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Old 13-Mar-11, 02:54 PM   #1
EliteLift
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Gymnastics Rings and bodybuilding!


Over the last year I have been training with gymnastics rings almost daily for at least an hour at a time. I chose to do this because no matter how I mixed up my regular weight routine, I felt bored of it. Aside from the more technical power-lifting movements I felt unchallenged and stuck.

A year later and I am convinced that gymnastics rings are a top choice for anybody wanting to gain strength and add lean muscle mass while being challenged in a whole new way that is impossible with weights.

I have come back to the weight room a handful of times since I started ring training. My assumption was that I might have obtained a different kind of strength that was not going to help my major lifts in the weight room, but I was very wrong. It only took one shoulder workout for me to realize exactly how much stronger I was in every sense of the word. For example: although I had not preformed a dumbbell military press in months I was able to life a total of 30lbs more than my last attempt and it was just one example of many.

I am now able to hold not only iron cross, but inverted iron crosses, as well as planche, Maltese, giant swings and much more. Not one minute of my training did I say this is boring. I am now at a point where it's something to look forward to so much that I forget it is exercise at all.

anyways I thought I would share my training experience with everyone and I will attach some video of some really cool displays of ring strength.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fuao_2XeZ4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAHS2...watch_response
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Old 13-Mar-11, 02:58 PM   #2
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Here is me attempting an inverted iron cross. As you can see my arms are not completely locked out (straight) and I could lower into the inverted cross position a tad more. Still a pretty good attempt considering the difficulty of the skill and the fact it was the first night I started trying them.


http://i1114.photobucket.com/albums/...g?t=1300046854
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Last edited by EliteLift; 13-Mar-11 at 03:17 PM. Reason: Trouble adding a photo
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Old 14-Mar-11, 08:04 AM   #3
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Hi Elite nice to see you back here.
I just wondered if you was pumping heavy iron would you be able to lift more than the 30lb after 1 yr ? i think yes.
Althought the rings is awesome and takes alot of power to hold these poses there will be a limit to the growth that would stop sooner than with lifting iron.
But i give you this, that man has very powerful deltoids and lats to hold that pose
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Old 14-Mar-11, 02:11 PM   #4
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Hey bodyshop thanks for the reply. First off, I don't think you fully understand the potential of the rings for strength. most of these guy have not only stronger deltiods than most bodybuilders, but much stronger lowerbacks and abs.

when I stopped weight lifting I was already lifting very heavy loads and had been for so long my progress was slow.

My dumbbell military press went from two 65lbs dumbbells at a body-weight of 155lbs all the way to two 80lbs dumbbells from not doing the exercise once in several months..

And you're right that man holding the pose in the rings does have strong deltoids. I should after all know as it is me in that picture.... believe me though, there is a lot more than shoulder strength holder me up.

You seem to doubt the potential strength gains one can accomplish with rings, but I doubt you have actually spent the time to try rings or even really know much about them. I am a certified personal trainer and a level three artistic gymnastics coach.. from my experience the gymnasts are always way stronger, way more cut, with way more functional strength. so don't knock it until you try it

I recommend a book called "building the gymnastics body" written by coach summer, an Arizona junior international gymnastics coach. very respected and knowledgeable.

Here his website: http://www.gymnasticbodies.com/forum/index.php there are lots of really cool resources so check it out.
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Old 14-Mar-11, 07:00 PM   #5
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Hey, thanks for showing your new routine. I don't really have access to a set of rings, but it looks like amazing.
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Old 15-Mar-11, 07:09 AM   #6
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Elite, There is a question, if the rings are so good why dont top muscle champes use them ? because a 350lb muscle man could never use the rings like a gymnast.
I grant you in every way the rings will give strength and size but it had limits to building a gymnast, not a builder, so i think we are both correct but got wires crossed.
Again nice to see you on the forums
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Old 15-Mar-11, 02:25 PM   #7
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you're right Bodyshop, rings are skill based workout tools witch basically means ones ability to hold certain poses will determine how effective the rings can be. There is no doubt someone who is a 300 + pound monster is going to have lots of difficulty compared to the 150 - 220lbs guy.

That being said, how many people are 300lbs + genetic monsters? well I'm not sure but not very many...

for average guys like you and myself and the skinny kid who cant seem to add that extra 10lbs of muscle he has been working on forever, I believe rings impose a much larger physiological demand on the entire body. The results are much faster adaptation.

Like I said before, if you really want your doubts to be answered you should read "building the gymnastics body".

Here is a free E-book link to download the book via torrent: http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/5621295

Hey 2dumb2quit, thanks for the feedback. Rings are actually a very basic easily made training tool. you can buy a pair or rings for around 70.00$, or you could make your own for next to nothing. heres a video on how to make homemade rings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V8C-fOP5c4
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Old 15-Mar-11, 07:06 PM   #8
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Ring workouts look pretty tough. Not something I'm up to trying at this point...but interesting to see.

The Crossfit guys and gals include rings in their workouts and they are all about strength and fitness as opposed to raw power and muscle size.

Gymnasts do have great physiques. Very strong and muscular. They also look really good. Gymnastics workouts and ring workouts wouldn't I believe build the amount of muscle that bodybuilding will build, much like a bodybuilding workout wouldn't build the kind of body or physical ability that a rings workout would give. Different goals = different disciplines to get there.

I can see where someone who is looking for the best size, strength, fitness results combined would combine elements from each and move into a stronger, fitter direction...

Thanks for sharing making us aware of this, and perhaps motivating someone who will include this in their own training to give it some thought.
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Old 16-Mar-11, 04:29 PM   #9
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Well all I can say is that rings have been far more productive as a means of staying in shape and building muscle than strictly lifting weights for myself. Hopefully someone here will see this thread and be interested enough to use the resources I provided to get started.

.V., cross fit workouts do incorporate rings into there workouts, but I have yet to walk into a cross fit gym and see even one person who can press into a handstand, yet alone maltese or iron crosses. This means the potential strength and hypertrophy benefits of using the rings are largely lost.

for example you might see some of the cross fitters attempt a muscle up... but you will never see someone doing crossfit do this..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tr_-...layer_embedded

I agree gymnasts are not as big a professional body builders like Ronnie Colman or Jay Cutler... seriously though who want to be that big?
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Old 16-Mar-11, 04:32 PM   #10
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here are a few picture of ring gymnasts. They look like accomplished bodybuilders to me yet they don't lift any weights.
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Old 16-Mar-11, 07:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by EliteLift View Post
. but you will never see someone doing crossfit do this..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tr_-...layer_embedded

I agree gymnasts are not as big a professional body builders like Ronnie Colman or Jay Cutler... seriously though who want to be that big?
Nor will anyone ever see me attempt it either. Not that I could...or would ever hope to come even close to that kind of physical ability

There is no doubt about the strength and physical ability involved, nor any question about the muscle building potential of it...however, in line with what BodyShop said, if it COULD build Olympia kind of muscle...then guess who would be doing it? Coleman, Cutler, and the like... if it builds more muscle, then they want to do it.

All that said, it is rather impressive and it will certainly give you strength and muscle along with a high level of fitness...so by all means, keep it up and thanks for sharing this with us. I'm quite impressed.

Keep the info coming, perhaps start a rings training journal. This is after all, discuss fitness not discuss bodybuilding, discuss powerlifting, discuss olympic lifts, discuss running, etc...
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Old 21-Mar-11, 03:37 PM   #12
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Thanks V, I will keep the info coming, maybe make a partial gymnastics conditioning log too.

I want to point out that you do not have to be a competitive gymnast to make huge strength gains with rings. V, you could use the rings no problem. In fact rings are great for gaining shoulder mobility, realignment of the back and correction of muscle imbalances that lots of weightlifters tend to develop.

Here are some basic ring strength routines that any average person could learn as first steps to much harder skills:

Basic ring strength 1* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EKWh...eature=related
Basic ring strength 2* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFdz0...eature=related
Basic ring strength 3* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwnbE...eature=related
Bulgarian Dips - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mKyr...eature=related
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Old 23-Nov-12, 05:41 PM   #13
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Ive been doing "traditional weightlifting" in the gym for years but recently Ive started doing more and more ring work and other gymnastics and Im at a point where I would gladly make a full transfer to doing only ring training and other gymnastics for strenght & hypertrophy.
But, being new to the game I dont really feel competent enough to throw together my own program, there seems to be so many new things to keep in mind making it alot different than throwing together your standard gym split...
Im in the midst of wducating myself though and currently reading "building the gymnastic body". But it doesnt really seem like the author recommends someone new to gymnastics to go straight into ring training? And from what I can see theres not really a clear program outline in the book? So Im just wondering if you would like to post the routine you used?
Being in the middle of "educating myself" to get to the point where I have the knowledge to create my own ring training/gymnastics program I could really use some help with some kind of pre made program to follow...
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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