Every gym has that one guy who looks like an absolute ninja during his gymnastic rings workout. You walk into the cardio studio and this guy is hanging upside down doing some exercise that not only looks fun – but also requires a crazy amount of strength. 


The one thing you always forget – this guy has been doing basic, compound movements to build his strength and progress into the fun exercises you see him doing on the rings. 


Look, I’ve been in your shoes – staring in awe and wonder, trying to imagine how it is possible to obtain such strength. Truth is – it really isn’t that complex


In this article we will walk you through the five most basic exercises you can use to build a complete gymnastic rings workout and provide you with a free training program to start progressing in your movement journey. 


Benefits of Gymnastic Rings Workout

Why would you bother training on gymnastics rings? Besides the clear and obvious reality that they are undeniably fun to train with – here are three important benefits of gymnastics rings workouts. 


1. Instability

Since the rings are not static or attached to a concrete surface they are free to move in space. Although the generally only move in a mostly lateral and frontal motion – this is still enough instability to train the body for balance and strength through multiple ranges of motion. 


This lateral instability helps to train the intrinsic muscles of the shoulder. 


Muscles surrounding the rotator cuff and triceps will gain a huge amount of sensory strength which will translate to better big lifts later down the road. 


2. Progressive Strength Exercises

The gymnastic rings are a relatively basic exercise tool. Since they are so basic they provide a great deal of flexibility in your approach to training. This means that you can easily progress your exercises. Basic gymnastic rings workouts like pushups and pullups can easily be altered into more complex exercises like archer movements and isometric holds.

3. Rings Are Very Versatile

The gymnastics rings are very versatile. Considering how portable they can be, how easily they can be set up in the right space and how you can increase resistance – the gymnastics rings should be added into any strength-based workout program. 


This workout tool is not just for the advanced athlete – but really anyone who wants to build a foundation of strength for physical fitness. 


Downsides of Training with Gymnastic Rings

When it comes to training and creating gymnastic rings workouts it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Some people find that this workout tool can be difficult to progress on and sometimes the space needed is quite large. 


A) You Must Commit to Low Volume

When creating a gymnastic rings workout we must consider the pressure that is being put on the body during your training. The gymnastics rings can be quite a difficult tool to begin with… especially if you do not have your workout program completely built to your level of fitness. 


You must consider starting at a low volume of training – only using them 1-2x a week (at the most) and using basic exercises for strength, leaving the complex movements to overload weeks when you are working on movement skills. 


For more information on how you can create an effective workout programming message our support team here. We’d be happy to help! 


B) You Need Space

The obvious downside to the gymnastics rings is the need for space. These rings will be required for setup around a tall structure – ceiling rafters, a tree outside, sometimes you may even need to install a new structure in your garage gym. 


Building Your Own Workout Space? See our video on a DIY BEDROOM GYM BUILD


Building a Gymnastic Rings Workout – Essential Exercises

Creating a gymnastic rings workout is a great way to build strength and add in functional movement skills that are fun and interactive. Never underestimate the power of FUN in your workout program. Check out the five essential exercises you need to build a gymnastic rings workout. 


#1 – Pushup

Ring push-ups are a great way to add depth and instability to your pushups game. They can be easily altered to cater to strength or volume and are a great way to develop chest, triceps and core strength. 


TRAINER ADVICE: Commit yourself to sets of 8-12 and ensure that you are always looking at quality reps – we never want to shoot for quantity and suffer in form, especially when we are on unstable rings.


#2 – Row

The inverted row is perhaps one of the most forgotten exercises when it comes to back strength and posture. Using the rings adds one more layer on instability and depth into your training. This way you can alter the grip type and add resistance in the form of level-class changes or weighted vest. 


TRAINER TIP: Use higher reps when completing this exercise. 12-16 reps by 3-4 sets should be the perfect range to develop strength and better alignment during your big lifts – especially deadlift and sumo squats. 


#3 – Pull-up

This one was a given – but still needs to be mentioned. The gymnastic rings pull-up is perhaps the best pullup you can do to build strength and power in the upper back. Personally, I like to keep my rings 1-2 inches wider than shoulder-width and work on neutral grip pullups. This will help to build size and strength in the back. 


#4 – Dip

Gymnastic rings dips are a whole new level in your dip game. Parallel bar dips are baby food when it comes to performing the same movement on the rings. This movement will require dedication, practice and most importantly – a complete training program. 

Build strength, power and decrease your rate of injury with structured training tailored to your body and sport. 


#5 – Bodyweight Face Pull

An essential movement for anyone who wants to build strength and posture for power-based sports. The bodyweight face pull, similar to the face pull or upright row will build strength in the external rotators of the shoulder. These muscles will allow for a greater load to be placed on the back or overhead without feeling fatigued or sensory burnouts. 


TRAINER TIP: Face pulls work best with variability. Commit to 1-2 weeks of high volume training. 12-16 reps each set to help build hypertrophy and condition the muscle. Follow this with 1-2 weeks of overload. Slow tempo speeds and 3-8 reps per set will help to build strength through a complete range of motion. 


FREE Gymnastic Rings Workout

Pullup (Neutral Grip) 8 3 2111 2m
Rings Dip  6 4 1010 2m
Pushup + Inverted Row 12+16 3 2121 3m
Rings Face Pull 12 3 3131 90s