How to Order and Train With Crossfit Rings

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

To order rings, simply search the Internet for olympic style gymnastic rings. Rogue fitness, the official Crossfit supplier has their own brand of rings, which are great and are very durable. There are several brands of rings that exist, and really any brand will work. If you find some that are cheaper, then it probably wouldn't hurt to go with them. The only thing that may force you to focus your search is material.

Step 2

I believe wooden rings are the best. They are lightweight, have exceptional grip, especially after continuous use, and work very well with chalk. There are also iron made rings that are obviously durable, but tend to be heavy and often slippery when gripping unless chalk is always used. The last material is plastic. These are great if you want fairly lightweight, cheap, effective rings. Depending on the brand, they too become slippery at times, but adding athletic tape or chalk prevents that feeling.

Step 3

Once you have your rings, you will need to learn some exercises, and have a good place to use them. I recommend strapping the rings around a stable, sturdy pull up bar at least 3 feet from a wall. Ideally, you want the rings to hang from rafters or framework from the ceiling of a building allowing full open range of movement, but if no ceiling is present, then hanging using a bracket with a pull up bar on a wall will work okay.

Step 4

The following exercises can be used on the rings and are the most common for Crossfit: push ups, dips, muscle ups and handstand push ups. Once you gain some experience, there are much more advanced movements and different branches of each of the mentioned movements, but to gain a solid Crossfit base, we will only discuss the above mentioned.

Step 5

Push ups: performing a ring push up is simply much like using the marketed "perfect push up" equipment you may have seen on some infomercials. To begin, lower your rings until they are about 3 inches from the floor and both are at even length. If you are uncomfortable with the lack of stability in the feeling of the rings, begin by resting on your knees and placing you hands on the inside of the respective rings, gripping them like a handle (thumb inside and fingers around other side). Begin hoisting your body off of the ground to full arm extension If your arms are shaking, it is normal. Your muscles are working to stabilize and adjust to the free swinging structure. To complete a push up, lower yourself as you normally would on a normal ground push up, but instead, internally rotate your hands and arms to that your thumbs are turned to the inside at the bottom of the press. As you extend back to the top, drive up through your chest and externally rotate your arms and hands so you hand is back to the beginning position with rings parallel with your body on either side. Continue the ful twisting and pressing position several times to utilize all pectoral muscles, triceps, and to enhance stability.

Step 6

Dips: A dip is simply the same as a normal dip on v-shaped bars, but with greater need for stability. To begin, raise rings to just above waist level. Stand between the rings and place hands much like the push up. Jump into the rings and attempt to hold you body off the ground with arms extended. If you are unable to do so, then you must continue to practice these holds before moving on, or work with banded resistance or stable dip bars. Once you feel comfortable holding yourself above the rings, lower your body using your arms and lean forward so your head is forward and in front of your shoulders. Lower yourself until the top of the ring touches your chest, or your elbows land at 90 degrees. Then drive through your pectoral muscles and chest while keeping your elbows as close as possible to your body back to full extension. Again,if stability is an issue, use a resistance band or jump into the rings until strength and stability is learned.

Step 7

Muscle ups: These are one of the harder progressions and it takes much time of properly training pull ups and ring dips to build the strength necessary for this movement. An original gymnastic movement, it consists of starting in a full extended position, hanging from the rings. Next, you are to pull yourself up through the inside of the rings and turn your hands over into the dip position, and press out completing a dip. It sounds quite intimidating and feels even more impossible when first attempting this feat, but can be done with practice and training.

Step 8

To begin, utilize a false grip. Until you get stronger and more experienced, a false grip makes it easier for a seamless pull up to dip transition. It is difficult to get used to the grip, but much easier once learned. To start with a false grip, allow the rings to pass along the outer wrist instead of the palm when hanging, but make sure to keep you thumb on the outside of the ring structure. Search for a visual on the Internet. It will be much easier to understand.

Step 9

Once you are able to hold yourself up, create a kipping motion that allows you to lean back and thrust your knees and hips toward the ceiling. As soon as you pop your hips throw your head forward and engage your chest muscles to hold and roll into the bottom of a dip. Then press out the dip to finish the rep. Be careful lowering yourself to the starting position, and slowly reverse your movements to do so. Do no just drop from top position. It will cause shoulder injury from the stress. Although this is simply explained, it is a highly difficult movement to master for consecutive reps. Search for videos on the Internet practicing the other movements like pull ups and dips will further progress the ability to perform the full movement.

Step 10

Ring Handstand push ups: Much like muscle ups, these are a very difficult movement to master. It takes a bit of confidence and great strength and stability to perform this movement without injury. To complete the movement, you are to do a handstand into the rings allowing your feet to rest and wrap around the ring straps. Once stable and extended, you are to lower you body straight down until your nose reaches the top of the rings and then press back out to full extension. Of course, it is important that you can already complete handstand push ups against a wall on the ground before attempting something requiring a much higher level of stability.

Step 11

The easiest way to begin if you are feeling stable is to have a partner guide your legs to the straps and assist you until you manage to independently hold yourself. Once you have gathered confidence, start with the rings lowered to the ground as if you were going to complete a push up. Begin with hands on the inside of the rings and kick yourself upside down into the ring straps. It is important to kick your feet up in a wide position so you do not flip up and go through the middle of the straps! When in position, remember to keep elbows tight to body and slowly lower yourself toward the ground. You should be able tot feel the position of the rings straps acting as the resisting force on your body, keeping you fairly stable. Remember to always learn this movement close to the ground. Trying to complete a hand stand with elevated rings will only create a greater distance to fall.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

-Remember to watch instructional videos. I have only described a brief overview of the the completed movements. -Rings are a great tool for fitness to be completed anywhere and are fairly inexpensive. -Though they seem difficult and nearly impossible to use at the beginning, you must build strength over time. Gaining strength on the rings will make you feel overall stronger and athletic and improve your numbers in lifting as well, especially in bench press. -Always stretch and use band therapy to keep the should joint strong and healthy. A lot of pulling and pushing on the unstable rings can cause nagging shoulder injuries if not taken care of properly on a daily basis. -Try to start learning with a partner before attempting the more advanced movements on your own.

Stuff You'll Need

Brand Product Price
Wooden rings set $72.00

Suggested Further Reading

Author Title Price
New Rules of Lifting $12.82

This Student Author

This Student Author's Background

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

Training with Olympic gymnastic rings has always been a staple of Crossfit exercise. Once practiced and learned, the rings develop incredible strength throughout the upper body, and can also be utilized through the lower body. They have normally been associated with smaller gymnasts and those that seem to effortlessly pull and swing themselves into impossible positions, but even a 200+lb person can gain significant strength and the ability to perform movements on the rings. Since Crossfit is all encompassing fitness, using the rings is an essential piece of equipment for strength, stability and balance. They are also easy to bring on travel and can set up nearly anywhere on a strong structure that will support your body weight.

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