Gymnastic Rings – How to Train with Rings and Gradually Improve

If you’re like me, always on the lookout for effective and engaging ways to enhance your fitness routine, then you’re in for a treat. Gymnastic rings, often seen in the Olympics, are not just for elite athletes. They’ve become quite an addition in my workouts, offering a unique blend of strength, flexibility, and balance challenges. There is absolutely no reason why it shouldnt be the same for you. 

Today, I will provide you with several important points like:

  • Gymnastic rings are not limited to elite athletes but are a valuable tool for anyone looking to enhance their fitness routine.
  • The workout is structured into three levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
  • The importance of progressing safely, listening to your body, and adapting exercises to your fitness level. 

Without further ado, let us begin exploring each subject in greater detail.

Beginner Exercises

Ring Row for beginners

For those new to gymnastic rings, starting with basic exercises is key to building foundational strength and confidence. Here are some beginner-friendly exercises to add to your ring workout routine:

Exercise Description Target Muscles Key Points
Ring Rows A movement to fortify the upper body. Back, Arms Set rings at waist height, lean back, pull chest to rings while keeping the body aligned.
Assisted Ring Dips Enhances upper body strength, focusing on the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Chest, Triceps, Shoulders Use ground support or a resistance band, ensure body remains straight, control the movement.
Ring Push-Ups Adds a stability challenge to traditional push-ups. Chest, Triceps, Core Position rings just above the ground, keep elbows close during the push-up motion.
Hanging Knee Raise Concentrates on the abdominal muscles for core fortification. Abdominals Hang from rings with arms extended, lift knees towards chest steadily, maintain focus on abs.

Intermediate Exercises

As you gain strength and confidence with basic ring exercises, you can start including intermediate-level workouts into your routine. These exercises will challenge your muscles further and help you build more functional strength:

Exercise Description Target Muscles Key Points
Pull-Ups Builds back and arm muscles with added instability from rings. Back, Arms Overhand grip, pull up until chin above rings, lower with control.
Muscle-Ups Combines pull-up and dip, requiring strength and coordination. Upper Body Start with pull-up, transition to dip position above rings.
Ring Butterfly Demanding workout for shoulder and arm muscles. Shoulders, Arms Hang with arms extended, move arms out and pull up.
Triceps Press/Extension Isolates triceps, simple yet effective. Triceps Arms extended above head, lean forward, bend and extend elbows.

Advanced Exercises

Front and Back Levers Ring

For those who have mastered intermediate exercises, advanced gymnastic ring workouts offer an opportunity to push your limits and achieve new fitness milestones. Here are some challenging exercises to try:

Exercise Description Target Muscles Key Points
Ring Dips A strength exercise performed above the rings. Upper Body Start above rings, bend elbows, keep body straight, control movements.
Reverse Butterfly Focuses on the chest muscles through a backward leaning motion. Chest Stand in front of rings, lean back, open arms while pulling chest forward, maintain core strength.
Knee Raises Targets the abdominal muscles by raising knees while hanging from the rings. Abs Hang from rings, raise knees to chest, keep legs together, focus on abs, avoid swinging.
Front and Back Levers Advanced exercises challenging the core and upper body. Core, Upper Body For front lever, body parallel to ground facing up; for back lever, face down; keep body straight.

Tips and Tricks for Effective Ring Workouts

Maximizing the benefits of gymnastic ring workouts requires a strategic approach, blending safety, adaptability, and comprehensive training. Here are expanded tips to enhance your ring workout experience:

Progress Safely

Basic Ring Dips

Before attempting advanced movements, master the fundamentals. This solid foundation is crucial for preventing injuries and building confidence. Increase the intensity and complexity of exercises gradually. For instance, if you’re comfortable with basic ring dips, try adding a slight variation or more repetitions before moving to more advanced versions.

Pay attention to how your body responds during and after workouts. Discomfort is normal, but sharp pain is a warning sign. Rest and recovery are as important as the workout itself. Regular practice is key to progress. However, consistency doesn’t mean overtraining. Balance your workouts with adequate rest days to allow for muscle recovery and growth.

Adjust for Fitness Levels

Ring Exercises and Resistance Band

Use tools like resistance bands for assistance in exercises like pull-ups or dips. Lowering the rings can make exercises like push-ups more manageable for beginners. Tailor your workouts to your current fitness level. If an exercise feels too challenging, modify it to a simpler version or reduce the number of repetitions.

Setting achievable, short-term goals can help you stay motivated and track your progress. Celebrate small victories to keep your morale high.

Embracing Full-Body Routines

Ensure your workout routine includes a mix of upper body, core, and lower body exercises. This holistic approach prevents muscle imbalances and enhances overall body strength. Many ring exercises inherently engage the core, but including specific core-focused movements can further enhance stability and strength.

Regularly change your workout routine to challenge different muscle groups and prevent boredom. This could include varying the exercises, the number of repetitions, or the intensity. Focus on exercises that mimic everyday movements and activities. This approach improves not just your gym performance but also your functional strength in daily life.


Are rings better than weights?

Rings and weights serve different purposes. Rings focus on bodyweight exercises and improve balance, coordination, and functional strength. Weights are great for targeted muscle building and strength training. The choice depends on your fitness goals.

Why are ring exercises harder?

Ring exercises are harder because they require more stability and engage more muscle groups simultaneously. The instability of the rings demands greater muscle activation, balance, and coordination compared to fixed equipment.

Why are ring gymnasts so muscular?

Ring gymnasts develop significant muscle mass due to the high level of body tension and stability required in their sport. The exercises on the rings demand constant engagement of multiple muscle groups, particularly the upper body, leading to increased muscle strength and hypertrophy.

Can you run with rings on?

It’s not practical to run with gymnastic rings due to their size and the setup required. However, they are portable and can be set up in a suitable location for a workout before or after a run.


I hope you feel as inspired and excited as I do about adding these rings into your fitness regimen. From personal experience, I can attest to the remarkable impact they’ve had on my strength, stability, and overall physical capabilities. 

Remember, the key to success with gymnastic rings lies in patience, perseverance, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Start slow, focus on form, and gradually progress to more challenging exercises.  The beauty of gymnastic rings is their ability to grow with you, offering endless possibilities for advancement and improvement.

So, grab a pair of rings, find your space, and embark on this thrilling experience of strength and self-discovery. 

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