How to Use Gym Rings at Home
Setting up a set of gym rings in your home opens up a whole new level of workout potential. Even though gym rings have been around for a long time, not a lot of the general public are using them at home, at least not to do anything more than pull ups and dips. As a result, you may not know how to get the best use of your gym rings at home. In this article, I’ll lay out a plan that will have you getting the most benefit from your gym rings at home.
Where to Put Your Gym Rings?
The first decision you need to make about your new gym rings is where to hang them. That depends whether you want to do your gym ring workout indoors or outdoors. If you choose to train in the midst of nature, then you need to look for a sturdy tree branch that sits at least a foot above your head. You can also use the frame of an outdoor swing set or pull up bar.
If you decide to keep your workout indoors, you can hang them from a rafter in your garage / carport or shed depending on what you have access to, sometimes pergolas are a great option. If nothing like that is available, you can use a door anchor attachment but you will have to make sure that it is securely attached and able to support your body weight.
What Height Should the Rings Be?
This will largely depend on the exercise you are performing, if you are doing ring dips for example you will have the gym rings set at a height that is around your hip height and if you are performing rows you will most likely adjust the rings to a higher position.
You should set up the rings in such a way that you are able to adjust them for exercises both above and below the level of the rings. When you are beginning, you should set the rings at a height that allows you to make contact with the floor at any time if you get into trouble.
Beginning Your Rings Training
Before you launch yourself into your first at home gym ring workout you should conduct a self-assessment to determine whether you honestly feel that you have the strength, balance and deltoid mobility. When you train on the rings, you have a whole lot more flexibility and range of motion through your upper body. However, this requires greater ligament strength, especially through the shoulder.
You can test out your starting strength and mobility levels by attempting the following exercises. If you cannot hold for one 3 second rep on each move, make this your beginner workout until you can do 5 three second reps on each move.
Ideally you should be able to hold each of these positions for 15 seconds.
Get yourself up into the top position of the dip exercise, with your arms fully extended and your elbows locked, with the elbows close to your sides. Hold this top position with your palms facing in toward your body for a second and then rotate them outward.
Set up the rings so that they are positioned above your head. Reach up to grab the rings. Keeping your arms locked, shrug your shoulders and bring your knees up to your chest. Hold this position.
Lower the rings so that you are able to get into the top push up position with your feet on the floor. From a top push up position with your arms fully extended, spread your arms apart and lower toward the floor. This will be a lot harder than a normal push up due to the instability involved. You should go down until the rings make contact with your arm pits.
Hang from the gym rings with a neutral grip so that your palms are facing each other. Now pull yourself up to the level of the rings as you rotate the palms to face toward you into the top position. Maintain a tight core to avoid using momentum to help you get up.
These exercises should form the basis of your first 6 weeks of training on your gym rings. Work up to performing 3 sets of 15 reps on each exercise. Give yourself between 45-60 seconds rest between each set.
Once you have built strength and confidence working with your gym rings on the above program, you will be ready to throw in some more advanced moves. Here are two that will challenge you and make you a stronger, fitter athlete ….
The L Sit
The L Sit is a fantastic abdominal strengthener. Start by assuming the fully extended arm lock position on the rings with your straight legs hanging down. Now pivot at the hips to bring your legs up to a parallel position to the floor. Hold that position for 10-15 seconds.
Once you get good at doing this version of the L Sit, try doing the more advanced version from a dead hang.
With this exercise, you are holding a position where your body is horizontally parallel to the floor while hanging from the rings with straight arms. You can work up to this exercise by starting with the rings down low so that your heels are touching the ground. From there, bring your feet off the ground and tuck up your knees. Finally straighten your legs to perform the full Lever.
It is recommended using your gym rings workout as a supplement to, rather than a replacement for your main workout with bands or weights. Perform your ring workout twice per week, with a couple of days gap between each session. Do your ring work on days when you are not training with bands or weights.