I use Rings for exercise almost every day. I find they offer far more than any Gym machine can offer me, just using them and my own bodyweight. If you start off with Beginner Exercises you can progress to more challenging ones. If you just got your Gymanstic Rings and are looking for a simple Workout Routine, look no further.
Almost all of these exercises can be performed on a Bar, however I find the instability of the Rings has huge benefits for developing strength. Additionally, the ability to rotate the Rings takes tension off the connective tissue around the elbow and reduces the chance of injury.
Gymnastic Rings incorporate balance into exercise and this develops the vitally important stabiliser muscles. If you are not developing stabiliser muscles, your gains are not as functional as you think they are.
I have already made a Beginner Rings Workout and this follows on from that so check that out if you dont have the strength for these exercises.
Ring Pull Ups
Pull ups are such a good exercise as they incorporate your back, arms and forearms into one exercise. They train vertical pulling, a basic foundational cornerstone of bodyweight exercises.
Pull ups can be performed in many different ways. By engaging scapula muscles from a dead hang you can work these important muscles that are often not trained but are crucial to shoulder performance and health. From here, the pull movement should be explosive to go above the rings, before returning to a complete dead hang again.
By incorporating the dead hang and scapula initiation into the exercise, you will increase your strength and the value of the exercise. Concentrating on explosive power with less reps will translate well to advanced exercises such as Ring Muscle Ups.
I often see people just doing Pull ups over and over again with their form and exercise efficiency dropping. You really need to concentrate on what you are doing each rep. If you start to lose form and technique, stop, rest and then retry.
The great thing about bodyweight exercises is they often have a progression tree that leads to a harder exercise that will challenge you and develop different muscles and strength. Perhaps look at pull up variations like Archers or even other exercises such as those below, to maximise your Training and improve you performance.
Your training should be aiming to develop a solid balanced body. As good as pull ups are, you need a diversified and balanced routine to develop true functional strength.
Often neglected by beginners as many concentrate on Pull ups and Push ups. Horizontal Rows train the horizontal plane of pulling muscles including posterior deltoids, back especially lats as well as forearms, biceps and core.
If you are doing push ups, think of this exercise as the natural balance to that. When you put that into perspective , you can see , most people have neglected Horizontal Rows and all those muscles.
As you progress you can develop this exercise into Front Tuck Rows and Planche and Lever Exercises.
Ring Push Ups
These are fantastic at testing your true push up strength. The ability to keep your Core tight and remain in control of the push up movement is truly tested out by the Rings here. The Push up on rings will fire those stabiliser muscles and make you concentrate to stay balanced. Turning the rings out is another great way to increase the difficulty of the exercise and strengthen your shoulders in external rotation.
Many people get stuck in performing huge numbers of push ups. Often this will lead to poor gains and poor technique. Its not about how many reps you do, its about how you do it. If you aren't doing the exercise properly its really reducing your efficiency, so consider recording your push ups and see what you can do to improve them.
Again this exercise leads to further Progressions including Archer Push ups, Tuck Planche Push ups and Pseudo Planche Push ups, which may or may not use the rings.
Balance and knowing your limitations are important here.
Ring Dips are an exercise and that most of us will think of, when training beginner rings.
If you haven't done rings work before check out the Beginner Ring Dips exercises in the previous video in this series.
Once you can do these and a static hold, go into the static hold and drop down keeping your arms close to your body.
Ring dips are fantastic at working on triceps, chest as well as shoulder stabilisers and shoulder extension.
Ring Dips can cause anterior shoulder pain, which is likely the Long head of your biceps tendon, so make sure warm up and stretch before doing these. We have a post on the blog about Warming up before Calisthenics exercise and how to Manage your body if you are getting injured.
Front Tuck Holds
The Last exercise is the Front tuck hold.
I find newcomers to Calisthenics don't really have good strength for this exercise. If this includes you, well its time to start working on it.
The Front Tuck hold will work on your back, arms , forearms and core. This is where we develop straight arm strength.
Honestly if you work on Front tuck holds, Pull ups and Horizontal Rows, your back will develop far better than it could on any gym machine.
Once in position retract the scapula and breathe through, trying to maintain a hold of first 5 and then ten seconds. Once you can do this you can start to look and Advanced Tuck holds and One leg Front lever and Half and Half's.
Rings have numerous advantages, keeping your training varied, interesting and challenging. It really is the key to having a long workout history rather than exercising for 1-2 months andthen getting bored and stopping.
This Workout is just an Introduction. Of course there are many other exercises including Back Lever Tucks, Skin the Cats and Feet to Rings Core Exercises that would also fit in nicely into an Intermediate Rings Workout. And I definitely recommend that you should add these into your Routines.
Bars and Rings
Gymnastic Bars are great, but Rings offer far more for balance and stabiliser muscles. Because Rings can be rotated they take tension off tendons and ligaments and this reduces injury.
Calisthenics can be brutal on your body especially around the common extensor and flexor regions of your elbow, so having ring exercises will reduce this, but not entirely eliminate it.
Check out the full video on Intermediate Rings Workout and Get Out on the Rings Today.