In this article, I’m going to be going over some of the reasons why gymnastics rings rule and why I think you should incorporate them into your training routine.
OK, I LOVE gymnastics rings. So I’ll try not to be biased when it comes to listing the reasons why I personally think everyone that is serious about their training should be using them to get stronger, perform and look better, and ultimately achieve their goals.
The rings are by far my favorite piece of equipment to use and the one I use the most in my own strength training. The reason for this is simple: it is the single best tool for developing upper body strength. There’s no arguing with that. And I’ll show you why.
Reason #1: The Instability Factor
The gymnastics rings aren’t fixed, which means they move freely in space which provides a certain degree of instability that a pull-up bar or a dip station, for example, can’t provide. Because of this, your muscles are forced to compensate to stabilize and balance your body on them which in turn will result in a lot of muscle strength, stability, and control gains.
Due to this, you’re always under tension which makes working out on the rings really intense, which is, of course, perfect for getting stronger, building muscle and shedding fat off your body. This is because intensity and time under tension are key factors to strength and muscle development.
Counterintuitively, this instability is actually great for both shoulder and joint health because they allow your body to find its natural movement patterns. So training on the rings is not only optimal for strength and muscle gains but also for injury prevention.
Reason #2: Versatility
They are extremely versatile in that they allow you to train both pull and push exercises. There is literally a plethora of exercises and movement patterns you can do on them, so you’ll not only be kept busy for a very long time but you can also get a complete upper body workout in.
There are two kinds of grips you’ll want to use depending on whether you’re doing below the rings exercises (pull) or above the rings exercises (push).
For the pull exercises, which happen below the rings, you’ll want to use the ‘neutral grip’, which consists of you gripping the rings from underneath and wrapping your fingers and thumb around the rings thus placing most of your weight on the top of your palms. The wrist should be kept straight.
For the push exercises, which happen above the rings, you’ll want to use the above the rings grip. Duh lol. For this one, you’ll want to wrap your thumb and fingers on the bottom of the rings, and your forearm should be in contact with the top portion of the rings. Keep the palms facing inward toward each other in the beginning.
However, there are certain exercises you’ll want to have your palms facing outward, such as when you progress through basic exercises like the top position, where you’ll face the palms outward to increase the challenge, or when doing dips, where you should always perform a rings turned out position at the end of a repetition.
Reason #3: Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
There are two types of kinetic chain exercises: open and closed. Open kinetic chain exercises are those where you manipulate a fixed object toward your center of mass (think a lat pulldown or bench press, for example); as opposed to a closed kinetic chain exercise where you manipulate your center of mass toward the anchor point (think pull-ups or push-ups, for example).
Now, closed kinetic chain exercises have shown to be superior to open kinetic chain exercises in that not only are they more functional, build more strength and control, but they also have far greater transferability than otherwise.
For example, you could get really good at lat pulldowns and lift a lot of weight but it’s not going to transfer well to how many pull-ups you can do; but if you’re good at pull-ups, you’re naturally going to be able to lift a lot of weight on lat pull pulldowns without ever training it before.
This is one of the main reasons I got into bodyweight training as opposed to weight lifting in the first place. The strength and body control you can achieve through this style of training is unreal. Ever seen a gymnast?
Reason #4: Inexpensive
Another good reason why it’s a no brainer getting a pair of gymnastics rings is that they are so affordable. They’re probably one of the cheapest pieces of training equipment you can get.
Nowadays, you can get a good pair of gymnastic rings on Amazon for about 30-40 dollars. This is mainly because they have been around for so, so long (since the Roman empire about 2 thousand years ago) and also because they are so damn simple. It’s just two perfect circles and a couple of straps. And it’s GENIUS.
If you’re looking to buy a set of gymnastics rings and want some guidance, here’s a list I made of the best gymnastics rings of 2019.
Now, the price will fluctuate based on what material they are made of. The most common materials are wood, plastic, and metal.
In my opinion, you should always get them in wood. It’s more durable, aesthetic and I love the feel of it.
Reason #5: Easy to set up
They’re also extremely easy to set up: you simply put the strap through the rings, get it over the bar or whatever you’re hanging them on and get the strap through the buckle and adjust the height you want.
And you can hang them literally ANYWHERE. A pull up bar at home, a tree in the park. I’ve even seen people hanging them over basketball hoops. Use your imagination. Just make sure whatever you’re hanging it from can support your weight comfortably and that you have enough space to perform the movements safely. Safety first! 🙂
I hope these reasons have been useful to you and that they have provided some value and understanding of why you should be using this training equipment in your strength training.
Just keep in mind that they are really hard and humbling. I mean, really damn hard. So it’s important to go in with the right mindset. Be persistent, be consistent and you’ll be making the best strength gains you’ve ever made.
All you need to do now is get yourself some gymnastics rings and get started with your training!
There are a lot of free resources out there if you want to know which exercises to do and how to do them, and I’ll be sure to also write another article on these topics as well to help you guys out!
If you have any comments or questions, make sure to leave them below in the comment section!
Happy training everyone!