So, you’re thinking about swinging into a new physique with gymnastic rings and you really want to know: Are you heading to a gold medal win with your newest edition to the home gym? Or will it be a dismal failure (kind of like the 2018 Baltimore Orioles)?
Hitting the internet search machine will leave you scratching your head with all the yay’s and nay’s you find. Do this! Don’t do that! Buy these rings! Get this tape! Follow this workout!
Save your sanity and know that it’s a hassle that we’ve taken care of for you. We’re here to help you stick the landing with no deductions and give you a rundown on the highs and lows of gymnastic rings training.
(Sorry for the many bad puns!)
Gymnastic Rings are Totally Worth It
In the magical (and sometimes confusing) world of fitness, there’s a different piece of equipment for isolating and training almost every single muscle fiber in your body. You’re probably thinking that there’s no possible way that two little circles on straps could offer you more than your trusty pull-up bar and dumbbells. You might even think that something so simple and archaic doesn’t really have a place in your home gym. I hate to tell you, but you might be wrong…
If I were forced to choose just one piece of home exercise equipment to use for the rest of my time, I can honestly say, it would be those simple little rings on strings. You honestly can’t beat them!
Gymnastic rings are:
- Versatile: Is there one piece of equipment in your home gym where you can get a complete workout without ever leaving that one spot? There is if you decide to grab a pair of gymnastic rings!
- Portable: Gymnastic rings are arguably the most portable piece of training equipment you can get your hands on. You can take them down and set them up anywhere there’s something to hang them on. You can’t say that about your barbell or squat rack!
- Easy to set up and maintain: How easy is it to toss your rings over a rafter, basketball hoop, or even a tree limb and get a workout in? Beyond basic cleaning with antibacterial wipes and the occasional oil wipedown (for good quality wooden rings only), there’s very little maintenance involved with gymnastic rings. There are no cables to tighten or moving parts that require greasing.
- Affordable: A good, mid-range gymnastic ring training system won’t cost you thousands of dollars like many other pieces of gym equipment.
- Efficient: If your time is limited (as many of ours are), there’s no faster way to build strength than with a set of gymnastic rings.
- FUN!: What other piece of gym equipment can allow you a brief glimpse back into the pure joy of childhood on the playground? I can tell you that it’s definitely not dumbbells!
The Benefits of Rings Workouts
At this point, I think we all know the benefits of regularly working out:
- Increased energy
- Decreased blood pressure and resting heart rate
- Reduced risk of developing chronic diseases (like certain types of cancer)
- Stress reduction and improved mental health
- Better sleep
But did you know that gymnastic ring training can do all these things and more? Not only can you build lean muscle mass, but you can increase your muscle endurance and give yourself an insanely strong core (I mean, have you seen gymnasts? C’mon, those abs aren’t accidental).
A gym ring routine will allow you to develop strength and stability throughout your entire upper body. Gym ring exercises like ring dips, ring pull-ups, L-sits, ring rows, or ring support holds, all force your body to work as a whole unit to maintain stability and keep form. That stability aids in increasing your overall muscle control and strength. Another big bonus to ring training is the increase in shoulder and arm stability that you’ll gain. Not to mention the increases in muscle size that can occur!
Are There Risks and Drawbacks? Of Course…
As you will find with all exercise equipment and training methods, there are risks and drawbacks associated with gymnastic ring training.
Some of those not-so-golden notes include:
- Cost/benefit regarding time invested/results seen: Nothing happens overnight and there is no quick fix. Gym ring training is NOT an instant gratification training program. It can take weeks, months, and even years of practice to master rings.
- Progress can be hard to quantify: Progressing on the rings isn’t as easy as adding plates to your barbell. As such, it can be hard to measure how much progress you’re truly making from session to session. It can be frustrating, at times, to NOT know if you’re gaining ground. Plus, the difficulty of bodyweight training means you can get stuck on certain movements and progressions for long periods.
- Rings are hard: You have to have a fair amount of body control and strength to even begin training on gymnastic rings. That said, you can use regressions to dial back the difficulty of ring workouts.
- Lack of leg workouts: Yes, there are some bodyweight exercises you can complete with a gymnastic ring training system, but there are no movements comparable to squats or deadlifts performed with a barbell.
- Risk of joint, muscle, and tendon injury: Ring training can be tough on the shoulders, wrists, and hands. You often have to take a slow and measured approach to your workouts to ensure you’re building strength and mastering skills without risking injury.
Are You Ready for Rings Exercises?
Before you run headfirst into a gymnastic ring training program, you need to answer a few questions (and be honest!):
- Are you ok with not seeing “the numbers go up”? Is it necessary for you to SEE the numbers on the plates go up or can you continue in a program where there aren’t necessarily ways to quantify your success? If it’s the latter, gymnastic rings may not be a good fit for your home gym.
- Can you use your hands/arms to support your own bodyweight for at least 15 seconds at a time? If the answer is no, continue to put in a little work to get to that point before trying out the rings.
- Are you willing to put in the time, sweat, and effort to make changes to your physique? If the answer is yes, then gymnastic rings are just what you need!
- Do you have a limited budget but an unlimited drive to become a fitter version of yourself? If the answer is yes, BUY THE RINGS!
Of course, as with all fitness training programs, we recommend that you speak with your physician to fully assess your physical well-being before beginning a gymnastic ring training program.
Gymnastic Rings Benefits: Final Thoughts
Now, we can’t promise you’ll be the next Eleftherios Petrounias (he’s the 2016 Olympic gold medalist on rings if you were wondering) but we can guarantee that we’ve delivered a wealth of information to help you get the body you want with the training equipment you need.
Personally, we think that gymnastic rings can be the perfect complement to every home gym!