‘Effortless’ might be your first reaction to a gymnast performing with her rings at the Olympics. But the sequence that seems run-of-the-mill is actually a fitness workout that is insanely difficult to perform. Don’t believe us? Here’s former Miss Universe and actor Sushmita Sen training her core with the gymnastic rings, which are also called steady or still rings.
Take a look at this video from her Instagram account.
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In the video, she can be seen pulling herself bottom-up and doing an upside down on the ring.
Here’s one more. Does it still seem easy to you?
To be able to stand motionless with the help of the rings is known to build the upper body and develop core strength. You may feel muscles that you didn’t even know existed until that moment. Training with gymnastic rings is much more intense than a similar move on a static bar. Have you ever noticed how gymnasts have leaner physique? As compared to hours of bodybuilding exercises in the gym for a bulky muscle, gymnastic rings propel shorter workouts that help develop lean physique.
Instability of the rings pushes you harder
Since gymnastic rings can be hung from a ceiling or playground apparatus, they can quickly make even the simplest exercises in the training routine more challenging. Added to it is the inherent instability of the ring that forces the muscles to work harder. You might excel at doing bench dips on the ground, a stable surface, with ease but gymnastic reps on the rings might be more challenging. Same goes for pull-ups on the wobbly ring that forces the body to strive hard to stabilise.
Allows for customised training
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If you are prone to injuries, rings can help you customise the training according to your body’s needs. The distance between the rings and your body (hands and shoulders or legs) can be adjusted to suit you. Besides, since it helps strengthen all the smaller stabilising muscles around the shoulders and elbow joints, training with them on a regular basis helps to prevent common joint injuries.
Adds variety to your routine
The length of the rings can be easily adjusted, which means they allow you to perform a variety of exercises. Shorten the straps for the ring version of the mighty pull-up and muscle-up, drop them down to waist height for L-sits and dips and for push-ups and ab roll-outs, go all the way to the floor.
Rings are portable
Portability ensures that you can carry them anywhere and make for an ideal quick workout. All you would need is a sturdy surface to throw them over like playground bars, a sturdy tree, or even a basketball hoop, and you have an awesome training tool at your disposal.
A big advantage of the rings is the possibility to change one’s grip, which makes certain exercises more effective. For instance, one can switch up the hand positioning by using only one ring and grabbing it on top for an overhand grip.
Here’s the bottomline
*It is a no-no for a beginner who hasn’t advanced from the stable surface practice.
*Instead of jumping to the hardest movement directly, begin with the easy ones which means the straps are closer to the surface. Gradually, one can progress to the harder ones and shorten the strap as the ligaments become stronger and the body becomes more acclimatised to the movement demands.
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