10 Best Gymnastic Ring Exercises for Strength & Balance w/ PDF

Rings are great workout equipment for gymnastics exercises. They provide a full range of motion and help develop your overall fitness, such as strength, endurance, and ability to control body movements.

Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, if you want to scale your fitness to the next level, you can incorporate some of the best gymnastic ring exercises into your workout plan.

10 Best Gymnastic Ring Exercises for Strength and Mobility

  1. Ring Pushup
  2. Ring Row
  3. Ring Dips
  4. Ring Handstand Pushup
  5. Ring Muscles up
  6. Ring Pullups
  7. Ring Plank
  8. Toes To Ring
  9. L-Sit on Rings
  10. Front and Back lever

You can do these workouts in the garage gym or at home (if you can set up rings). The ring exercises aren’t limited to gymnasts or cross-fitters; anyone can do them, from athletes to regular fitness enthusiasts.

1. Ring Push Ups

Ring Push Up

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Muscles: Chest, Shoulder, Triceps, and Abs
  • Force Type: Push

Benefits

Ring push-up is an excellent workout to develop strength, balance, and upper body composition. It strengthens multiple muscles simultaneously, such as the chest, shoulder, triceps, and core, and helps maximize pushing movements.1 Calatayud, Joaquin et al. “Muscle Activation during Push-Ups with Different Suspension Training Systems.” Journal of sports science & medicine vol. 13,3 502-10. 1 Sep. 2014

However, the ring pushup is challenging and requires decent strength and stability. So before doing it, you must be good at performing the traditional push-ups on the floor.

How-to Steps

  1. Firmly grasp the ring with palms facing each other.
  2. Extend your legs behind and keep only the balls of your feet on the ground.
  3. Unlock your elbows, straighten your arms, and keep your body in line from head to heels. That’s the start.

2. Ring Row

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Target Muscles: Back, Shoulder, and Biceps
  • Force Type: Pull

Benefits

The ring row is a beginner-level ring exercise. It simultaneously engages several upper body muscles, such as lats, traps, posterior delt, and biceps. It improves grip strength and mobility and helps you scale up for pull-ups and muscle-ups.

How-to Steps

  1. Position the rings set shoulder-width apart and firmly grip them with your palms facing each other.
  2. Keep your arms and legs extended so your body forms a straight line from head to toe.
  3. Brace your core and pull your torso up until the sides of the chest touch the rings.
  4. Pause for a moment and return your torso to the start. That’s one rep.
  5. You can also start from a less horizontal position and complete the needed repetitions.

3. Ring Dips

Ring Dips

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Muscles: Triceps, Chest, Shoulder, and Abs
  • Force Type: Push

Benefits

The ring dip is one of the advanced upper body workouts. It is a part of calisthenics training. It helps develop strength, mobility, muscle coordination, and functional fitness.

It works on many muscles simultaneously, such as pecs, anterior delt, triceps, and core, and helps build a toned and muscular physique.

How-to Steps

  1. Set the rings at a suitable position and stand between them.
  2. Grip the rings firmly and hoist yourself off the floor with your arms straight and locked.
  3. Bend your elbows, dip down as far as possible, and extend your arms entirely. That’s one rep.
  4. You can also use a backpack or weighted vest to make this move harder.

4. Ring Handstand Pushup

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Target Muscles: Full Body
  • Force Type: Push

Benefits

The handstand pushup is an elite-level bodyweight workout. It works on the various throughout the body, especially the shoulders, lats, core, and arms.2 Kochanowicz A, Niespodziński B, Mieszkowski J, Marina M, Kochanowicz K, Zasada M. Changes in the Muscle Activity of Gymnasts During a Handstand on Various Apparatus. J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jun;33(6):1609-1618. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002124. PMID: 28700510. It improves balance, stability, and body awareness and helps build muscular endurance and functional fitness.

However, form and technique are crucial to performing the handstand pushup on rings efficiently. Moreover, you must be excellent at floor handstand pushups first.

How-to Tips

Above is the video demonstration of how to perform handstand ring pushups. Here are some additional tips:

  • Wrap your legs around the straps of the rings with your knees slightly bent.
  • Keep your spine as natural as possible.
  • Keep your entire body stable and tight throughout the movement.

5. Ring Pull Up

Ring Pull Up

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Muscles: Back, Biceps, and Abs
  • Force Type: Pull

Benefits

The pull-up is one of the best bodyweight exercises that add strength and definition to upper body muscles. It works on lats, biceps, and core and builds a defined body.

Doing pullups on rings ramps up pulling strength, stability, balance, and functional fitness. It also helps scalp various gymnastic ring workouts, such as muscles up, toes to rings, and front and back lever.

How-to Steps

  1. Set the rings to an appropriate position and grip the ring.
  2. Lift yourself off the floor and hang onto the bar with straight arms. That’s the starting position.
  3. Perform as many pull-ups as needed.

6. The Strict Muscle-up

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Target Muscles: Integrated Full Body
  • Force Type: Multi-movement (Pull-Push)

Benefits

Muscles up is an advanced multi-movement exercise that includes pushups and dips. It works on various muscle groups, such as the back, arms, core, and shoulders, and significantly builds muscular strength, balance, functional fitness, and athletic performance.

How-to Steps

  1. Grip the rings with straight arms and hang onto them.
  2. Pull yourself up, and as the side of your chest reaches close to the rings, lean your torso forward and extend your elbows until your arms are straight.
  3. Keep your body close to the rings throughout the movement.

7. Ring Plank

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Muscles: Shoulder, Triceps, and Abs
  • Force Type: Isometric

Benefits

The plank is one of the best core exercises of all time. It forges the abdominal muscles and enhances muscular endurance. It looks pretty simple but requires decent strength and stamina to hold your body in an isometric position for a few minutes.

Depending on your fitness level, you can do different types of plank on rings, but starting with the standard ring plank will be good to go.

Performing a plank on rings not only solidifies your core but also improves grip strength and your ability to hold your body weight in an unstable position.

How-to Steps

  1. Set the rings to a suitable position and grip them firmly.
  2. Extend your arms straight below your shoulders and legs behind you.
  3. Brace your core, maintain a neutral spine, and hold in that position for as long as possible.

8. Toes To Ring

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Target Muscles: Abs and Arms
  • Force Type: Pull

Benefits

To have a bullet-proof core, you need to do some advanced abs workouts; toes to ring is one of them.

Toes to Ring is an excellent workout for improving overall body functionality, such as speed, strength, balance, and muscle coordination.

It works on several upper and lower body muscles, primarily the abdominals, and helps thicken six-pack abs.

How-to Steps

  1. Set the rings to a few inches above your height, grip them tightly with straight arms, and stand upright beneath them. That’s the start.
  2. Brace your core, inhale, and raise your legs in front of you until your toes touch the rings.
  3. Keep your legs and arms straight throughout the movement.

9. L-Sit

Gymnastic Ring Workout

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Target Muscles: Abs and Arms
  • Force Type: Isometric

Benefits

L-sit is a simple but effective isometric abs workout. It engages and bolsters many muscles, such as the rectus abdominis, biceps, and back, at the same time. It also helps scale up your other gymnastic ring movements.

How-to Steps

This exercise needs no stepwise instructions on how to do it. You can understand it by looking at the image itself. However, you can keep specific points in mind while performing L sit, for example – 1. keep your body as stable as possible in the L position, and 2. your legs should be straight and together and your core tight during the entire movement.

10. Back Lever

About Exercise

  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Target Muscles: Full Body
  • Force Type: Multi-Movements

Benefits

The back lever is a superior gymnastic workout that enhances functional fitness, strength, muscle coordination, and mobility and scales your fitness to the next level. However, it is challenging and requires a great deal of control.

How-to

See the above video demonstration on how to do the back lever on rings.

20-Minute Gymnastic Ring Workout Routine

Monday

Do as many rounds as possible. Time cap – 20 minutes.

  • 20 Ring Rows
  • 20 Ring Pushup

Tuesday

AMRAP in 30 minutes

  • 10 Ring Pullups
  • 10 Ring Dips

Wednesday

AMRAP in 20 minutes

  • 20-30 sec L-Sit on Rings
  • 10 Ring Muscles up

Thursday: OFF

AMRAP in 20-minutes

  • 10 Handstand Pushup
  • 10 kipping pull-ups
  • 1-2 min Ring Plank

Friday – OFF

Saturday

AMRAP in 20-minutes

  1. Back lever
  2. Toes To Ring
  3. Ring Muscles up

Sunday – OFF

Download The Gymnastic Ring Exercises PDF

References

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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