Having spent a majority of my youth in gymnastics, I love seeing the general fitness community incorporate and embrace some of the pieces of equipment I spent years training on. It’s not uncommon to stroll in to your neighborhood gym and see a set of parallettes or a set of gymnastics rings dangling from the ceiling. I think people have taken notice of how athletic and well sculpted gymnasts are so they have welcomed the idea of trying to train more like one.
The rings especially have always seemed to capture the interest of most people due largely in part to the display of strength gymnasts show on this apparatus. However, unless you are a gymnast or into CrossFit, you are likely to completely ignore gymnastics ring strength training. It’s comical watching people walk by this apparatus in the gym, avoiding eye contact like it’s an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. I know what you are thinking. “No way am I going to end up on one of those gym fail videos!” I definitely understand because it is not the easiest piece of equipment to use if you aren’t familiar with it, and most people really don’t know what in the world to do with a set of rings. However, if you give them a chance, I think you will have a beautiful relationship together.
3 Reasons why I love Rings:
1. They allow you to do support, inverted, hanging and hanging inverted exercises. I can’t think of one other single piece of equipment that you can do this on
2. They are free to move. This is very beneficial for you! When training on them, you have to stay tight and squeeze a lot of muscles to keep the rings steady. It also forces you to keep your exercises slow and controlled, helping you to consistently keep good form. this is all great for the small stabilizer muscles.
3. They are challenging!
I remember when I was in high school, I brought a couple of my friends with me to a gymnastics facility. These guys were well built athletes and were determined to prove they can do what gymnasts do. When we arrived, one of my buddies immediately spotted the rings and said, “Oh, I have to do this iron cross thing!” I held back my laughter and encouraged him to give it a shot. He confidently walked over to a set of low rings and attempted to jump up to support position. Almost as quickly as he jumped up, his arms shot out and he came crashing down. Slightly red in the face, he jumped up again, this time able to at least support himself, but his arms looked like they were on roller skates for the first time. He held himself up for a few seconds while his arms danced around then finally he conceded. No crosses would be performed that day.
Just think, if you are fit and a great athlete and aren’t able to perform basic maneuvers on the rings, that means you have a whole new area of strength you can work on. If you have never done strength training on a set of rings, you are going to see some drastic results once you do. Why? Your body isn’t used to it. You will introduce your muscles to something completely foreign, so you will start to see changes in these muscles and enhance strength tremendously.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t trained on rings, to start getting familiar with them. There are a number of great exercises you can do and you will work muscles you never knew you had. Don’t let the story of my friend in the gym scare you off. You will have to endure some frustration at first because it’s going to take some time to develop these muscles and build your confidence. But trust me, once you start to see improvement, you will be hooked. It is important that you start out slow with very basic maneuvers until you start to get comfortable on them. You have to also accept that there are some strength skills you will just never be able to do. That doesn’t mean you can’t work towards them, however. Below is a video containing a few beginner and advanced tutorials as well as a huge list of strength exercises you can do on a set of rings.
If you want a ring set up in your home, here is the best way to do it. The ring straps are a loop over design so you will either need a sturdy structure of the house or you can install one of our ceiling mount or wall mount pull-up bars, and use that. I had exposed ceiling studs in my basement, so I was able to utilize those. You can see my install video here:
(Remember, every home is different. Please consult a professional when utilizing the structure of the home to ensure safety).
The higher off the ground you can get your rings, the more exercises you can perform, so consider that when determining the space you will be using. If you use a pull-up bar, the bar itself will be a fixed height but the straps on the rings allow you to raise and lower them very easily. If you go with this combo, you may be limited on the exercises you can perform depending on how high you can get the pull-up bar. I recommend the ceiling mount pull-up bar because it will give you more freedom of movement. This is a great way to have a workout space that allows you to do a number of unique exercises. Here is what you will need:
If you aren’t able to use a fixed structure in your home then you will need:
Pull-up Bar/Ring Combo:
(This is for a 9ft ceiling. There is also an 8ft and a 10ft option)
(Consult an engineer or professional for any install)
Now you’ve seen the benefits and the fun you can have on the rings so you have no reason not to get acquainted immediately! Please feel free to email me with any questions. Have fun and be safe!
Strength & Fitness Coordinator