Ring Push-up

Ring push-ups are a slight variation on the traditional bodyweight push-up, introducing gymnastics rings to the exercise to add an element of instability.

Primary Muscle Chest
Secondary Muscle(s) Shoulders, Abdominals
Difficulty Beginner
Also known as Ring Press-ups
Equipment Rings
Optional Weighted Vest

How to do Ring Push-ups

  1. Adjust the height of the rings appropriate for your fitness level (the lower the rings the more difficult the exercise).
  2. Grip the rings, keep your body straight and your legs fully extended behind you.
  3. Slowly lower yourself down towards the floor.
  4. Pause at the bottom of the exercise then push yourself back up to the starting position. Do not lock out your elbows to maintain tension throughout the muscles during the exercise.
  5. Repeat.

Ring Push-up Guide

The push-up is a staple body weight exercise that almost everyone is familiar with. Adding gymnastic rings into the mix suspends your hands above ground and the independent movement of the rings makes the exercise much more difficult to control, adding an injection of intensity to the exercise. As a result you recruit more stabiliser muscles and maximise the benefits from the exercise.

Ring push-ups are a great way to develop the chest and shoulder muscles and by altering the height of the rings you can control the exercise difficulty.

Gymnastics rings are not simply about adding intensity however, and ring push-ups allow you to move through a much greater range of motion than static floor push-ups which is beneficial for your mobility and flexibilty skills. The joints are also able to track naturally and there's great carry over into your grip strength. 

Ring Push-up Variations

There are many variations on the ring push-up that we summarise below. Remember that as well as these variations you can try altering the height of the rings and experimenting with hand and foot positions to meet your needs.

Wide grip ring push-up

The wide grip push-up is the same as the basic push-up except the hands are positioned further apart so they go out past your shoulders. This is one of the more difficult basic push-up exercises and focuses upon the outer muscles of the chest, rear deltoids and back.

Ring triceps push-up

Similar to the basic push-up except it focuses on the triceps muscles rather than chest.

Grip the rings as you would a normal push-up but as you lower your body down you keep the hands close together slightly in front of the head, rather than under the chest. Lower your body down as per the standard push-up but make sure to keep the elbows in so all the tension is focused on the tricep muscle.

Ring jack-knife push-up

The jack-knife push-up is one of our favourite variations and emphasises shoulder development with a great hit to the abdominals.

You begin in the basic pushup position and slide the rings straight forward as far as possible without bending the arms, your body stretching forwards. Maintain the hold then pull-back to the starting position.

Single Leg Pushups

Lift one leg from the floor and keep it elevated throghout the exercise. Switch legs after one set is complete.

This will further unstable the body and place emphasis on core development.

Pseudo-Planche Pushups

Like the standard pushup, but you grip the rings near your hips and turn the rings out so that you are now in a reverse grip position. The Psuedo-Planche Pushup is substantially more difficult than a regular pushup.

Beginning Ring Push-ups

Start with the basic push-up exercise and build upper-body strength. When you can comfortably perform 20+ standard push-ups it's a good time to start introducing gymnastics rings.

One benefit of training with gymnastics rings is that you can easily height-adjust the rings and control the difficulty of the exercise. The higher the rings are set, the easier ring push-ups become. Lower the rings as you build your strength. 

As with static floor push-ups beginning on the knees is easier that using feet which is a good approach to use if you're struggling with the transition to using rings. 

Advanced Ring Push-ups

Continue to lower the rings to increase the difficulty of the exercise until they are as low as they can go without touching the ground.

When you reach this point, many of the standard push-up tips can be used such as perfoming the exercise on one leg, adding additional resistance using a weighted vest or elevating the feet to transfer more bodyweight onto the hands and increase intensity.

Try composing a push-up routine with a target number of repetitions and sets and add a few push-up variations into the mix. Your chest will thank you for it.

Related Ring Push-up Exercises

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Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise.