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Body Workouts to Try with Gymnastic Rings

Everyone wishes they had the flexibility, strength, and agility of Simon Biles. But most of us will be watching the Olympics, not competing in them. Still, we can all dream, and attempt the basic level of the gymnastic rings.

In the old days, gymnastic rings were only seen as a circus apparatus, or an Olympic event, for seasoned and very well-trained champion athletes.

But there are several sorts of inversion training, nowadays, from hanging yoga to inverted back suspension machines. No longer are gymnastic rings saved for a selected, elite few. 

The gymnastic rings are humbling, it’s true, but they provide a great challenge for anyone searching to add different types of exercises to their roster of training. 

Before you start, it is critical to assess your abilities. You must possess a certain degree of strength and shoulder stability, to even attempt these. These exercises will challenge your balance and your stability, and they will quickly expose your weaknesses. 

But fear, not! If you practice these consistently, your body will figure out just which muscles need to participate, to perform them properly. 

Chances are, you might not be able to do them all, and if you can, you may not be equipped to hold them for fifteen seconds at a time. Do not lose hope! You need to train the corresponding muscles to support the load. Don’t forget, the rings are going to want to be moving, as per Einstein’s Theory of Gravity! It is necessary to figure out just how to stabilize your muscles, to counteract that movement.

 Try to engage with each variation for a couple of seconds, until you build up your body to withstand more.

Hanging Knee Raises

  • Hang from the rings.
  • Pull your knees up to a ninety-degree angle, in a slow manner.
  • Hold them in position for a few seconds.
  • In a controlled manner, slowly lower your knees.

Ring Pull-ups

  • Hang from the rings.
  • Slowly bending your elbows, pull your body upwards, until your head is higher than the rings. 
  • Hold for a few seconds, enjoying the view.
  • Lower your body down, in a controlled fashion.

Toes to the Rings

(This is a very challenging exercise)

  • Pretend you do not know how to incorporate momentum.
  • Sometimes, when you want to achieve something, it is tempting to find short-cuts to get there. But think of this exercise as a strategic route to control chaos.
  • Hang from the ring.
  • Pull your legs up slowly until your feet touch the rings.
  • Hold for a few seconds. You will feel your abs calling your name.
  • Slowly lower your legs in as controlled a fashion as you can.

Ro, Row, Row your Rings

  • Lie beneath the rings. 
  • Reach out your arms to hold them, keeping your legs straight.
  • Slowly pull yourself up, bending your arms until your chest reaches the rings.
  • Hold for a few seconds!
  • Slowly straighten your arms, and lower yourself down.

*To level this one up, place your feet on a box, a couple of feet high, before starting, to challenge every piece of your body.

Lunge from Gymnastic Ring

(This is next-level challenging. Proceed only if you are already familiar with a basic lunge. This exercise requires extreme stabilization. If you are new at this, keep a sturdy chair or gym box beside you, in case you lose your balance. The ring is going to want to move, as you are trying to use it as your base.)

Facing away from the rings, bend one knee, and place the foot from that leg behind you, inside one ring.

Find your balance. 

Gently lunge forwards with your other foot. 

Hold for a few seconds.

Stand up slowly, staying keenly aware of your balance being continually challenged. 

Remove your foot from the ring. 

Now, try the other foot.

The L-Shaped Ring Sit

Holding the rings as your base, you will push yourself straight upwards via your arms, and stabilize your shoulders, by contracting your scapula downwards. 

Maintaining stability, you will slowly lift your legs up to a 90-degree angle.

Hold this position, until you can’t.

Slowly lower your arms and your legs downwards. 

Every bone and muscle in your body will feel challenged and will need to join together as one cohesive unit, to perform these exercises. Think of this routine as a work-in-progress.

As you advance, you can add a couple of more seconds to each exercise. 

Cheryl Struzer | Contributor

Spring 2024

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