The rings may look like a tool reserved for elite gymnasts but the reality is, they are suitable for all abilities. They are amazing at developing relative strength through a range of movements like pushing, pulling, dipping and gripping. They do not take up much space which makes them perfect for taking on holidays or business trips. The instability of the rings means you can quickly regress or progress a movement. For example, by changing your foot position for the ring push up, you can make it easy for grandpa or tough for the special forces wolf.

Relative strength meets actual strength

Relative strength meets actual strength

 

Purchase

At the GWC we stick to the basics. For this reason, you do not have to break the bank to purchase your rings. If you have an old TRX lying around, you can get away with this for the most part. In an ideal world, I would recommend you buy wooden GR. They are light but feel more stable than plastic rings. I would avoid mental rings if you are travelling due to the extra weight. It’s important that the adjustable buckle is pretty tough as this can be the first thing to go. If you are buying off the internet, take particular interest in the reviews. There is no harm in buying second-hand options either. At the end of the day, make a decision based on your budget.

I recommend these 3 options (prices stated are current at time of publishing):

 

Personally, I’ve used the same set weekly for 4 years and they are good as new. The shipping cost can be pretty high though.

 

  • Emerge Gymnastic Wooden Rings - US$45 (emergefitnessusa.com) / $49 (Amazon) + shipping

Highly rated in the fitness community and great customer service.

 

  • Nayoya Gymnastic Plastic Rings  - US$35 + shipping

A cheaper option but they are solid and get the job done.

Builds some 'old school' grip strength

Builds some 'old school' grip strength

 

Set Up

Now you have bought your rings, it’s time to find a place to set them up. This could include the local park, commercial gym, rafters or a tree branch. Let’s consider a few things before you get stuck in.

 

1. Location

Avoid crowded places where you are going to be disturbed too much.  There is nothing worse than feeling like a zoo animal while people stare at you! If you are training outside (I’d recommend it) then consider aspects such as weather, access and park rules (some local authorities forbid anyone from having fun). Some people may not be motivated to work out if it’s raining or snowing outside. If you are leaving your rings outside, consider the weathering impact such as rust to the buckle.

 

2. Level and stable anchor point

Training from a tree branch sounds great but unless it’s 100% horizontal and very strong, you may get frustrated with sliding straps or tree branches to the head.

 

3. Space

There needs to be enough room to move under and above the rings. Can you do assisted pull ups with enough leg room? Can you do triceps dips without banging your head?

 

4. Straps

A big mistake that beginners often make is feeding the strap through the wrong side of the buckle. This results in the person holding on to the rings, leaning back and falling on their arse as the buckle does not clamp down. Once you have fed the strap through the buckle, give it a pull while standing and make sure the buckle has ‘bitten down’ on the strap. 

 

Nobody asks an old dog to open the jar of pickles..

Nobody asks an old dog to open the jar of pickles..