7 Best Gymnastic Rings (Wood vs Steel & Plastic) | Get Ripped, Do Tricks

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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 its 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 beginning on the benefits of ring training.

So, let’s get into it.

Best Gymnastic Rings at a Glance

Rep Fitness wooden gymnastic rings on grass

Best Wood Gymnastic Rings

Rep Fitness Wood 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.

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Rogue Gymnastic rings hanging from pull-up bar

Best Metal Gymnastic Rings

Rogue 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

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Rep Fitness wood gymnastic rings with straps lying on grass

Best Wood Gymnastic Rings

Rep Fitness Wood 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.

Read the review

Check the current price

Rogue gymnastic rings, black steel hanging from pull-up bar

Best Metal Gymnastic Rings

Rogue 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

Read the review

Check the current price

The Benefits of Ring Training

The benefits of training with gymnastic rings are many. Broadly, we can organise these benefits into 3 categories:

  1. Effectiveness
  2. Convenience
  3. Awesomeness

#1 Effectiveness

Training with gymnastics rings is an extremely effective method of building strength and muscle

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 the targeted muscle to ensure well-balanced development.

#2 Convenience

You can train with your gymnastic rings anywhere there's an overhead anchor point

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.

#3 Awesomeness

Dedicated training with gymnastics rings will result in some mad skills

With a bit of dedication, discipline, and hard work, the stuff you can do on the 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.

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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 feels more comfortable in the hands.

A good pair of wood gymnastic rings feel great 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:

Good wooden rings are often 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.

#1 Rep Fitness Wood Gymnastic Rings

Rep Fitness wooden gymnastic rings hanging from pull-up bar

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 setup 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.

Rep's wood gymnastic rings have enough variety that they should meet any aficionado's needs

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 of great quality at an amazing price point and are therefore unmatched in the value they provide.

Check current price at Rep Fitness

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#2 Rogue Gymnastic Wood Rings

Rogue Wood Gymnastic rings on grass

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 are 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.

Rogue's wood gymnastic rings have been the ring of choice in the CrossFit Games for years now

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 your rings match your home gym’s décor.

As you probably know, Rogue stands 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.

Check current price at Rogue Fitness

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#3 Fringe Sport Bomba Wood Gymnastic Rings

Fringe's Bomba wood gymnastics rings are unique in their construction and dimensions

Fringe Sport’s Bomba wood gymnastic rings are a fairly unique option that is most suitable for people that want a good pair of rings to work out on, but aren’t planning to compete.

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), 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.

These Fringe Bomba gymnastics rings are well-made and have a great feel in the hands

They come with interval-marked, 15′ polyester straps (1.5″ thick) that have an attached aluminum motorcycle cam buckle. These components are strong, reliable, and very easy to set up and get 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 offers 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.

Check current price at Fringe Sport

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#4 Onnit Suspension Rings

Onnit's suspension rings are a great mix between gymnastics rings and suspension trainer, and have the strengths of both

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 calls 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).

Onnit's suspension rings allow you to do footwork to build the core and legs more effectively, which sets them apart from other gymnastics rings

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.

Check current price at Onnit

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Best Steel & Plastic Gymnastic Rings

Like wood rings, metal and plastic rings have their advantages and disadvantages:

Non-wood rings are a great alternative to wood if you're looking to use them outdoorsThese rings tend to be less expensive than wooden 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 both steel and plastic gymnastic rings is that they simply don’t have the same natural feel as their wooden counterparts. 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 steel or plastic rings are right for you, check out the top options below.

#1 Rogue Gymnastic Rings

Rogue's steel gymnastic rings are the product that started it all for this Ohio based company

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 an exemplar of the highest standard of manufacturing that Rogue holds itself to. This is evidenced by the welds, which are completely invisible.

Rogue's steel gymnastic rings are beautifully made and work great

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 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.

Check current price at Rogue Fitness

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#2 Rogue Echo Rings

Rogue's echo rings are identical to their steel rings, except their made of plastic

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 either.

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.

The texture on Rogue's Echo rings is near perfect

If you’re planning to train outdoors and want to save yourself some cash, then these Rogue Echo Gymnastic Rings are worth your consideration.

Check current price at Rogue Fitness

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#3 ProsourceFit Gymnastic Rings

The plastic rings from ProSource are great quality and value

These plastic rings from ProsourceFit 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 aluminum 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 ProsourceFit plastic gymnastic rings is not quite as solid as on the Rogue Echos. For that reason, it’s worth using chalk with them. Fortunately, ProsourceFit also have some good quality gym chalk.

ProSource's plastic rings do need some chalk to be most effective

The Home Fit Freak has organized a custom discount code, which gives our readers 15% off all products at ProsourceFit. 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.

Check current price at ProsourceFit

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Great Exercises, Workouts and Routines to Do With Your Gymnastic Rings

Below are some of our favorite 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.

Beginner workout:
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 ring routine.

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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. They’re the complete package when it comes to workout equipment for the upper body.

If you found this article useful, why not share it with your friends and family on social media?

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)


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