Iron Cross Drills

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What are some exercise's That will help me to get the Iron Cross I really dont have anything to work with 6 days out of seven but a normal stuff you would have in any house and an area about 7/10 feet to exercise at and a pull up bar.

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Jan 21, 2007
Baltimore, MD
Honestly, there's not much you can do for crosses without access to a pair of rings. Fortunately, you can get a pair online pretty cheap that you can hang from a tree branch, playground bar, or whatever at Welcome to Gymnastic Bodies Website

Wide arm pull-ups may help.

If you can access a set of rings, first train a solid support. Rings turned out, elbows locked, straight body, hold it completely stable. Once you can do this, there are two ways to attack the cross.

The first is to put your arms through the rings, so the rings are on your upper arm somewhere between your elbow and your shoulder and hold a cross like this. You can adjust the resistance by moving the rings closer and farther from your shoulders.

The second is to get a stretch band, put it between the rings, and put your feet on the band so that it holds some of the weight, and lower to a cross.

It is a very good idea to do some rotator cuff exercises if you are working crosses, as it is very very easy to injure the rotator cuff doing these.


Wide arm pullups, Wide arm L-pullups, One arm pullup progressions ( lock off at top, lower down and use other arm to assist ).

Besides a solid support with the hands turned out dips, you need to work wide arm dips and rings turned out dips besides the ability to do a smooth muscle-up.

Another good drill is wide arm HS on the floor or against a wall.

You can also use a box or chair, put your feet on it and lower down into the cross. Piked legs is harder than bent knees.

Cross pullouts from a pushup position with the rings set low are good.

Back lever should be easily accomplished with the palms facing down.

Thanks for the useful Tip's one questions tho Blair you say to do a wide arm Handstand.

Are you talking about basically doing a inverted cross on floor if so my coach said that that would exercise a totally different muscle group. Is this true?


There is a little crossover but it's just another exercise for home. If anything it trains to make the elbow strong which is necessary for IC as their is considerable load on the elbow.

If you can't get a set of rings or make a set, simply get two pieces of rope and some pvc that is about the length of your hand. Instant crude rings. Hang them from your pullup bar. I made this when I was ringless. However, because the rope is so short it isn't the same as the straps on a set of rings hung from the ceiling because it has more stability (because straps/rope is shorter).
Jun 26, 2009
I don't do rings, but I see guys at my gym doing this all the time. They hang little trainer rings from the High Bar, and then they hold a flexible bungee in each hand and stand on it while in an iron cross position. They all have been getting better at Iron Crosses.


Spotting or weight bands/bungee is just about the best method versus other self-spotting drills.
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