So, you’re looking at getting some gymnastic rings? Great choice. Ring training is an incredibly effective form of bodyweight training, especially for developing strength and muscle in the upper body and core. A good set of gymnastic rings are extremely versatile and do the job of a pull up bar, dip bars, or a power tower, all of which can be considerably more expensive than rings, and generally take up more space.
Through dedicated ring training, you can build considerable strength, power, endurance, and a good deal of impressive skill. Just check out the video below to see the kind of skill routine you could work up to with time on your gymnastic rings.
In choosing your weapons of choice (i.e., the gymnastics ring you’re going to train with), there are a number of options and variations available.
The first main distinction you’ll likely encounter is wood gymnastic rings vs non-wood rings. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.
Beyond that, there are different ring widths and thicknesses, and differing strap lengths. Which is right for you will depend on your goals and how you’re planning to use them, and making the best decision can be a challenge.
But, we’re here to help.
In this article we’ll go through and recommend the best gymnastic rings you can buy, of both the wood and non-wood varieties. We’ll explain their similarities and differences, and for what goals and uses they’re most effective.
Also, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should get some gymnastic rings, we’ve included a brief section at the end on the benefits of ring training.
So, let’s get into it.
Best Gymnastic Rings at a Glance
Best Wood Gymnastic Rings
Wood rings tend to cost more than steel and other non-wood rings, but they don’t have to. These rings from Rep Fitness are proof of that. Made from natural birch wood and available in both 1.11″ and 1.25″ thicknesses, these rings are perfect for any and all uses.
Best Non-Wood Gymnastic Rings
The first piece of equipment Rogue ever manufactured is still one of their best and most popular. If you’re looking for rings that are extremely strong, and resistant to the elements, look no further than these steel gymnastics rings
Best Wood Gymnastic Rings
Wood gymnastic rings are usually the preference of ring aficionados the world over. Wood is the material used in competition, and they have a couple of key benefits over non-wood rings (which are usually metal, plastic or a composite material).
Firstly, wood rings generally have a nicer ‘feel’ than non-wood rings. There’s something about the natural texture of wood that makes them grip better and just generally feel more comfortable in the hands.
Second, many ring users apply chalk to their hands when training to improve their grip, and that natural texture of wood tends to hold onto the chalk better. Chalk rubs off onto the wood over time, which further improves their feel and texture. This generally doesn’t happen with non-wood rings.
Wood rings do have a couple of drawbacks though:
Wood rings are almost always more expensive than plastic or metal variations. This has to do with the fact that manufacturing wood rings to be both strong and a near-perfect circle is more difficult than with other materials.
Through your research, you may see people claiming that most wood rings are ‘just a couple of bits of thin plywood glued together’. This simply isn’t true. Most good quality wood rings are created using a Custom Numerical Control (CNC) machine, which is a relatively expensive method of manufacturing. Simply put, they cost more to make, and therefore, are more expensive.
The other major drawback of wood gymnastic rings is that they’re much more susceptible to the elements than plastic, metal or composite rings. This means that they’re not really suitable for permanent outdoor use. If they get wet often, or are simply exposed to high levels of humidity, they will swell and crack fairly quickly. If you’re planning to use wood rings outdoors, make sure you pack them up and take them inside with you after each use.
Now with those points out of the way, let’s take a look at the top wood gymnastic rings you can currently pick up.
While wood rings do tend to be more expensive, a good pair certainly doesn’t need to break the bank, and these Rep Fitness wood gymnastic rings are proof of that.
Made from natural Baltic birch wood, these rings will feel great in your hands, and help you build that intense, gymnast-like upper body and core strength quickly and comfortably. The 1.5″ nylon straps are easy to feed through the cam buckles, making the set up fast and easy. The straps also have a marked option so that you can make adjustments and move through exercises without hassle.
All components are covered by Rep’s standard 1-year warranty, however everything in this kit is high quality, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to use it. The straps and rings have a 600 lbs weight capacity, and the cam buckles’ solid quality means they shouldn’t slip at all during use.
You have a few different variations to choose from with the Rep wood rings, depending on your personal needs and preferences. You can have marked or unmarked straps, 14′ or 7.5′ straps, and 1.11″ or 1.25″ rings.
All-in-all, these wood rings are great quality at an amazing price point, and are therefore unmatched in the value they provide.
As usual, Rogue Fitness products feature in our top recommendations. This is because Rogue makes some of, if not the best home fitness products in the world. And so it goes with their Gymnastic Wood Rings.
Yes, they’re expensive. They’re also among the highest quality you’re going to find. Machined in the U.S. from Finnish Birch plywood, the texture and feel of these rings is as close to genuine Olympic rings as you’ll get for less than $100.
Like the Rep Fitness rings above, you have the option of 1.11″ or 1.25″ diameter rings. For those wondering, 1.11″ is the diameter specified by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), and used in official gymnastics competitions. CrossFit competitions use the thicker 1.25″ diameter rings.
Speaking of CrossFit competitions, these Rogue gymnastic wood rings have been battle-tested as the rings of choice for use in the CrossFit Games for many years.
The nylons straps are the standard 1.5″, and come in 16′ lengths only. You do, however, have a choice of different colors, so you can ensure you’re rings match your home gym’s décor.
As you probably know, Rogue stand by the quality of their products, and they offer a 2-year warranty on the wood rings, and 1 year on the straps. As with the Rep rings above, you’re almost certainly not going to need to concern yourself with this, as the durability is top notch.
Ultimately, the extra money you’ll pay for these rings will be more than worth it for the quality. If you’re the type that insists on buying the best, then these are the rings for you.
Fringe Sport’s Bomba wood gymnastic rings are a fairly unique option that are most suitable for people that want a good pair of rings to work out on, but aren’t planning on entering any competitions involving gymnastic rings.
Why do we say that? Because these American-made Bomba rings have a 30mm (~1.18″) diameter, meaning they don’t meet FIG or CrossFit specifications. Fringe claim that this custom diameter is perfect for any hand size, male or female. We’re willing to take them at face value on this claim, but we’ll advise you not to train with them if you’re planning on competing.
Much like the two options above (and most wood rings, honestly) the Bomba rings are CNC machined from Baltic birch (at Fringe’s hometown of Austin, Tx), and then triple sanded to produce a very smooth and comfortable finish. You can use chalk with these bad boys, but you really won’t have to.
They come with interval marked, 15′ polyester straps (1.5″ thick) that have an attached aluminium motorcycle cam buckle. These components are strong, reliable, and very easy to set up and get to using. The motorcycle cam buckle makes it nice and quick to adjust your strap length, and move from pushing to pulling exercises and back again with ease.
The price is greater than Rep’s offering but less than Rogue’s, however Fringe Sport offer free shipping on all of their products (realistically, ‘free shipping’ means they’ve just baked the cost of shipping into the initial product price).
All-in-all, Fringe Sport’s Bomba wood rings are a solid offering from a solid maker and seller of fitness and exercise products.
These wood rings from Onnit are significantly more expensive than our other recommendations, and this is because they’re a different kind of product that offers something that’s both versatile and unique. Onnit call them suspension rings because they combine traditional gymnastic rings with features of a suspension trainer.
Firstly, the functional component is comprised of a pair of machined and sanded wood rings that have an adjustable foot cradle running through the middle. This allows you to do standard gymnastic ring work, as well as footwork commonly used in suspension training (e.g., hamstring raises and mountain climbers).
Second, the nylon strap is considerably shorter than other offerings, at about 6′ long. This is due to the fact that it anchors differently to other rings. Rather than doubling over the overhead anchor, one end of the strap slips through a loop at the other end, fastening to the anchor and making the usable strap one continuous length. Also, rather than adjusting the strap length with a cam buckle, the suspension ring system uses aluminum carabiners that hook into double-stitched loops along the length of the nylon straps.
Finally, Onnit’s wood suspension rings include a couple of nifty accessories, including a door anchor and travel pouch. The door anchor means you can set these rings up in your home or office, just like your usual suspension trainers, and the travel pouch makes them ultra portable.
If you’ve got the cash to spend, and the need for a set of rings that allow you to do more than just ring routines, then these Onnit wood suspension rings are worth looking into.
Best Non-Wood Gymnastic Rings
Like wood rings, non-wood rings have their advantages and disadvantages:
Commonly made from plastic or steel, non-wood gymnastic rings tend to be less expensive than wood rings, as the manufacturing process is generally quicker and cheaper. The difference in price isn’t always considerable, however, as you’ll see with Rogue’s steel gymnastic rings below. This is their first advantage.
Second, steel and plastic rings are usually stronger than wood rings, and are less susceptible to breaking. Good wood rings will have a weight capacity of at least 500 lbs. so for most people, this really shouldn’t be a concern. Nevertheless, a good pair of steel rings will absolutely never break, no matter what they’re subjected to.
The other major advantage of non-wood rings is their suitability for long-term use outdoors. They won’t swell or warp due to water exposure, and thus can be left at the mercy of the elements without issue.
On the other hand, the main disadvantage of non-wood rings is that they simply don’t have the same natural feel as wood rings. There’s a good reason that professionals and competitive athletes train exclusively with wood rings, and they’re used exclusively in competitions: Non-wood rings are synthetic materials and usually don’t produce the same firmness or comfort of grip, which can impair your performance.
If you’re thinking that a pair of non-wood rings are right for you, check out the top options below.
These steel rings are the first product ever manufactured by Rogue Fitness, and are without question the best non-wood gymnastic rings you can buy.
The rings are TIG-welded 14 gauge tubing that are black powder coated to provide a sturdy, yet relatively natural grip. You won’t need to add athletic tape to them, and they’ll hold chalk nicely. Their quality is exemplar of the highest standard of manufacturing that Rogue hold themselves to. This is evidenced by the welds, which are completely invisible.
Anchoring them overhead employs the same standard 1.5″ nylon straps and cam buckles as the gymnastic wood rings above. These meet the same standard of quality as the rings themselves. The straps are durable and should last as long as you need them to, and the cam buckles are easy to feed and rock solid – there won’t be any slipping during workouts.
Unlike the wood variation, these Rogue Gymnastic Rings only come in a 1.25″ diameter option, meaning they’re most appropriate for CrossFit or run of the mill bodyweight training, rather than competitive gymnastic training (not that a competitive gymnast would use steel rings anyway).
The straps are classed as a consumable, so they only come with a 1-year warranty. The rings however, are backed by Rogue’s famous lifetime warranty, so you can have absolute confidence in your purchase. They’re very slightly less expensive than the wood gymnastics rings, and there’s a funky neon option
Order these bad boys, and when they arrive we guarantee that you’ll be very impressed with the hunks of American-made steel you’ll have in your hands.
We’re going to try and keep this fairly short and sweet: The Rogue Echo Gymnastic Rings are identical in specs to Rogue’s steel rings above, except they’re made of durable plastic.
These plastic rings are 1.25″in diameter, and come with the same straps as the wood and steel rings, and are a great option if you’re after the quality of Rogue’s equipment while also on a budget. Being inexpensive isn’t all these rings have going for them too.
One of the great things about plastic rings is that they can be textured easily to give a really comfortable and solid grip. And so it is with the Echo rings. They’re lightweight, easy to grip, and feel great in the hands.
If you’re planning to train outdoors and want to save yourself some cash, then these Rogue Echo Gymnastic Rings are worth your consideration.
These plastic rings from ProSource are a less expensive alternative to the Rogue Echo Rings and, realistically, they’re only marginally lower quality.
The rings themselves made from high-strength polycarbonate plastic, and come with 17′ straps. Like almost all retail gym rings, the straps are 1.5′ nylon webbing, and are adjusted using an aluminium cam buckle. They’ve got a weight capacity of 1000 lbs, so you have nothing to worry about there.
They have one minor drawback, which is the texturing on these ProSource plastic gymnastic rings is not quite as solid as on the Rogue Echos. For that reason, it’s worth using chalk with them. Fortunately, ProSource also have some good quality gym chalk.
The Home Fit Freak have organised a custom discount code, which gives our readers 15% off all products at ProSource. So, at the time of writing, you could pick up these plastic rings plus a box of chalk for a touch over $40, which would also qualify you for free shipping, thus making these the most economical non-wood rings available.
Not too bad…not too bad at all.
The Benefits of Ring Training
The benefits of training with gymnastic rings are many. Broadly, we can organise these benefits into 3 categories:
Odds are, if you’re thinking about beginning ring training, then one of your main reasons is to build strength and muscle mass. Well, good choice, because gymnastic rings are extremely effective in this regard.
Rings provide an unstable surface, which requires activation of more muscles, more intensely in order to perform movements. Numerous pieces of research, such as this one and this one, have demonstrated the superiority of suspension apparatuses (e.g., gymnastic rings) over stable surfaces in activating the muscles of the upper body and core.
Rings are also extremely versatile, meaning you can workout almost every muscle in your upper body and core at varying levels of intensity. It’s easy to modify the angle of pushing or pulling and hit every part of a desired muscle to ensure well-balanced development.
Once you get the hang of it, setting up a pair of gymnastic rings is quick and easy. All you need is an overhead anchor, like a rafter, some monkey bars, or even a tree branch and you’ve got yourself the means to do some outstanding strength training.
Rings also tend to be very lightweight, and easy to take anywhere with you. Just chuck them in a backpack, or get a carry case, and you can take them when you travel, with you to work, or just about anywhere else.
With a bit of dedication, discipline and hard work, the stuff you can do on gymnastics ring is cool as shit! The skills you can develop are great for your mind, body, and self-confidence.
You may not win any olympic gold medals, but you’ll sure as hell be able to impress your friends, family, potential lovers, and (most importantly) people walking their dogs in the local park.
The exercises and routines below will get you well on your way.
Great Exercises, Workouts and Routines to Do With Your Gymnastic Rings
Below are some of our favourite videos that demonstrate ring principles, basic to advanced exercises, and routines that can be done once certain movements have been mastered.
Ring training basics:
Overlooking the crappy acting at the beginning, this video makes some great points and has good suggestions for absolute beginners to get started training on their gymnastic rings.
Ring training exercises:
This is a quick and straightforward video that runs through ring exercises, moving from basic to intermediate.
Anyone who is familiar with GMB Fitness knows that they make some great bodyweight and mobility programs, and give away a lot of good info for free. And so it is with this video that demonstrates a basic ring workout. Trust us, it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Developing a routine:
The dude in this final video has done what all people completing ring training should be aiming for: Putting their hard earned skills together into a rings routine.
Well, there you have it: The best gymnastic rings, of both the wood and non-wood varieties. No matter your needs or personal preferences, you can use the information above to find a set of rings that suit you, and get you on your way to building the ridiculous strength, muscle, and skill that comes with dedicated ring training.
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: We can make the effort or make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)