Lockdown has affected us all in a number of ways, but one of the most common challenges is finding ways to stay fit without access to the gym.  Of course, there's nothing stopping you from building strength with kettlebells and dumbbells, but these options can only go so far in replicating the benefits of a 120kg hairline! And that's if you can get hold of them: many of these tools end very quickly, for obvious reasons.
Instead of trying to recreate the gym in your own home, you might instead focus on alternative forms of exercise.
Also read: Home Training Plan: Exercise each muscle group with a routine!
A fantastic alternative to think about is a gymnastics ring workout!
Gymnastic rings are affordable, they can be used just about anywhere (as long as you have a bar or tree), and they open many doors for interesting and unique forms of exercise. What's more, gymnastic rings are niche enough that they are largely still available online!
Gymnastic rings – the basics
Gymnastic rings are wooden or plastic rings attached to a material that can be hung from a high anchor point. These tools are used by gymnasts for a variety of incredible things like the Iron Cross and the Maltese. This is what most of us think of when we hear the word, and so many will never consider using them for home training!
Many will not consider using gymnastic rings for home training!
But gymnastics rings can also serve as the perfect way to make body weight training more challenging and therefore more effective.
If you have ever seen suspension bands like TRX in your gym, you have a basic idea of the concept. Suspension ribbons are usually hung from the ceiling and are used to perform elevations, dips, body weights and suspended planks.
Read also: The best home fitness streaming services: Take the gymnastics class to you!
So why choose a gymnastics ring training instead? While the straps usually come from big brands like TRX and cost everything up to a hundred dollars, gymnastic rings are generic and available for significantly less.
Not only that, but gymnastic rings actually provide many more training options. That's because rings, unlike straps, are designed to support your entire body weight. This means that you can now turn off the entire body, rather than just a part of it!
To start using these at home, simply find a tree branch or a pull-up bar that you can attach the rings to. Make sure that both rings hang at the same height and that the support bracket can hold your weight. Then you are good to go! Most rings allow you to adjust the height, which means you can change the angle of resistance and quickly switch between exercises.
Exercise Benefits of Gymnastic Rings
Whether you choose gymnastic rings or suspenders, you will be able to get most of the same benefits. These fall primarily into three categories:
- Increased range of motion
- New range of motion
Increased range of motion means you can move your muscles further under tension than you normally could. An obvious example is something like push-up. By pushing up gymnastic rings you can dip your upper body much lower than your hands. This results in more microtears, more voltage and more time under voltage. In other words? More development!
Increased range of motion means that you can move your muscles further under tension than you normally could.
Similarly, gymnastic rings provide alternatives for exercises that would otherwise be impossible. For example, you can perform a body weight pec fly by leaning in the rings with your arms wide apart and then squeezing them together.
Similarly, suspended rock climbers operate the body in a significantly different way compared to their grounded counterparts.  The inherent instability of gymnastic ring exercises
But the last and most important part of the puzzle is the instability. A gymnastics training session puts you on a surface that wants to spin and move under you. This makes it a challenge to try to keep the body steady as you perform the movements, which in turn involves the "stabilizing muscles" of the shoulders, core and hips.
When performing a gymnastic ring push up, you must engage the shoulders to avoid letting the rings slide out from under you.
When you perform a gymnastic ring you push up, you must engage the shoulders to avoid letting the rings slide out from under you. The goal is to become rigid to keep them in a "stacked" position.
Also read: Best gym equipment: Keep your gainz despite coronavirus
At the same time, you need to engage your obliques (muscles on each side of your body that allow us to bend and rotate the upper body) to avoid the entire body turns as the rings move out of the stacked position under the elbows and shoulders.
The best gymnastic ring exercises
Here are just some of the best exercises for a gymnastic ring exercise:
For all these movements, the rings will be about 50 centimeters from the ground. You can change the difficulty with gymnastic ring exercises by setting them higher or lower.
- Ring push-ups – Perform push-ups with your hands supported by the rings. Use your stabilizers to avoid face planting and dip lower than parallel on the downward movement.
- Tricep Dip – Rest your hands in a lay (fingers away from you) behind you. Keep your heels on the floor and then perform slow, conscious dips to lower the buttocks, bending just at the elbows.
- Rock climber – Go into push position on the floor, but with feet hanging from the rings. Now take the knee to the chest, change sides and repeat.
- Hanging plank – Go into the same position but keep your feet fully extended and try to hold a stable position for as long as possible. Focus on intervening in the core and preventing the spine from sinking.
- Bodies in body weight – Lie on the ground, hold the rings in your hands and pull up against the rings. Lower until arms are straight and then repeat. This should challenge lats and serve as an easier alternative to a pull-up.
- Hanging glute bridges – Lie flat on your back with one foot resting on a ring. Now curl your leg towards you to bring the lower body and buttocks off the ground.
If any of these require more explanation, YouTube and Instagram have covered!
Advanced gymnastics training
As you build your confidence and stability, your gymnastics training can grow with you.
For example, you can start using the rings to support the entire body. You can do this by, for example, performing a full ring erection, which requires that you perform the movement with more rigidity in your core. Tougher is still a ring top, where you rest your hands on top of the rings and then lower your upper body. This should not be attempted by beginners as much control is required to avoid injury.
For those interested in advanced gymnastics steps, you can also experiment with exercises like "the rings showed push-up" (RTO push-up). It's all about twisting the rings as you push yourself to move to a supine position (palms facing away). It puts strain on the bicep tendons. Once you have developed strength in this area, you will be able to dive into even more advanced calist conferences like the Planch.
Your gymnastics training can grow with you.
Various gripes like the false grip open up new possibilities to explore as well, such as the ring muscle up (a true performance of strength and control).
In short, a gymnastic training exercise can be as challenging or basic as you want it to be. It's great for creating nuclear power thanks to its unstable nature, and it's brilliant for making your workouts more fun and varied. Why not try some gymnastic ring exercises?
3 Recommendations for gymnastics rings
Convinced? Check out any of the following rings to install yourself at home. Just remember: gymnastic rings cannot be patented and they are only wooden or plastic rings. In other words, don't spend a lot of money and don't worry too much about your choice!
A pair of wooden gymnastic rings with a smooth texture. You may want to use some chalk if you start, but it is the real experience!
Buy now on Amazon
Fuel Pureformance Gymnastics Ring
Very similar to my own: plastic with light structure for to help with grip.
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PACEARTH Wood Gymnastics Rings
A good compromise solution for gymnastic rings: a smooth wooden ring with an extra grip.
Buy now on Amazon