How To Start Training With Gymnastic Rings


Images: Glen Burrows. Mannequin: James Stark

If you happen to’re like a lot of the inhabitants, your first have a look at gymnastics rings most likely got here by way of the Olympics, courtesy of improbably-muscled athletes doing strikes that appear to be Batman’s warm-up.

However now, because of the recognition of CrossFit and calisthenics coaching, increasingly more gyms are dangling rings from the rafters (and fairly priced units are available on-line) – even when it’s nonetheless uncommon to see anybody use them for something aside from dips or pull-ups. However there’s a center floor between the fundamentals and the Olympians, and it is smart to search out it.

If neatly deliberate, ring coaching combines energy, hypertrophy and joint well being, forcing your physique to work in surprising methods and construct the straight-arm energy that’s so necessary in calisthenics.

“They’ll additionally permit you to work your shoulders by way of ranges the place they’d usually be weak, serving to your shoulder joints get wholesome and robust,” says James Stark, an ex-gymnast and calisthenics coach. “Some folks go too far too quick, however with applicable progressions, it’s a wonderful type of coaching.”

Lastly, there’s one other, much less apparent profit. Strikes just like the pull-up and dip can put extra pressure on the elbows should you do them every single day, since your wrist desires to naturally rotate however can’t. Rings present a easy answer, as a result of they let your wrists rotate all through the motion.

With joint well being taken care of, you’ll be able to embrace high-frequency coaching – and since you’ll be able to sling your rings up wherever, you should utilize them extra usually than your thrice-weekly journeys to the fitness center may enable. Time to ring some modifications.

Three Gymnastic Rings Strikes In Temporary

Illustration: Sudden Impression. Left to proper: Help, L-sit, lever.

There’s an enormous quantity of information in our complete information beneath, so if you’d like a way of the place to begin and the vacation spot, right here’s what you’re letting your self in for.


This place doesn’t appear to be a lot, but it surely’s powerful to carry. Most individuals begin with straight arms held near their sides, however gymnasts goal to show their fingers out till their palms face forwards, locking out their elbows for higher effectivity. Practice it with five- to ten-second holds, then graduate to utilizing it throughout dips – even when you are able to do ten strict ring dips, you’ll most likely wrestle to do 5 with an efficient turnout on the prime of every rep. It’s additionally surprisingly powerful in your core.


The L-sit is the best abs transfer you (most likely) aren’t doing. In addition to working your core, it’ll enhance your shoulder well being and in addition hit your arms. Get into the highest assist place and convey your legs up parallel to the bottom – if even that is too powerful, you’ll want to begin along with your legs bent, or prolonged separately. Work as much as ten to 15 seconds on every variation earlier than transferring on to the following one, and in case your triceps get too drained, strive it from the even-tougher useless hold.


Appears to be like unimaginable? Shock: the entrance lever is simply very, very arduous. Even 5 seconds of holding, which might be powerful, will tax your core and decrease again but additionally your pulling muscle tissues, making it a potent mass-builder. Begin with 30- to 60-second holds on the bottom (toes and shoulder blades off the ground), then transfer as much as hanging from the rings and making an attempt to get your again parallel to the ground, along with your legs tucked, flattening on the rings. Now simply straighten these legs…

Getting Set Up With Gymnastic Rings

Right here’s what it is advisable know earlier than you begin your ring coaching regime

What sort of rings ought to I get?

Wooden is most snug on the wrists and straightforward to grip, however costly. Plastic is cheaper, and you may hold them out in any climate. Steel is ultra-durable however not pleasant in your wrists. If it suits your finances, wooden’s the perfect wager – it additionally absorbs sweat, which means you’ll be capable of maintain on higher when issues get difficult.

The place ought to I hold them?

A tree department or out of doors pull-up bar is right, if it’s sturdy sufficient. At dwelling, you should utilize rafters in your storage, a door-mounted pull-up bar – although not for “inverted” strikes – or eyelets bolted to your ceiling, should you’re the DIY sort. Alternatively, take them to the fitness center. Simply ask earlier than you hold them up.

How excessive ought to they be?

It will depend on your coaching. Typically, you’ll practice above-the-ring and below-the-ring strikes individually, so there’s no drawback with adjusting their top between rounds. Till you are able to do the fundamentals underneath management, it’s at all times a good suggestion to have the ability to contact the bottom at any level throughout a motion, so you’ll be able to dismount underneath management in case your energy fails you.

The Starter Plan

Earlier than anything, you need to self-assess to ensure you’ve bought the energy, management and shoulder flexibility to drag off harder strikes. One benefit of rings coaching is the elevated vary of movement it permits, however with out robust shoulder ligaments, that may trigger hassle. If you are able to do the beneath, you’re all set; if not, begin on one rep or three seconds of every transfer, and improve it with each exercise.

Prime assist

Goal 15sec

Leap into the highest place of a dip – elbows locked, rings near your physique, knuckles going through your sides. Maintain for a second, then flip your knuckles outward. This locks your elbows into place, making the place extra secure.

Tuck hold

Goal 15sec

With the rings above you, seize on and hold with “activated” shoulders – goal to drag your shoulders away out of your ears whereas conserving your arms straight. Tuck your knees to your chest and maintain.


Goal 5 reps

It’s more durable than the common model, although conserving the rings near your physique will assist. Lean ahead on the rings and decrease till their edges contact your armpits, then press up.


Goal 5 reps

Begin along with your palms going through one another and brace your abs to minimise swinging. As you pull, twist your palms to face you, pause on the prime – then decrease.

Gymnasium Rings Strikes For Core Power

To get abs of metal use the holy trinity of rings strikes: the L-sit, entrance lever and again lever – each works your core from a special angle. Do one of many three on the finish of every of your weekly exercises.


Targets Decrease abs, hip flexors, obliques

From the highest assist place, convey your legs up till they’re parallel to the ground, brace your abs and maintain. In case your flexibility’s hurting you, practise the transfer on the ground: sit along with your fingers as far forwards as attainable and convey your legs up barely, then decrease, for 5 reps.

How To Work Up To The L-Sit: For the primary 4 weeks, do the tuck development (see A, beneath), growing the time every week as outlined beneath. Then do the one-leg development (see B, beneath for 4 weeks, then straddle, you then’ll lastly be prepared for full extension.

  • Week 1: Three x 5sec
  • Week 2: 5 x 5sec
  • Week 3: Three x 10sec
  • Week 4: 5 x 10sec

A Tuck Convey your knees to your chest and brace your abs. To do the superior tuck, straighten your again and convey your knees to a 90˚ angle away out of your physique.

B One-leg From the superior tuck place, convey one leg away out of your physique, then the opposite. You may also do that for reps, relatively than time.

C Straddle Straighten your legs, conserving them as far aside as attainable. The nearer you convey them collectively, the nearer to the total transfer you’ll be.

D Full Extension Convey your legs collectively and out in a straight line away out of your physique, bracing your abs and glutes to maintain your physique in a straight line. And maintain.

Again Lever

Targets Again, biceps, higher abs

Begin such as you’re doing a pores and skin the cat (see beneath), conserving your legs straight. As your hips cross the highest of the transfer, straighten your physique so that you simply’re hanging parallel to the ground, face down. This transfer places lots of pressure in your biceps, so do it whenever you’re recent and don’t overdo the reps.

Entrance Lever

Targets Lats, higher abs

A lot more durable than the again lever. You’ll want to make use of your lats to lock your self into place, which makes it extraordinarily difficult. It’d take longer to grasp than the opposite two strikes, but it surely’s a stable show-off pose. Pull slowly into the place and brace your complete physique.

Gymnastic Ring Workouts To Work Up To

The Shoulder Fixer: Pores and skin The Cat

While you did this as a child, it was straightforward. Now that you simply’re grown up, it’s basic to full-ROM shoulder energy. By hanging from the rings after which rotating your physique by way of your arms, you are taking your shoulders to full extension, the place you’ll be able to hold within the place often known as the German Hold for a stretch. Right here’s the superior model.

Phrase of warning: should you’ve had shoulder accidents take your time and progress slowly.

Development 1: Tuck

Begin from the tuck hold place. Use your abs to convey your knees up and over your head, then barely behind you. If it’s snug, decrease them behind you till you are feeling a stretch in your shoulders. Hold the rings low so you’ll be able to put your toes on the bottom whenever you’re executed.

Development 2: One-leg Hold

Subsequent, convey one leg out forward of you and do the transfer once more. This time, give attention to conserving your palms going through ahead: this’ll make you stronger for the total straight-arm model.

Development 3: German Hold

Now you’re going to maintain each legs straight. Doing the transfer along with your legs straight is a complicated model that requires lots of core energy. Attempt to pull your self over into the place and again once more with none bend in your elbows or knees. It’ll additionally enhance your pulling movement from the hips, making you higher at every little thing from muscle-ups to Olympic lifts.

Present-Off Transfer 1: Archer Pull-Up

This transfer appears to be like good alone, but it surely’s the entry-level model of one thing rather more spectacular. “If you happen to’re making an attempt to do a one-arm chin-up, it makes extra sense on rings,” says Stark. “The rotation of the rings makes it a lot simpler in your elbows.” There are three progressions to the total transfer – no added weight required.

Degree 1: Push At The Prime

For this variation, carry out a pull-up as regular. Then, on the prime, press one arm out to the aspect and convey it again in. Do one other rep, and repeat on the opposite aspect. It’s barely harder than the conventional pull-up, but it surely requires management.

Degree 2: Sluggish Down

Subsequent , do your pull-up, press your arm out to 1 aspect on the prime, then decrease with that arm nonetheless straight. Repeat on the opposite aspect for the following rep. Specializing in the eccentric part builds energy, whereas letting you retain management.

Degree 3: Straight Up

For the hardest variation, maintain one arm as straight as attainable all through a complete pull-up. You’ll get some help from the straight arm, which you’ll scale back as you progress to the one-arm chin.

Present-Off Transfer 2: Strict Muscle-Up

You’ve most likely seen folks do the “kipping” model, jerking and flinging themselves above the rings like a salmon ascending a waterfall. In gymnastics, although, the muscle-up is completed strict: it’s a pull-up that transitions easily right into a dip with minimal motion from the legs. It’s additionally a transfer that instructions respect wherever you bust it out.

The model pictured above, with legs straight, requires an enormous quantity of core energy and is a complicated demonstration of the transfer. Begin through the use of the shape guides on the best – when you’ve perfected the fundamentals, you’ll be able to strive the straight-legged model.

Step 1: The Grip

For the muscle-up, you’ll want to make use of a “false” grip, which suggests conserving your wrist above the rings. To do it, grip the ring after which level your knuckles again in the direction of you, bringing the ring near the crease of your wrist. At first, you’ll barely be capable of straighten your arms from this place. Work on hangs, rows and at last pull-ups to get used to it.

Step 2: The Pull

You’ll want a stable physique place and a powerful pull to stand up to the transition half with out kicking. Convey your toes ahead with straight legs and brace your abs, then pull your physique as excessive as attainable whereas holding the place – your objective is to get to the purpose the place your chin’s above your knuckles. Hold it gradual and managed. Do 5 units of as many reps as attainable two or 3 times per week, till you are able to do 5 managed reps.

Step 3: The Transition

The difficult bit. Throughout the transition, you’ll have to roll your shoulders forwards to get your weight over your fingers for the ultimate push. Your physique comes between your fingers as you convey your head forwards. To get used to it, use the “child muscle-up”: kneel on the bottom and pull, utilizing help out of your legs as you progress by way of the transition. Practise for a number of units every session till you’re snug.

Step 4: The Push

That is the simple bit – should you can handle a handful of full-range ring dips, you’ll do it simply. From the highest, reverse the transfer and management the transition right down to construct eccentric energy all through the entire rep.

Present-Off Transfer 3: Ahead Roll

It’s not even entry-level in Olympic gymnastics, but it surely’s one of the vital spectacular issues you are able to do in a fitness center and it takes critical energy, management and co-ordination. “You’re primarily beginning on the prime of a dip, rolling over the rings after which pulling again into the beginning place by doing a really managed type of muscle-up,” says Stark. So the strict muscle-up is a prerequisite. When you’ve nailed that, right here’s the right way to do the transfer.

Begin within the prime assist place, then increase your hips as you decrease right into a dip. Your hips ought to be increased than your shoulders as you attain the underside of the dip. Conserving your arms bent, preserve a false grip and maintain the rings near your chest as you enable your head to roll underneath the rings. When your hips begin dropping, battle to maintain your toes excessive. Go straight right into a muscle-up to return to the assist place.