Ring Training FAQPublished: 14-04-2009 | Updated: 03-10-2013
This article represents the most common questions we receive about gymnastic rings and ring training. If your questions aren't answered here you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add yours to the list.
Contents: Ring Training FAQ
- What is ring training for fitness?
- How can I start ring training?
- What do I need to start ring training?
- How do I setup gymnastic rings?
- What ring training exercises are available?
- How many exercises are possible on gymnastic rings?
- What muscles are worked when ring training?
- How is ring training so effective?
- What are the benefits of ring training?
- Where can I buy gymnastics rings for fitness?
- How are rings any different to a pull-up bar?
- How difficult is it to perform a muscle-up or Iron Cross?
- Is ring training safe?
- How do I learn advanced ring exercises?
What is ring training for fitness?
Ring training is bodyweight strength training on gymnastics rings. The rings are usually specially designed for fitness rather than professional gymnastics or dismounts moves. They can be suspended from rafters, beams, pull-up bars and trees and come with a height adjustable mechanism to move quickly between low exercises (like push-ups) to high exersises (like pull-ups).
How can I start ring training?
Firstly, buy a set of fitness rings and find somewhere to hang them. Read our article - Ring training guide for pointers and general information about training with fitness rings, and our ring setup guide for tips on how to install your gymnastics rings.
For complete beginners we recommend starting with the ring support position which will build the initial stabiliser muscles needed for supporting your bodyweight above the rings. Once you can easily hold this exercise for around 60 seconds you can move on to more of the basic movements such as ring pull-ups, push-ups, dips and ring rows.
As fitness rings are height adjustable there are many variations for each exercise that give you finite control over the exercise intensity and difficulty.
When you're ready to move on from the basic exercises there are plenty more to keep you busy such as ring muscle-ups, levers, and the L-sit to name but a few. See our ring training exercise directory for further information.
What do I need to start ring training?
All you need are a set of rings and an anchor point to suspend them.
Professional gymnastics rings are expensive and designed for swinging manoeuvres and dismounts but there are many rings now available that have been designed specifically for fitness and stregnth training.
These rings are typically inexpensive, lightweight, and portable and are made up of two rings (plastic, wood or metal), lengths of webbing/straps, and buckles so that the rings can be height adjusted in seconds for the various exercises. They can be suspended from any overhead structure which makes them the perfect portable training tool and suitable for gyms or in the home.
Visit the Fitstream store for a list of available gymnastic rings to buy online, with pictures, user reviews, and buying information.
How do I setup gymnastics rings?
Modern fitness rings can be suspended from any stable anchor point such as pull-ups bars, beams, rafters, trees or park equipment.
You simply thread the ring's straps over your anchor point. The straps pass through the rings and the buckle secures it all in place and allows you to adjust the height of the rings from the floor.
Click this link to read our full guide to setting up gymnastic rings.
What ring training exercises are available? / How many exercises are possible on gymnastic rings?
There are hundreds of possible ring training exercises mainly focusing on the upper body.
The rings add an element instability to staple exercises such as ring push-ups, flyes, pull-ups and dips but also offer a range of exercises such as the notoriously difficult iron cross or muscle-up. Take a look at the Fitstream exercise directory for more examples and specific exercise instructions.
What muscles are worked when ring training?
Ring training hits every muscle in the upper-body and torso.
Through consistent and dedicated ring training you'll see significant developments in the shoulders, chest, back and major arm muscles.
The rings are also particularly effective at targeting the core body and abs, as each ring training exercise will call upon your core to stabilise the body, making the rings one of the most effective ab traininers available today.
How is ring training so effective?
Ring training requires exceptional strength to practice and therefore promotes exceptional physical development when performed consistently.
The free movement of the rings makes them so much more difficult than similar exercises on fixed platforms as they force you to stabilise yourself at all times. This increases muscular recruitment throughout the body and ensures that you see better results for fewer repetitions, and makes workouts more efficient.
What are the benefits of ring training?
Gymnastics rings are extremely versatile and integrating them in to your fitness training program has many benefits -
- Build superior upper body strength
- Develop a lean, defined physique with high strength to size ratio
- Establish a solid core with defined abs
- Rings are a portable training tool that can go where you do
- Scalable form of training suitable for beginners and experts
- Fun and novel training type
- Plateau buster
- Safe, natural movements for the joints
Where can I buy gymnastics rings for fitness?
Professional gym rings are expensive and not designed for easy home setup or portability. You can now buy gymnastics rings that are designed specifically for fitness.
Visit the Fitstream Store to buy gymnastics rings or view recommended third party equipment reviews and buying guides.
How are rings any different to a pull-up bar?
There are many reasons why gym rings are a better choice over traditional fixed apparatus -
Rings are height adjustable, portable and offer the element of free motion which is kinder on the joints than a fixed bar because it allows for more natural paths of motion throughout the exercises.
The instability of the rings increases the intensity of the exercise making them more difficult, yet effective than standard methods.
The rings are so versatile due to their portability and height-adjustment and there are many exercises that just aren't possible on a fixed pull-up bar such as push-ups, dips and the iron cross, to mention but a few.
How difficult is it to perform a muscle-up or Iron Cross?
Gymnasts categorise skills on a scale ranging from the easier end of the spectrum - A, to the more difficult moves - E.
The muscle-up is classed as an A-level skill and iron cross a B-Level. However, both moves are extremely difficult for the average person. They may seem unachievable at first but with dedicated, consistent training it is possible.
Take time to work up to them and make steady, incremental improvements. It's not a process that can be rushed. It may seem unachievable at first, and you may wonder how you can incrementally work up to the skill but many people have had success using resistance bands and controlling the amount bodyweight involved in the exercise.
Is ring training safe?
Once the rings are securely fastened to an achor point that can safely support your bodyweight and any obstacles are removed from the immediate area, ring training is extremely safe and highly recommended instead of fixed apparatus like a pull-up bar.
This is due to the free-motion of the rings which allows joints to track naturally. Also, as ring training is so difficult it's hard to even use improper form as you must always be in control of your movement to remain above the rings.
How do I learn advanced ring exercises?
Advanced ring training exercises can seem unsurmountable at first, requiring incredible strength to perform.
An effective method of developing this strength is to use resistance bands to help support some of your body weight to make the exercise more acheiveable. As you improve you can use smaller bands until you can perform the exercise unaided. See band assisted front lever illustration below:
If you have any questions about ring training not covered here feel free to drop us an email at email@example.com.
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise