Clearly, we’ve been watching the Olympics and loving it. 

Did you know that the correct grip is everything when it comes to perfecting those muscle-ups on rings or a bar? 

Also, there are many different kinds of grips depending on your body position and what exercise you are performing. 

If you’ve never heard of a false grip, we’re here to tell you it is a thing, and using a false grip takes a lot of strength. 

Let’s get down to business and show you how it’s done.

What is a False Grip?

If you are a gymnast or avid weight lifter, chances are you have used a false grip. 

The idea behind the false grip is that you are able to pull yourself up for your muscle-up using more than just your hand. 

In a false grip, your hand is wrapped around the bar or rings further than normal so that your wrist is higher than your hand. 

This grip allows you to use the muscles in your forearms to lift your body as well as your wrist strength without ever moving your hands. 

We just gave you the secret why gymnasts can glide themselves with almost no movement in the hands when performing on the rings. 

If you were watching the Olympics as much as we were, you might notice that the false grip allowed the gymnasts to keep the rings closer together when pulling up. 

That’s because it allows for less tension when lifting your body so you’re not expending as much energy during muscle-ups.

For reference purposes, a neutral grip is probably the grip you are most familiar using. 

It’s what you do when you perform pull-ups and your hands are gripping the bar and your wrist is hanging underneath your hands. 

Another grip called above the rings grip is exactly what it sounds like.  Once you are above the rings or bar and you are holding onto it, that is what the above grip is called. 

Your wrist are above your hands as is your upper body.

Are False Grips Dangerous?

If you think about using a false grip and the way your wrist is bent, you might be cringing a little and wondering if the false grip is too dangerous to attempt. 

While it’s not dangerous, if you don’t have enough strength in your forearms and wrists, it’s not something you should attempt without following a progression to get there. 

Below are a few exercises that you can use to progress to a false grip.

Ring Rows

For ring rows, sit below the rings and bring your arms up to grip them with a false grip. 

Pull yourself up and do a row and then return back down.  You will want to try about ten of these in a set.  Go for four sets at a time and notice how your strength starts to increase in time.

If you want to perform this on your feet, you can do that as well.  It’s a little bit harder as have to pull up more of your body weight.

The best way to do it is with your feet on an angle as you hold the rings in each hand.

False Grip Pull-Ups

You knew we were going to bring pull-ups into the equation.  They are so much fun! 

If you know how to do regular pull-ups, then this should be a little easier for you.  Don’t stress if not. 

To start, you want to stand on a box or some kind of platform to reach the rings or bar.  This way, you can get your false grip started before your entire body is hanging.  It’s much easier that way. 

Let your bodyweight hang once you have your false grip set, and then do some pull-ups.  We recommend trying about five false grip pull-ups and then resting. 

If you can do a few more sets of five, go for it.  Work your way up to about four sets of five and that will strengthen your wrists and get you more comfortable with the false grip.

False Grip Ball Drill

This one requires a ball of some sort.  You can use anything small like a tennis ball or baseball or lacrosse ball. 

Grip the ball in your hand and then wrap your wrist over the ring or bar.  If you are a beginner, take your other hand and hold it in a neutral grip on the other ring or the bar. 

Let your body hang in this position for about ten seconds—alternate doing this with the other hand as well to build up your false grip strength. 

Eventually, you will be able to hang just with the arm holding the ball without the support of your other hand.  Trust us.  You’ve got this.

Kettlebell False Grip Carry

We all love kettlebells, and now they are suitable for perfecting that false grip technique. 

Grab a kettlebell in each hand with a false grip and let them hang by your sides.  Hold it for as long as you can. 

To increase the weight on your wrists, go for heavier kettlebells or even incorporate the kettlebell farmer’s walk.

False Grip Kipping

Have you ever heard of a kipping swing?  Again, watch the Olympics, people.  It’s phenomenal! 

So you might have noticed the swing that the gymnasts do as they sway their body forward and back to gain momentum before pulling themselves up to the bar or rings.  That is called a kipping swing. 

Get your false grip in place, and then perform some kipping swings. 

Go for about ten swings and then rest.  Increase your sets as you progress and get stronger.

False Grip Dead Hang

Yes, it’s exactly like it sounds.  Grab a bar or rings and hang from them with your false grip.  Don’t pass this off as easy. 

Your entire body weight is pulling on you, so try it for about ten seconds and see how you do. 

If that seemed simple, try for about thirty seconds.  It’s hard now, right?  Keep practicing.

False Grip Bent Arm Hang

Once again, this one is exactly like it sounds.  Perform a false grip and bend your elbows at 90 degrees. 

Hang from the bar for as long as you can.  Two hours later, you will be hurting.  We’re kidding. 

Hang for about ten to thirty seconds, depending on how strong you are.  Work your way up in progression.  

False Grip vs. Neutral Grip

Now that you know how a false grip and neutral grip are different, let’s explore when you should use one. 

Athletes use a false grip for strict muscle-ups mainly. 

In general, you want to use a false grip when you aren’t using a lot of momentum, usually muscle-ups or pull-ups.  A neutral grip is used when you are using a lot of speed or swinging.

Suppose you were to try to hold a false grip while swinging—the chances of hurting your wrist increase tremendously. 

While we did say that false grip kipping was an excellent way to develop strength, usually, when you are kipping for an extended period of time, you will use a neutral grip.

Ready for some False Grips?

You’ve done the research, and now you are ready for some false grip action! 

Don’t be intimidated by this more brutal grip.  While it is a little harder to get than a neutral grip, it benefits you by building strength in your forearms and wrists.  That is something that will help other areas of your fitness training too. 

Practice the different movements that we recommended to build up your strength, and you will be good to go. 

Now let’s get back to watching some incredible gymnastics at the Olympics!

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