Gymnastic Rings Workout: Everything You Need To Know To Start Training

by | Jun 19, 2023 | Workouts

This gymnastic rings workout can help you build an Olympian torso, a powerful core, and a flexible, injury-proof body. Here’s how to unlock heavyweight results with this lightweight training tool.

What Are The Benefits Of Gymnastics?

Gymnasts have the best strength-to-weight ratios, but they’re also supremely fast, explosive, and flexible. You just need to look at Olympic gymnasts to understand. It’s aesthetics and athletics in one sinewy, muscle-bound package. These nimble ninjas don’t lift in single lines while standing or sitting still (I’m looking at you, weightlifters and strongmen). They bend the laws of gravity to create incredible physical feats of skill, coordination and explosive power—all while in fast-flowing motion.

But don’t just take our word for it; thousands of top athletes, actors, and elite soldiers swear by gymnastic training and its close cousins in calisthenics and bodyweight training

READ MORE: Easy Muscle: Try This Workout from SA’s No.1 CrossFit Athlete

Thanks to the growth of these machine-free movements and training methods such as CrossFit, the popularity of gymnastics training is exploding. It helps anyone safely master their bodyweight to add lean muscle, develop full-body and core strength, and ramp up balance, coordination and flexibility. Done correctly, it will also torch body fat, build more robust joints and injury-proof your body

Strong, role models like Jason Statham and Zac Efron rely on bodyweight training and calisthenics to craft functional, powerful physiques.

Here’s the thing: you probably won’t be doing an iron cross anytime soon, but you don’t need to be an Olympian to reap the benefits of gymnastic rings. These affordable training tools can be used on a rig at home, outside or on holiday—you can just throw them over a tree branch. They are a crucial partner in a bodyweight training plan, especially for upper body work, and the more you use them, the more training opportunities you unlock.

Once you’ve built up your strength and mastered the technique of foundation moves, you can start experimenting with more advanced ones such as ring muscle ups, planches, levers and more.

Ready to turn yourself into an athlete with an Olympian body? Look no further.

1. Gymnasts are some of the fittest, strongest and leanest athletes.

The Science of Gymnastics Journal studied young athletes from various sporting codes and revealed that gymnasts have, on average, lower percentage body fat, greater strength-to-weight ratio, and higher VO2 max scores.  

2. Balance training can improve memory and body awareness.

According to several studies in Scientific Reports, gymnastic training can improve your recall skills and spatial cognition.  

3. Gymnastic training can upgrade motor skills and learning ability.

Research in the Journal of Human Kinetics reveals that learning complex gymnastic exercises can help improve performance motor skills and help train your mind to learn and communicate faster and more effectively in challenging situations. Thanks to this increase in motor skills, gymnasts are much less likely to fall and injure themselves.

4. Aerobic gymnastics can improve sleep quality and lower stress levels. 

Research in the International Journal of Nursing Studies found that the test subjects reduced stress and fatigue levels and improved sleep quality through regular aerobic gymnastics. 

5. Gymnastics builds stronger bones and increases skeletal muscle.

Studies in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research have found that gymnasts have greater bone mass and size, especially in the upper body. 

6. Gymnastic moves can improve your posture (and lower back pain).  

A study in the Journal of Neuroscience found that gymnasts have higher postural control than non-gymnasts. This enables them to walk and sit for long hours without experiencing back or neck pain.

READ MORE: Find Out Why Sandbags Build Strength Like Nothing Else

What Are The Benefits Of Training With Gymnastic Rings?

Gymnastics, including ring work, is one of the best training methods for overall health and wellness. Its potency has been proven in multiple studies that show how good it is for muscle, bone, joint and cognitive health. It nails most major muscle groups to burn body fat and forge total-body strength, and it jumpstarts your flexibility. It combats various metabolic conditions and immune disorders such as obesity, type-2 diabetes and non-hereditary heart disease by lowering blood pressure and body fat and improving circulation. 

Gymnastic rings have one crucial superpower: they leverage instability. Unlike pull-up bars, rings aren’t fixed in place. They demand constant muscle stabilisation to maintain a stable position, especially when suspended in the air. 

However, it’s not just about stabiliser muscles; most ring exercises are compound moves that recruit multiple muscle groups and joints. This double-threat combo allows you to build lean muscle quickly and effectively. This battle against gravity and position helps you ramp up your core and upper body strength, stamina and coordination. It also enables you to finetune your coordination and balance and ramps up your agility. But that’s not all: these simple rings can offer even more.

1. It’s a fast-track way to develop explosive power.

Research in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness shows that long-term gymnastic training improves the flexion and extension of muscles, which unlocks greater strength and flexibility. How much? The study states that gymnasts have 30% higher peak torque in upper body movements.

2. Gymnastics upgrades your complex motor skills.

The more complex the gymnastic moves in your training, the better your motor learning skills. It helps you react faster and learn quicker, and rewards you with greater coordination and agility. Simply put, your body’s processing power gets upgraded.

 3. Gymnastic rings are low-cost, lightweight tools with heavyweight benefits.

Compared to other fitness tools, gymnastic rings and suspension trainers are durable, take-anywhere tools that are super affordable and portable. 

4. Flexibility is an underrated quality we all need.

Gymnastics, and Olympic rings, help athletes improve their range of motion without putting them at risk of injury. If this becomes part of your regular training plan, it can also help you develop stronger ligaments and tendons and more stable joints—especially in your shoulders.

READ MORE: 9 Rowing Workouts That Will Incinerate Fat

Where Can You Find Rings For Your Gymnastic Rings Workout?

Home training tools like kettlebells, dumbbells and barbells easily cover most of the major muscle groups. However, there’s one tricky training target: pulling-related moves. They’re essential for building up your back and arm muscles and grip strength, but they’re a bit tougher to nail effectively at home. Yes, you can do rows and pulls with weights, but one of the best moves is still undoubtedly pull-up variations. While you can buy door-based pull-up bars for your home, we’re sceptical of 99 percent of them.

The main reason? Unless you weigh the same as a Kenyan ultramarathon runner, most of the cheap, flimsy door frame options will make you the star of a fail video. The good news, there are simple, trusted and affordable options for pulling exercises.

Case in point: gymnastic rings. They are a potent, durable training tool that enables you to do rows, push-ups and pull-ups and offer the potential to unlock advanced exercises further down the line. You need a little space to use them properly, but they can be thrown over a branch outside in your local park or backyard. If you’re willing to invest a little more cash, you can also buy a suspension trainer for added value, especially if you are a beginner.

Here’s how to choose the right tool for your needs:

1. The Classic: Gorilla Store Wooden Gymnastic Rings

wooden rings

We’re fans of old-school, unvarnished wooden options. They offer better grip, chalk retention and feel than their plastic peers, and if you look after them, they can outlast them too. They’re made of raw, unvarnished Beech timber and are 32mm in grip diameter size—the preferred option for CrossFitters and calisthenic practitioners. This set comes with two rings and two heavy-duty nylon straps with buckles. The rings come with a two-year warranty, and the straps have a one-year warranty. To extend its life, keep this set out of the rain.

2. The Investment: TRX Home 2 Suspension Trainer

suspension set

This isn’t a cheap product, but it is a proven, versatile one. It comes with a proper suspension and a failproof door anchor, and it offers hundreds of different exercises—not just pulling ones. It’s a portable, potent home training tool that’s especially brilliant for beginners thanks to its scalability. 

3. The Starter Set: Rebelstore Plastic Gymnastic Rings 

plastic rings

Simple, effective and super affordable—these durable, waterproof plastic options are the perfect starting point for anyone getting into bodyweight work, calisthenics and gymnastics.

READ MORE: This Simple Workout Hits 300 Muscles With Just Three Moves

Your One-Piece, 10-Move Gymnastic Rings Workout

Bodyweight training while suspended off the floor is perfect for building a functional, aesthetically impressive body. “Most ring exercises are compound moves,” says personal trainer Rory Allen. “They employ multiple muscle groups and joints. Even a basic ring workout will increase the demands on your muscles, as they’ll have to work constantly to stabilise you.”

You’ll also be moving your joints through a complete range of movement, improving your mobility and strengthening them against injury. Best part? They’re relatively cheap and dead easy to set up. Just throw them over a tree branch or roof strut, and you’re set. 

Gymnastic Rings Workout Description: 

Do this circuit two to three times, spending one minute on each exercise. If you’re tight for time, then aim for 10-15 reps. Time to ring in the changes.

1. Inverted Row

inverted row demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Grab the rings. Maintaining a line from your neck to your heels, lean back until your arms are straight (A). Bend at the elbows to pull yourself up until the rings are at your chest (B). The more horizontal your body is, the harder it will be. 

2. Ring Roll-out

ring roll out demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Grab the rings with your arms straight, holding your weight (A). Slowly move your arms forward and lower your body, maintaining a straight back (B). When your arms are fully outstretched, slowly return to the start position. 

3. Ring Climber

ring climber demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

In a high plank position, place your feet in the rings, set low (A). Bring one knee all the way forward, keeping your other leg straight (B). Return to the start position. Alternate between legs for your allotted time/reps. 

4. Ring Dip

ring dip demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

A ring in each hand, lock your arms out, keeping your elbows close to your body. Bend your knees so your feet are off the floor (A). Lower your body, bending your elbows until the tops of your arms are parallel to the floor (B). Return to the start.   

5. Ring-Support L-Sit

ring support l sit demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Grip the rings and straighten your arms so they take your weight (A). Engage your core and lift your legs, keeping them straight and together until they are parallel to the floor (B). Hold this position for as long as you can. 

6. Pistol Squat

pistol squat demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Grab a ring with your left hand and outstretch the right for balance. Lift your right leg and straighten it (A). Bending your left knee, lower yourself (B). Using the rings only to steady yourself, push back up to the start. Switch sides. 

7. Ring Press-up

ring press up demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Assume a high plank with your hands on the rings (A). Lower your body, elbows tucked by your sides. When the rings are in line with your chest (B), press back up to the start. Too tough? Move your feet closer to the rings to make it easier. 

8. Ring Curl

ring curl demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Hold the rings with an underhand grip and lean back so your feet are in front of you (A). Pull your body towards the rings, bending at your elbow until your hands are by the sides of your forehead. (B). Lower yourself under control. 

9. Muscle-Up

muscle up demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

With your legs extended in front, do a pull-up (A). At the top, bring your upper body over the rings with your elbows tight to your ribs. Push yourself up (B) and perform a dip. Reverse the move and then again (if you can). 

10. Ring T

ring t demonstration gymnastic rings workout
Illustration: Andrea Manzati | Photography: Philip Haynes

Grab the rings with your legs straight and your feet on the floor. Push up until your arms are fully extended (A). Keeping your arms as straight as you can, drive them out to your sides, holding your body in a T shape (B).

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This