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Calisthenics rings workout – 10 exercises

Calisthenics rings workout, many athletes don’t even think about it, and that’s a shame. Because a set of rings is the most versatile piece of equipment you can buy. You can train all calisthenics exercises with them without needing other equipment. This way, you can save money.

Additionally, training with gymnastic rings provides a new type of training stimulus. When training with rings, you must constantly stabilize your body, engaging many muscles simultaneously. In this blog, you’ll find 10 exercises for (semi) beginners to train your entire upper body. Tip: they are already in the right order for a good workout. So hang up your rings and start training right away.

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#1 Support hold

The support hold is one of the most important basics to master when you start training with gymnastic rings. It serves as the foundation for many beginner and advanced push exercises like ring dips or planche holds. It targets your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and also engages your core. In the support hold, you keep both arms extended and move the wrists outward. Additionally, you push the shoulder blades down and forward (protracted and depressed). This may feel awkward initially as your body needs to learn to stabilize itself.

rings support hold
rings support hold
False grip hold ringen

#2 False grip hold

The false grip hold is the exercise to prepare your wrists for ring muscle-ups and front lever training. You grab the rings from the inside, with the side edge of your palm resting on the bottom of the rings. This exercise will certainly feel uncomfortable in the beginning. Still, mastering it will bring significant benefits later on.

Recommended sets: 3 x 10-30 seconds

#3 Skin the cat

The skin the cat is one of the most important stretches you can do for flexible shoulders and a strong core. Additionally, the skin the cat is used as the first progression towards the back lever. In the skin the cat, you hang under the rings, engage your core, and move both legs between your hands. Then, you rotate completely until your feet point towards the ground. When you can’t go any further, rotate back to the starting position.

Recommended reps: 2 x 2-5 reps

#4 Ring pull-ups

The pull-up is one of the most crucial exercises in your workout, and you can perform it perfectly with the rings. There are numerous variations of pull-ups, but if you’re just starting, I recommend beginning with the standard pull-up or chin-up. If this is too challenging, opt for the eccentric variation or use a resistance band. If it’s too light, go for a more challenging version like a false grip pull-up, typewriter pull-ups, or add weight. Want to learn more about the pull-up? Click here.

Recommended reps: 4 x 4-6 reps

Turn ring pull-up
turn ring pull-up top positie

#5 Ring dips

Another crucial calisthenics exercise is the dip. The difficulty level of dips varies significantly depending on whether you’re training on parallel bars or using rings. For ring dips, you start from the previously mentioned support hold. Lower yourself slowly while keeping the rings close to the sides of your body. The farther you let the rings slide outward, the more challenging it becomes to stabilize them. When your shoulders are below your elbows, push back up until you return to the support hold.

Ring dips help you build substantial pushing strength. If you want to make this exercise even more challenging, you can add weight and do weighted dips.

Recommended reps: 4 x 4-6 reps

Ring dips

#6 Ring rows

With ring rows, you target your back muscles. Hang under the rings with your body straight, engaging your core and arms locked. From this position, retract your shoulder blades and pull yourself up.

The great thing about ring rows is that you can easily adjust the difficulty level. The lower you hang the rings, the more challenging the exercise becomes. Test out the height that feels right for you. Many rings come with measurements on the cord, allowing you to remember the ideal height for you.

Recommended reps: 3-4 x 8-12 reps

#7 Ring push-ups

Hang the rings as low as possible and place your feet firmly on the ground. Lean into the rings and ensure a good grip. Slowly lower yourself from the triceps until your chest is at the height of the rings. An important detail: in the bottom position, the rings should be slightly below shoulder height. Then push up, and as you come up, turn the rings outward.

Push-ups on the rings are much more challenging than on the ground. Stabilizing your shoulders, elbows, and wrists requires your body to work much harder. Again, for the rings, the lower you hang them, the more challenging the exercise becomes.

Recommended sets: 3-4 x 8-12 reps

Ring Push-ups

#8 Ring Bicep curls

At the end of your workout, focus on isolation exercises. With the rings, you can perfectly train bicep curls. Hang the rings close to each other and grab them in a supinated grip. Move your hands towards the rings while squeezing the biceps hard.

Recommended training: superset with tricep extension, 2 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions.

ring bicep curl

#9 Tricep extensions

The triceps should not be neglected either. Your arms are extended in the starting position, and you bend them while moving your head towards the rings. It’s crucial to bend the elbows backward and not outward. Tighten your entire body to form a straight line. Again, the lower the rings, the more challenging the exercise.

Recommended training: superset with bicep curls, 2 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions.

tricep extension

#10 L-sit

To wrap it up, here’s a (super challenging) abdominal exercise on the rings: the L-sit. You can do this in two ways—hanging under the rings or in a support hold. Engage your core and lift your legs until your body forms a 90-degree angle. If this is too difficult, keep your legs bent; you’ll find it considerably lighter.

Recommended training: 2 sets of maximum seconds.

And with the L-sit, we conclude the list. Have a lot of fun training calisthenics with the rings. And don’t limit yourself to the exercises above—with a set of gymnastic rings, your training possibilities are endless.

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