If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you understand the benefits of working out with gymnastic rings.
You know that they can help you build both muscle and functional strength.
You get that they target your muscles and joints in new and effective ways.
And maybe you know that gym rings are super versatile and that there are loads of workout options…but you’re a little unsure on where to start.
Whether you need inspiration on how to structure your gym ring workout or you’re just getting bored of your current routine, this upper body focused, gym ring workout is sure to be super helpful for you.
We will include options for different levels of intensity.
1. Ring Push Ups
This is a foundational move that everyone should master.
Using gymnastic rings to perform push ups allow you to go wider and deeper than a regular push up in order to really target the chest and triceps.
To do a ring push up, place your toes on the floor as you hold onto and lean into the rings and lower yourself down by bending your arms.
A more advanced version of this is to incorporate a deficit by elevating your legs above your upper body. This allows for more range of motion.
2. Inverted Rows
It is always a good idea to partner a push-based exercise with a pull one in order to burn out your muscles and maximise your workout.
After you have completed 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of ring push ups, move on to a pull-based exercise like the inverted row.
To perform an inverted row with gym rings, simply hold onto the rings with your hands, lean back and then pull yourself towards the rings.
Ensure to keep your back and shoulders contracted.
To make this more difficult, aim to lean further back so that you are closer to the floor, but never touching it. You can also perform inverted rows one arm at a time.
3. Ring Fly
The ring fly is a great exercise that really targets the pecs as well as the shoulders.
To perform this, set up a pair of rings at around knee height and start in the same position as if you were about to complete a push up.
Open up your arms so that they move out to the sides, ensuring that you keep your elbows slightly bent.
Use your chest to bring your arms back to the starting position.
4. Ring Chin Up
Similarly to pull ups, chin ups really work to strengthen and sculpt the upper back.
It’s crucial that you master both chin ups and pull ups in order to be able to move on to the more advanced gym ring moves that you see all over Instagram!
To perform a chin up, adjust the rings so that your feet do not touch the floor when you hang from them.
From here, reach your arms up with your wrists facing forwards and pull yourself up turning your arms so that your wrists face towards you as you do so.
Once your chin reaches the height of the rings, lower yourself back to the starting position.
5. Ring Dips
Having performed these more compound movements, it’s time to really burn out the triceps and biceps!
Ring dips are really going to leave your triceps burning.
To perform, set up the rings at around knee height and sit down in front of them, placing your hands into them with your knuckles facing forwards.
From here, place your legs out in front of you on a bench or elevated platform and lower yourself down by bending your arms.
6. Ring Bicep Curls
Start in the same position as you would for an inverted row with your hands in the rings facing one another.
From here, pull your arms in towards your body and turn your hands so that your knuckles face you.
Make sure to squeeze at the top and really focus on mind to muscle engagement throughout.
7. Hanging Leg Raises
Any good upper body workout has to finish with a couple of killer ab moves!
The first- hanging leg raises- is a little more difficult to master but definitely rewards you with strong abs.
Set the rings so that your feet don’t touch the ground when you hang on them.
Tuck your knees and raise them into your chest as close as you can before slowly lowering them down again.
Once you perfect this, you can move onto hanging leg raises where you keep your legs straight.
8. Ring Mountain Climbers
Get into a push up like position and slot your feet into the rings with your hands out in front of you and your arms extended.
One leg at a time, bend at the knee and bring your leg in towards your arms.
As with any ab exercise, ensure that you focus on tensing your abs the entire time.
This is a really intense way to finish off your upper body ring workout!
The great thing about gym ring workouts is that there are so many variations upon movements depending on how advanced you are in your training!
Whilst these 8 movements serve as the basis for the ultimate upper body gym ring workout, you should definitely try out some of the variations when you feel ready.
Don’t forget to bookmark this guide to refer back to!
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.