Gymnastic Rings Workout Routine – Build Muscle & Strength

I’m going to share with you a gymnastic rings workout routine ideal to build muscle and strength. The routine is aimed at intermediate level trainees who already have a good strength foundation on the gymnastics rings.

If you’re new to rings training, I’d suggest you work through the basic gymnastics rings exercises first, and then come back to this routine.

And if you don’t yet own a high-quality pair of gymnastics rings you can check out my list of the top 10 best gymnastics rings of 2019 where I review and share with you what you should be looking for when buying yourself a set of rings.

Gymnastic Rings Workout Routine

The routine itself consists of just 3 high-intensity workouts per week. Don’t worry, research has found that this is more than enough to build muscle and strength.

Although this routine is primarily focused on upper body strength, there’s 1 day we’ll be training Legs & Abs.

The sessions are mainly based around on just TWO upper body compound exercises: Pull Ups and Dips. These are the exercises that you’ll be consistently doing in those 3 workouts while the rest of the exercises will vary from day to day. You’ll want to focus on getting strong on these.

gymnastic rings workout routine
The L-sit on rings (way harder than it looks)

Your training does not need to be complicated! And here at Gymnastics Rings Rule we are proponents of simple, yet highly effective, functional training methods based on science and results.

We are also going to be including some isolation exercises for the biceps and triceps to develop size and strength that will be great for developing a better-looking physique as well as for prehab. There will also be a rotator cuff exercise great for injury prevention and structural balance.

As for the Legs & Abs, we’re just going to be doing TWO exercises for each of these muscle groups per week in one of our sessions – we are still going to be able to maintain, if not increase, our leg strength and still be able to develop good core strength.

A common misconception is that you need to be doing a lot of ab specific training to get good core strength or to get a six-pack.

But if you’re training is based around major compound exercises, such as Pull-Ups and Dips, you’ll be fine just hitting the abs hard one time per week and letting your compound movements do the rest of the work.

So, let’s get into it!

Guidelines For Optimal Performance

This routine is not aimed at beginners as there is a certain level of strength that is needed before starting training on the rings BUT you can, and should, alter the intensity of the exercises to suit your individual level. The important thing is that you’ll be challenged and push yourself!

As outlined before, we’re just going to be training 3 times per week. Doesn’t sound like much? Trust me, if you focus on progression and push yourself every week, you will be building solid muscle mass and making some serious strength gains.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you get to slouch on the couch the rest of the days. I encourage you to be active and consider your ‘rest days’ as ‘active rest days’ and as so I encourage you to do any low impact activity that you enjoy such as swimming or just going out for a nice 30-minute walk.

It is also essential that you ALWAYS warm up properly to prevent injury as well as some restorative stretches for optimal performance.

Some people have the tendency to neglect these parts of a training session, but you know better – make time to warm up properly and you’ll be rewarded by injury and pain-free training for years to come!

My schedule recommendation would be having your training sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, as these days have worked out well for me and still do – but you could also have them at any other days that would fit your schedule better – you decide.

But for demonstration purposes, I’m going to be referring to Monday as Day 1; to Wednesday as Day 2, and to Friday as Day 3.

Hope it makes sense!

Day 1 – Monday

On Day 1 we’re going to be performing 5 upper body exercises:

Day 1 Exercises

As you can see there are 4 major compound exercises and 1 isolation exercise – the ring bicep curl. The bicep curl is a great exercise for developing some size in the biceps – who doesn’t love some bicep gains? – as well as being a great prehab and assistance exercise to all of your other major compound movements. Stronger biceps will not only make your physique look better but will also help you perform better.

Perform exercises 1-4 for 5-12 reps and exercise 5 for 8-15 reps. Do 3-4 sets on each exercise and rest for 2-3 minutes in between sets. These rep ranges are ideal for both hypertrophy and strength gains.

Day 2 – Wednesday

Day 2 is our Leg & Abs day but we are going to be keeping the ‘meat and potatoes’ of our workout program too: the pull-ups and dips. So it will look something like this:

Day 2 Exercises

So for Day 2 of the workout routine, we will be doing 6 exercises: 2 Upper Body, 2 Legs and 2 Abs.

Keep the rep, set ranges and rest ranges for exercises 1-2 the same as in the previous training day.

For exercises, 3-6 do 6-15 reps for 3-5 sets each with 1 and a half to 2 minutes’ rest. As for the duration of the L-sit I recommend going for anywhere between 10 and 30secs x3-5 sets, but keep rest between 1 and 1 and a half minutes.

Day 3 – Friday

The last training day of the week will consist of 5 upper body exercises:

Day 3 Exercises
1. Pull-Ups

2. Dips

3. Push Ups

4. Facepulls

5. Tricep Extensions

In this training session, I’ve added a structural balance exercise, the Facepull, and an isolation exercise, the tricep extension and I’ll explain why.

  • The Facepull is an essential, but somewhat unconventional/neglected exercise, in my opinion. Its job is to strengthen your rotator cuff which will prevent injury and keep your shoulders healthy.
  • The Tricep Extension will be awesome for adding size to your arms and prehabing the tricep as well as optimizing performance in other exercises, such as in the Dips.

These exercises have been added into the routine to develop an injury-proof and well-rounded physique that will not only look better but will also perform better.

Keep the rep ranges the same as on day 1.

Putting The Work In!

All you need to do now is put the work in!

Train hard, be consistent and focus on progressing with the exercises and most importantly STICK with your rings training, and, over time you will be making some serious gains.

Remember to always adjust the exercises to your current level, always warm up at the beginning of your sessions and stretch at the end, stay active on your rest days, and you will get good results!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Also, if you have questions you can leave them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer.

And as always, happy training everyone!

16 thoughts on “Gymnastic Rings Workout Routine – Build Muscle & Strength”

  1. Hi Miguel,

    Thanks for sharing, these workout look like they are great for both your core and your shoulders. I’ve set myself a target for the new year to go from a 4 pack to a six pack and I can see this type of routine helping me to get there. I’ve never done rings before but I do workout 5 plus times a week, including using gymnastic bars, do you think I would be OK to try this routine listed?

    Reply
    • Hi Nate,

      Well, I think this training routine will definitely help you achieve that goal of yours but if you’ve never trained on Rings before, I’d suggest you take things slow and make sure you work through the basics before jumping into moves like L-sit and the full Ring Dip. 

      It takes a very specific kind of strength to train on the Gym Rings and even if you’re already strong, they can be quite challenging still!

      Hope this helped. Have fun!

      Reply
  2. Hi Miguel 

    This looks to be an excellent workout but as you say, it’s not aimed at beginners which as someone who has never trained on rings I can see. 

    I was wondering if you could recommend what other exercises I could look at doing to build the kind of strength I would need to do a workout like this? Are there exercises other than rings I should focus on or is it a matter of starting with a different kind of rings program for beginners? 

    Thanks for your help.

    Mark 

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      Great question! First off, if you’ve never trained on the Gymnastics Rings you need to first spend enough time mastering the basics. I’ve written another article about what these exercises are and I really think it would help you get started, you can read it here.

      As for other exercises you can do to get started on the Rings, I wouldn’t really recommend any other than being able to do 5-10 quality Pull Ups and 15-20 quality Dips before thinking of starting your Rings training. This is a rough guideline of a minimum level of strength needed before starting but then improve on the Rings there is only really one way: to train on the Rings. This is because the kind of strength that you need for the Gymnastics Rings is really specific and there’s really nothing else quite like it. So, to get good on the Rings one must train with the Rings.

      I hope this makes sense! 

      Reply
  3. It is a good workout, but is it also good for women? I go to a gym four times a week, I am fat and not very young, lol, 63 yr. I am not asking to do it of course, never in mind to train with rings! to hard for me. Any way I am trying to do my best in order to get older with better health. Your schedule for the training looks perfect. Thank you for this post, good luck in your training 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Maria,

      It is definitely good for women also, yes – as long as they’ve built the necessary strength and spent enough time working through the basics, but this goes for everyone.

      Glad to see your keeping busy and striving for a healthy lifestyle! 

      Thanks for your feedback 🙂 

      Reply
    • Hey Nisar,

      Great question. Here’s my take on circuit training vs traditional straight set training:

      I personally prefer and recommend traditional set training as it seems to be the most optimal for building strength and muscle mass.
      When you’re training in a circuit manner it seems like you’ll get more of a muscle endurance adaptation but you’ll also build muscle, of course.

      So it boils down to preference and your personal goals.

      So if your goal is to maximize strength and muscle growth then you should be doing traditional straight sets, in my opinion.

      However, circuit training could be good if you’re more into endurance (which will also build muscle and strength) and want to save some time on your workout, and perhaps more importantly, is a style of training that you enjoy, then, by all means, go for it.

      Hope this makes sense.

      Cheers,
      Miguel

      Reply
  4. Hi Miguel,

    1. Why aren’t the pull ups made on the rings? The tutorial video only shows pull up on bar, so,
    Is it ok to vary? like on workout 1 do rings pull ups or rings mixed grip chin ups and on the next workout the bar pull ups and so on?

    2. is it ok to do on every workout some sets of rings dead hang false grip on the warm up routine? Also some rings support hold on the beginning of every workout?

    3. Finally, on the legs day is it ok to do some barbell weigthed exercices, like a back/front squats and deadlifts?

    Thanks
    João Pedro

    Reply
    • Hi João,

      Great questions, let me try to answer them all to the best of my knowledge.

      To answer your first question, the reason we’re doing bar pull-ups in the workout routine is simply that there’s really no real difference from doing pronated (palms facing away from you) pull-ups on the bar and on the rings so I just kept it simple and recommended the bar pull up. However, one advantage of doing your pull-ups on the rings would be that you could mix it up a bit and use a neutral grip so if you like variety you could do that.

      As for your 2nd question, yeah go ahead, especially with the rings top support hold, that’s a very important position for mastering the gymnastics rings and it will definitely help with your dips and L-sits. A few key points – make sure you lock out those elbows forcefully and that you turn your palms so they’re facing outward – that’s the proper support hold position.
      You could work with anywhere from 15-45 second holds for 3-5 sets with 1:30-2 minutes of rest. Once that gets easy, start adding some weight to it to keep yourself working on that 15-45 second range.

      Thirdly, if you’re going to be using weighted exercises for your lower body (which is great) you should do it on a separate workout day. So you could have 2-3 upper body ring workouts plus your weighted lower body day.
      Just be aware of your recovery capacity as ring work and weighted exercises like back squats and deadlifts are pretty heavy on your CNS and that could be a bit hard to recover from if you’re doing 3 upper body ring days plus the squat and deadlift day, so if you find you’re not progressing well with the rings training just dial it back to 2 upper body days and build up from there.

      Hope this makes sense.

      Let me know how you get along with the routine and good luck smashing your training!

      -Miguel

      Reply
    • I’d recommend doing it exercise by exercise, that’s the best way to get the most out of it in terms of building muscle and strength, but that’s also the way I enjoy training.

      With that being said, if you enjoy doing it in a circle, circuit training style right, go ahead. You’ll still get good results.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Miguel

      Reply
      • Thank you for you’re answer! I think these routines where awesome. When I did your routines last summer I did 1 week circle and 1 week exercise by exercise. Is there no benefit in doing it this way? My thoughts where that I’ll get mer “muscle cardio” on circle and more hypertrophy on exercise by exercise.
        I think I’ll stick to exercise by exercise when I’m starting these routines again.
        Do you recommend doing these exerciseses slow to get more time under tention? Do that help for more hypertrophy? Sorry if I ask to much. Love your routines. Take care and keep up your the good work 💪🏻

        Reply

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