Rings are an essential component of boys' gymnastics and are a great training aid in building upper body and core strength, which are detrimental to the sport of gymnastics.
Made with durability and safety in mind, the wooden birch rings can be used in various bodyweight exercises for conditioning and increasing flexibility. They are also beneficial for gymnasts and other people wanting to improve their athletic performance and get better endurance or speed. It is light and portable, so you can train anytime and everywhere you go!
From basic ring push-ups to dips and levers, The Gym Spot looks at beginner exercises you can do at home and how to do them.
Have the birch rings hanging down from your bar. For beginners, ensure the rings are at a length where you can grip them comfortably standing. For more advanced, adjust the rings to be closer to the ground. This creates a greater focus on the core and upper body strength. Grip the rings with your fingers facing the ground. Lean into the rings with your chest in between the rings. Then, position yourself on a diagonal, with your arms straight, your chest up straight and on your toes. Pull your body up with your arms and then down, mimicking the traditional push-up movement.
This is a great exercise for building confidence with the rings in mid-air. Get up on the rings with your fingers facing the ground, your knuckles facing upright, and your thumbs gripping around the edge. Pull yourself up until you are in the air with your arms straight, the rings on the outsides of your arms, and your shoulders 'pushing into' the rings. From here, slowly bring your chest forward as you start to bend your arms, and as you continue to bend, bring your hands closer to the sides of your body to steady yourself and regulate your speed. Then, pull yourself back up, with your arms fully extended. For beginners, practise this closer to the ground before going airborne, and do as many times as required.
Levers are the best way to start off with having your whole body in the air whilst conducting a movement on the rings, as well as helping gain flexibility in your upper body. Grab the rings loosely and walk forward so that you are in front of the rings with your back being the closest to them. From here, slowly allow yourself to remove your free from the ground until you are just hanging there. It is also a good idea to have something underneath you, like a mat or an incline wedge, just in case you are still not confident with being completely off the ground with the birch rings.
Adjust the rings so that they are a bit higher up than normal. Grip the rings with your fingers facing in front of you, and your knuckles facing away from you. Pull yourself up until your arms are bent. From here, slowly bring yourself back down until your arms are straight. An absolute killer on the upper body and core!
For beginners, when conducting the movement of the pull-up, come back to a standing position on the ground until you feel that you are strong enough to do consecutive pull-ups in the air. As you get more confident and stronger, you can adjust the birch rings to a higher point with less of a need to touch the ground in between reps.
This is the opposite way to how you would perform your basic birch ring push up. Instead of leaning into the rings, lean backwards, using your heels as support and hang all the way back until your arms are straight. You can also adjust the birch rings lower and position yourself lower, with your heels further back for a harder workout.
What other training techniques do you do on your rings? Comment them below!