strap Length to Make the Most of Muscle-Ups
Written by Travis Ewart
Strap length really does make a difference in the performance of ring swings, thus the muscle-up. Use this as a general guide to take into consideration at your gym to make the most out of you efforts on rings. Bear in mind that an athlete’s proportions do play a factor in how swings and muscle-ups behave.
These allow for a longer and smoother swing with less immediate tension at the bottom of the swing. It is much easier to get a “bigger” swing on longer straps. Long straps feel more like driving a car that can get more distance on a tank of fuel, but starting and stopping are slower.
These make swinging high more difficult, but an athlete can create more immediate speed in the swing due to more connectedness with the rig. Tension at the bottom of the swing will be more abrupt and jerky. Short straps are more like a sports car that is quick off the line and better handling but slow down quickly when off the throttle.
To my knowledge, there are two distinctly different methods of performing a (neutral grip) kipping ring muscle-up.
1. Hip Driving Muscle-Up: Your hips create height and you pull backward on the rings to set your shoulders over the rings.
2. Two-Step Muscle-Up: You swing to a supine position with the hips already relatively high, slightly pause, then bend in the hips while you ring row.
How Strap Length Feels in Each Version of the Muscle-Up
Long Straps in the Hip Driving Muscle-Up: Feels like it’s draining energy from the arms and chest. Feet have a tendency to “fly up” in front of the rings during the transition of not controlled.
Long Straps in the Two-Step Muscle-Up: Feels fluent and the lack of necessity for detailed coordination and explosiveness keeps the muscle-up from being so draining. The swing of the rings after transition and the body position create a great set-up for kipping a dip.
Short Straps in the Hip Driving Muscle-Up: The tension at the bottom of the swing makes driving the hips up high very easy. Transitions feel smooth and, even under fatigue, hips lift and get the rep.
Short Strops in the Two-Step Muscle-Up: Feels slightly unpredictable and slow for the swing of the strap at catch position.
I find – for at least me – that on long straps I will be consistently performing two step muscle-ups and hip driving muscle-ups on short straps. I really hope this helps you athletes out there and gives you some food for thought when approaching your rings!
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