The secret weapon for a killer abs workout program: Gymnast rings
For your next abs workout program, look no further than the rings. The gymnasts body looks the way it does because of how they train. They’re constantly using their core to keep balanced. And that affects how the rest of their body works, too. Their secret weapon: The rings.
Rings can seem like an intimidating piece of equipment but they’re a great training tool that challenges your core, stability, and overall work capacity to help improve fundamental movements. Plus, you look all kinds of amazing doing the rings. And once you break down the steps, the skills are totally achievable. You got this.
Here are five simple but challenging ring exercises to add to your workouts.
Abs Workout Program On The Rings: Inverted Ring Rows
3 sets, 10 to 12 reps
Want to impress the peeps at your CrossFit class with a pull-up (drumroll) without the bands? Inverted ring rows will help get you strong enough to progress to an unassisted pull-up.
• Grasp the rings. Stand away from where the rings hang straight down, your feet should be hip-width apart. (The closer your feet are to the rings, the steeper the incline and the more challenging this exercise becomes.)
• Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder-width apart.
• Stand tall and maintain a straight line from the top of your head to your feet throughout the row.
• Row your body by pulling the rings towards your chest. Complete the movement by extending your arms and returning to the starting position.
Abs Workout Program On The Rings: Ring Push-Ups
3 sets, 8 to 10 reps
While ring push-ups are a great beginner move (it is a great way to strengthen your way to military pushups), it’s also great for those with a bit more fitness. It targets the core and strengthens the stability in your shoulders.
• Stand in front of the rings, with your feet elevated on a box or bench.
• Holding on to the rings, position your body so that you are in a plank position. The rings and your hands should sit right underneath your shoulders.
• Bracing all your muscles, including your core (draw your belly button in), slowly lower your chest between the rings by drawing your elbows back along your ribs.
• Complete the movement by pushing into the rings to return to plank position with your arms extended.
Abs Workout Program On The Rings: Fall Outs
3 sets, 10 to 12 reps
You know the ab roller? This is kind of like that in that it makes your body unstable to really target your stomach muscles. This abdominal muscle-focused ring exercise increases your shoulder stability as you hold yourself up with the rings.
• Begin kneeling, with your arms straight and the rings in front of your thighs.
• Engage your core (pull your belly button in) and lower your shoulder blades. (what are the hips doing?)
• Extend your arms forward, as you lean into the rings. Go as far as you can or until your body is straight and you are no longer bending at the hips.
• Return to your start position. Take your time, though, as you’ll need to be in control when you bring your arms back to your legs.
Abs Workout Program On The Rings: Pistol Squats
3 sets, 8 to 10 reps per leg
A pistol squat is essentially a one-legged squat. Impressive: Yes. Easy when you use the rings: Not really. Something about how to use the rings.
• Begin with feet shoulder width apart.
• Extend one leg out, lifting it off the ground.
• Using the rings to help keep you up, lower your body into a squat position (as if you’re sitting into a chair).
• Return to the start position by driving through the bottom heel back to lift your body back up to standing.
Core Workout On The Rings: Skin the Cat
3 sets, 6 to 8 reps
Don’t get skittish about this rings exercise because of its name. Skin the Cat refers to traveling through the movement in a “cat position”, aka hollow body position. The movement requires the arms the stay close to the body, skinning the body from beginning to end point position. This rings exercise takes your shoulders through a full range of motion. And that will eventually make you better at as dips and pull-ups. Plus, it’s a great way to start learning basic ring strength and control.
• Begin with both arms and legs straight.
• Point your toes and raise your legs up and over your body until your feel pass between your arms. You end up in an inverted pike position.
• Continue to pass your feet around and down towards the ground until your toes touch the floor.
• Optional: To return to the start position, engage your core to slowly pull your legs back up and through your arms, over your head, and returning to the floor.
About Jennifer Lau
Jennifer is co-owner of FitSquad Toronto and is a highly accomplished personal trainer and holistic nutritionist with 10 years experience in the fitness and health industry. Her passion to empower women has lead her to become a leader in female training. She is head coach of Fit Squad’s all women’s training camp, has given corporate workshops and presentations on fitness and nutrition and can be found regularly contributing to media outlets in the city.