Gym rings have gained popularity recently with the rise of CrossFit workouts, but what are the benefits of training with them? How do you use gym rings?
Why train with gym rings
Gym rings provide a challenging muscle building workout which is also challenging for your mobility, flexibility, and balance. Every movement requires practice and development of fundamental skills that then help to increase muscle as you lift your bodyweight to perform each exercise. Ring training stimulates the muscles to grow by exuding high levels of force on both fast and slow twitch muscle fibres depending on the exercise.
When in a locked position, a healthy joint should be strong and stable. Training using gym rings includes isometric holds where you lock your joints with appropriate load and leverage, which is great for developing the strength of connective tissue and in turn will strengthen your joints.
Build Functional Strength
Functional strength involves being strong through multiple planes of motion, allowing your body to pull, push, twist, and turn with ease. Gym rings allow your body to move in multiple planes of motion against force. All muscles in the body must work together to perform exercises on gym rings, developing full body functionality.
Proprioception is your body’s sense of spacial awareness. Challenging your body by performing moves outside of your comfort zone such as an inverted hang (hanging upside down) whilst also being challenged by the instability of the rings increases your coordination and proprioceptive skills.
The range of exercises you can complete using gym rings is not just for gymnasts with exceptional strength. Whilst exercises such as the iron cross, levers, and planches require exceptional skill, gym ring exercises can be scaled for a variety of levels of strength. The straps are usually adjustable so you can work up to the tougher moves by starting with your feet on the floor and progressing from there.
Work your entire body
When your body has to work to stabilise itself, it utilises as many muscles as possible to work together in unison to keep you steady. A good gym rings workout will be particularly good for developing core strength by forcing you to engage your abdominal muscles to stabilise and lift at once.
Good flexibility is required for most exercises on the gym rings, however if you're not quite there yet, the rings can also be used to to assist with stretching which then improves flexibility. Using gym rings as extra resistance to pull against in your stretches can help you to go a little deeper into a stretch and accentuate the muscular benefits.
Where to put your gym rings is a big question. Gym rings are a portable tool which are easier to set up than you think. You don’t need much space for your gym rings. Giving yourself about 2.75-3.75 meters (9-12 feet) of height will work for most everyone. You can go a little lower if you’re just working on below the rings exercises, a bit higher if you are working on full inversions. For width, about 1.5 meters (~5 feet) of width around you is best. You’ll want to hang the actual rings at shoulder width or a little wider. As for where to hang them, you're looking for somewhere which is sturdy and can hold your bodyweight. Examples include:
- A Beam from a high ceiling
- A local park pull up bar
- The local gym (if they don’t have one could you strap the rings over a Smith Machine or other device)
- Build your own frame
Compared to your average gym membership cost, gym rings can be a cheaper alternative approach to training. The cheapest rings are made of plastic, however these seem to feel less stable. Wooden gym rings are often favoured as they feel more secure and are easier to grip. Plastic can become slippery with sweaty palms, which is never a great combo if you're about to swing upside down!
Training on the rings makes it easy to move from one exercise to the next much like a yoga flow, meaning your workout takes less time. The instability of the rings makes every exercise much more difficult than it would be on a bar, so many people find the intensity of their workouts is increased and therefore the duration of the workout can be decreased.
Gym rings, also known as gymnastic rings, are a piece of training equipment that you can use to get fit anywhere; in your own home, at the gym, or outdoors. There are many ways to get fit at home and there are also numerous benefits to training outdoors, so owning a pair of gymnastic rings is a must for any fitness enthusiast.
There are different types of gymnastic rings, with wooden gym rings being the most popular. Wooden gym rings provide the best grip, however they can be less durable than metal or plastic, especially when exposed to the elements outdoors. If you are going to be using your gym rings indoors, then wood is your best option.
Gym Rings For Home
There are a few things you'll need to get to grips with before you can start using your gym rings, such as learning how to hang gymnastic rings. The video below is a comprehensive tutorial on how to hang gymnastic rings at home:
Once you have installed your gym rings, there is the task of learning how to start training with gymnastics rings. As with all exercise and fitness tasks, it is best to take it slow and listen to your body. Start with simple exercises that you can practice comfortably before moving on to more advanced moves.
Make sure your gymnastic rings are secure and that you have enough space to perform the exercises safely. While training with gym rings is a great way to build strength, it will help to have a base fitness already, so training at the gym will help you greatly. Also make sure to do plenty of stretching so that your body is supple and can move smoothly through the exercises.
Gymnastic Rings Exercises
There are many great gymnastic rings exercises out there and you can really get in great shape using gymnastics rings. The use of gymnastic rings as a way of getting fit is a type of bodyweight training and this has numerous benefits. Some of the easier gym rings exercises include inverted pull ups, rows, press ups, and dips. These are exercises that require core strength and balance, but will allow you to make mistakes without bad consequences and will allow you to practice until perfect.
Some more advanced gymnastic rings exercises include front levers, back levers, and planches. These require much more advanced core strength and will take a lot more practice. But, as always, practice makes perfect!
Gymnastics Rings Workout For Beginners
Once you have your gymnastic rings set up and you understand the basics of working out with gym rings, you're ready for a gymnastics rings workout for beginners! Try Sundried's gym rings workout for an easy introduction, or follow the video below:
Training with gym rings has numerous benefits. It builds upper body strength, improves balance and agility, and works the core effectively. Try Sundried's gym rings workout to see for yourself how well it works!
Gymnastics Rings Circuit Workout
Training with gym machines all the time can be so boring. Mix up your training with our gym straps. With exercises like ring pulls ups and rows, there's a range of movements which will work the whole body.
Let's go for 3 rounds as a starting point. The key thing to remember is that you can make any movements easier or harder depending on the positions of your feet (the more you put them under the anchor point, the harder it will become).
- 10 Rows
- 10 Push ups
- 10 Bicep curls
- 10 Dips
- 10 One arm rows (5 on each side)
- 10 One arm push ups (5 on each side)
- L-Sit Hold (to failure)
Have a 20-30 second break in between each exercise. As always, form is key.
Good luck and have fun, this is what matters!