There’s nothing like kicking off the new year or a new month or even just starting the week right with a unique set of workout moves.

Utilizing some rings to enhance and maintain your shoulders is the perfect way to get a whole-body workout done without needing tons of new equipment.

Gymnastic rings are an excellent way to utilize your body weight to gain muscle and lose fat.

Bodyweight exercises bring in an added layer of flexibility, coordination, and resistance that you cant get on the machines at the gym.

In addition to all of the health benefits, gymnastic rings and shoulder workouts just bring another whole added layer of fun and youthful exuberance to your reps and sets.

Before you tackle a new shoulder workout, check with your doctor that your body and joints can handle the pressure and added stress.

If you’ve recently had a shoulder injury or surgery, your body and joints may not be able to hold your body weight and more damage might be caused.

Gymnastic Rings and Your Workout

You’ve probably seen the Olympic athletes tumbling all over the place and using rings hung from the ceiling to complete their routines.

Believe it or not but it could be you tumbling all over the gym!

Gymnastic rings have been a staple of bodyweight workouts and strength training for years and adding them into your normal routine can help you in a wide variety of ways.

Whole Body Workout

Bodyweight workouts engage your entire body even as you focus on one muscle group. This goes double for gymnastic rings!

Not only are you only using your body weight as the resistance but you’re also balancing your entire weight up in the air.

The rings themselves move around so you constantly need to engage different areas of your muscles to keep things as stable as you can.

This not only builds up your muscle mass across your entire body but increases your flexibility and control as well.

Machines at home or the gym just don’t give you this in-depth type of workout.

Workout from Home

There’s no need to head to the gym or your local Olympic training facility either.

You can purchase and install gymnastic rings in your own home.

On the market today are several different types of rings from free-standing to ones that attach to your walls, door, or beams.

Depending on the size, shape, and durability, you may need more floor space or a sturdy place to hang them but you’ll be able to complete your workout and ring training without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Benefits of Bodyweight Workouts

If you’ve been religiously hitting the gym, you’ve probably found that your body has adapted and now moves naturally through the motions when it comes to the machines or other exercises.

Machines move your body in one specific way and teach it to respond in only that range of motion.

Bodyweight exercises specifically engage more than one muscle group and push you to move in different ways.

There are lots of bodyweight exercises that may already be part of your normal gym routine.

Movements like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, burpees, and a whole host of other moves, engage your entire body. Gymnastic ring workouts and ring training fit in this same category as well!

By incorporating bodyweight movements, you’ll start to see an increase in your flexibility as well as explosive power throughout your entire body.

Using the rings to do ring dips, muscle-ups and pull-ups are a great way to continue building on this explosive power and capitalize on it each workout.

Hitting the Rings

Before you start spinning off the rings and doing backflips, you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up through the entire course of ring training.

Starting with backflips and advanced movements is a good way to get hurt and no one wants that!

Whether you’re small or stocky, you can learn to use the gymnastic rings effectively for your workout or exercise routine.

Dead Hang

One of the most crucial parts of the gymnastic ring exercise is your grip. To build up your grip, start your workouts by simply letting yourself hang from the bars.

This helps you get a feel for the bars themselves as well as get a good grip and work on building up strength in your arms.

You’ll also be able to get a feel for if your shoulders and arms can handle the strain.

Ring Push-ups Position

After you’ve gotten a feel for the dead hang you can move on to holding yourself in a push-up position. This may require you to use a few adjustments as you first get started.

You may need to lower the rings, use a box, or keep your time in the position short.

Even though you aren’t moving around a lot, these holds still push your muscles to the extreme and while you’re in the push-up position it will engage your entire core too.


This is the classic flex at the gym! If you can do a load of chin-ups or pull-ups, you know you’ve reached the pinnacle of fitness.

Starting at square one means you’ll need to do some practice before you can rattle off two or three hundred chin-ups.

Begin with the dead hang, move into some push-up positions or negative pull-up moves, and before long you’ll have mastered the chin-up.

While you don’t have to be a certain size to complete this move, you may need some extra practice as you’ll need to pull your entire weight up to the bar without assistance.

There are lots of progressions available for you to use to get yourself up to a traditional chin-up. 

Muscle-ups and Iron Crosses

When you’ve mastered all you need to know to get to these advanced poses, you’ll find yourself feeling stronger in your everyday life.

These poses take a lot out of your shoulders and are some of the most intense movements that will be in your repertoire.

Start in a dead hang and move up into a top position to finish each move effectively.

Shoulder Workout

Rings will give you a whole-body workout but their focus is typically on your shoulders and upper body.

If you’ve had a recent injury or even an old one, light work on the rings can help your shoulders regain their movement and eventually build better muscle mass so you won’t be reinjured.

Whether you just want to get shredded and build great muscles, or you’re looking to get better flexibility and control, getting out and working on the rings will help you reach your goals!

Bodyweight Gymnastic Rings Rows

To get started on your shoulder workout and ring training, start with 3-5 sets of 10 reps of bodyweight ring rows.

Utilize a false grip on the handles then pull your hands into your armpits as deep as you can. This will lift your entire body up and toward the rings.

Focus on your arms and core as you pull so you’ll engage your entire upper body.

Ring Push-ups

Move into the ring push-ups and move your rings until they’re hanging about one foot above the ground. Slide yourself into a push-up position and keep your body still and steady as you go through the full push-up motion.

When you get to the bottom of the ring push-up, keep your shoulders pulled back so you won’t cause any shoulder impingement.

Go through 3-5 sets of 10 or more reps to complete the cycle.

False Grip Ring Pull-up

Grab onto the rings to start and keep your false grip (palm mostly on the ring and the fingers curled around) during the entire time you’re going through the movement.

Move into the motion by pulling your body up toward the rings and keep your elbows close to your hips. This tightening of your elbows into your hips engages your entire core and builds your upper body more effectively.

Try as hard as you can to keep your hands going below your collarbones and do as deep of a pull-up as possible.

Go through 3 sets of 8 reps and keep your false grip on the rings the entire time.

Ring Dips

Start with your rings in a position where you can jump up from the ground or box into a ring support pose.

Keep your hands tight into your hips and your knuckles flat against your hips the entire time. This gives you more control when you come down from the ring support.

No sense wasting energy flailing around before you even start the ring dip movement!

Once you’re in the ring support position, lower yourself as far as you can while maintaining total control.

Wobbling may look fun on the playground but it’s a good way to damage your shoulders.

Go through 3-5 sets of 8 reps within the full range of motion for the dips.

Ring Ab Rollout

Let’s engage the core! A strong core means a strong body and there’s no better and more fun way to work your core than with the rings.

Gone are the days of dozens of sit-ups only to find you’ve hurt your neck more than worked your abs.

Ring ab rollouts work in the same way as ab wheel rollouts but require a little bit more from your shoulders within the range of motion.

Keep your hips locked and your core tight, back flat.

As you’re doing the movement, if you feel it in your lower back rather than your abs, switch things up and engage your entire core.

Go through 3 sets of 10 reps for these exercises.

Superman Thrust

This is a variation of the ab rollout which focuses even more on shoulder strength.

Focus on staying in control and keep the movement within your levels of comfort. Keeping yourself stable and in control is key to this motion.

Go through a freestyle arm movement and move your arms how you like, forward, backward, or even in circles as you go through the exercises like this.

Do 3 sets of 8 reps before calling it quits on the Superman Thrust.

Single Arm Plank

Planks are hard when they’re done on the ground and you’re able to keep yourself stable and it adds a whole other level of difficulty when you perch yourself on a ring.

Spend some time doing groundwork and master the single-arm plank there before jumping onto the rings.

If you need a little extra stability as you’re just starting, spread your legs apart rather than keep them together so you can build up your balance first.

This move and variation will engage everything from your abs to shoulders and obliques.

You can make these exercises even harder by lifting one leg off the ground and pushing yourself to balance and engage the entire upper body.

Do 3 sets of 20-30 seconds with this plank hold and any exercises like this one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you start on a new workout routine, it’s best to have as much information as possible so you can start on the right foot or arm!

Since exercises on the gymnastic rings are strenuous on your joints and shoulders, in particular, make sure you’ve got everything you need to make your routine effective and safe.

Be sure that your home rings are attached properly and set up well and support your entire body weight and movements.

Do I need Chalk to Complete My Routine?

While you don’t need special grips to get your gymnastic rings routine and exercises done, some chalk will help you keep traction and stop you from slipping as you go through movements.

Nothing like slipping and having the wind knocked out of you!

How Important are the Progressions for the Gymnastic Rings Exercises?

If you’re just starting with ring exercises the progressions are extremely important.

Jumping straight from barely knowing how to move on the rings to a muscle-up or an Iron Cross is a ticket straight to injury and possible pain.

Work through the progressions until you can do a full-on pull-up or chin-up without much hesitation.

Keep practicing until you can do them smoothly and you’ll soon be showing off at the gym!

Is it possible to fall?

It’s possible to fall if you lose your grip or you let go. One of the main rules of using the rings is to never let go of the rings.

Keep a strong grip on the rings at all times and utilize your chalk to maintain a strong grip.

If you do need to let go and drop, only do so when you’re able to drop and land in a comfortable and safe place.

Swinging upside down and doing as many crazy things as possible is a recipe for a cracked head!

Can I use the Rings Every Day for Shoulder Workouts?

After any type of exercise routine, your body needs time to rest and heal.

During bodyweight or regular workout routines, tiny micro-tears form in the muscle and as this heal, lean muscle is built up.

Doing a workout every day is possible but make sure you give your body time to rest and recover.

This means more than just a few short hours and often requires sleep.

For your body to effectively process the exercises and your healthy meals, you also need some sleep as well as time to rest.


Gymnastic rings are an up and coming way to work out and use your whole body and complete your daily exercises!

Even as you focus on a shoulder workout, you’ll be engaging your back, core, and neck to complete the move safely and effectively.

Not only is this an excellent way to get in a good workout, but it’s also a lot of fun!

Think back to the days of your youth and remember how much fun you had swinging across the monkey bars or on the rings at school.

Don’t get stuck in the gym rut and hang around the machines.

Try something new and engage your whole body as much as possible with gymnastic rings!

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