Think gymnastic rings, think ridiculously ripped athletes at the Olympics, or, at the other end of the scale, sweaty PE lesson throwbacks, right? Wrong! There is a middle ground, and gymnastic rings, or Olympic rings as they’re sometimes known, are an affordable and versatile piece of kit that is accessible to all.
Keep scrolling for our edit of the best gymnastic rings to buy now, plus a whole-body workout to get you started.
The Best Gymnastic Rings on Sale Now
In a hurry? Here are the gymnastic rings available to shop now, or see below for our full review.
PACEARTH Gymnastic Rings, £24.99
What are the Benefits of Gymnastic Rings?
We’re willing to bet that if you had to name which athlete has the best all-round physique, a ring gymnast would almost certainly be high on your list. And with good reason: bodyweight training suspended off the floor is perfect for building a functional, aesthetically impressive body.
But that’s not all. Training with gymnastic rings comes with a whole host of benefits:
• Stability - Because there’s no solid ground to push off from, ring movements add a whole new level of intensity, switching on the mind-muscle connection and improving movement quality.
• Upper body strength - Suspended workouts are more demanding on your muscles, meaning you have to call on deeper muscle fibres across your back, chest, shoulders, arms and core.
• Joint health - You’ll be moving your joints through a complete range of movement, improving your mobility and strengthening them against injury. Speaking of…
• Mobility - See your range of motion increase dramatically with regular ring workouts. Most ring exercises employ multiple joints and muscle groups, and many involve rotations too.
• Coordination - Because of the unstable and demanding nature of gymnastic ring training, it helps fine-tune coordination and balance, including incredibly precise, sometimes unconscious movement. Basically, prepare to master your body as one, joined-up machine, rather than working through isolated movements.
• Injury prevention - Because gymnastic rings engage muscles and movements used across many training disciplines, you can expect to boost your performance elsewhere, as well as reduce stress on your shoulders, elbows and wrists, and reduce the likelihood of injuries.
• Train anywhere - Gymnastic rings are lightweight and easy to set up - all you need is a bar or a sturdy tree in your local park.
Do Gymnastic Rings Build Muscle?
You really only need to look at a ring gymnast to answer this question (spoiler, it’s yes), but here’s why: “Most ring exercises are compound moves,” says personal trainer Rory Allen. “They employ multiple muscle groups and joints. Even a basic ring workout will increase the demands on your muscles, as they’ll have to work constantly to stabilise you.”
Because of the extra demands of this double-threat approach, gymnastic rings are an incredibly effective way of building both muscle size and definition on the upper body.
Olympic Rings Gymnastic Workout
Use gymnastic rings to turn everyday strength moves into a test of balance and coordination, hitting the tiny stabiliser muscles barbells ignore. Twice a week, perform the following circuit from personal trainer Rory Allen two to three times, spending one minute on each exercise (if time is tight, do 10-15 reps).
How Much Weight Can Gymnastic Rings Hold?
This will vary from product to product, so always check when buying. However, the standard seems to hover around 600lbs, or 272kg. The load-bearing capacity for the products in our edit below range from 260kg - 498kg.
But that’s only part of the equation - you also need to ensure you attach your gymnastic rings to something strong enough to hold your bodyweight.
How to Attach Gymnastic Rings
To use your rings to their full potential, you’ll want space above and below. Essentially, you need enough room above the rings for your entire upper body, or for the length of your legs if you’re doing inversion work.
If you’re setting them up at home and don’t have enough ceiling height, you can set them up for below the rings exercises only, where you only need to hand them about a head taller than yourself.
After that it’s simple: setting the straps up about shoulder-width apart, thread the webbing over or through whatever you’re mounting your rings on - pull up bar, tree branch, rafter, swing set etc. - attach your ring to the strap and adjust. A quality product will come with clear instructions on how to set them up.
How to Adjust Gymnastic Rings
Most gymnastic rings are fully adjustable thanks to clasps and buckles on the webbing - just follow the instructions that come with your product. You'll likely want to modify the height of the rings regularly, depending on what exercise you're doing, so it's imperative that the rings you opt for adjust easily.
What to Look for When Buying Gymnastic Rings
There are a few factors to bear in mind when shopping for gymnastic rings, and they mostly come down to how you’re going to use them:
• Size - There are two standard sizes: 28mm and 32mm thickness. The former are the standard size for the International Gymnastics Federation and used in gymnastic competitions, while the 32mm rings are often used for CrossFit. Experts tend to recommend 32mm rings if you’re a beginner.
• Material - You’ll find gymnastic rings made from wood, plastic or steel. Wooden rings offer superior grip and comfort - ideal for sweaty sessions. As plastic rings are durable they’re great if you’re training outdoors, while steel rings are also durable but more suited to indoor training as they’ll be cold to touch outdoors.
• Weight-bearing - consider your weight distribution as well as your overall weight. Some products list their maximum weight capabilities per ring, rather than a total sum.
5 Best Gymnastic Rings to Buy Now
Ready to ring the changes? We’ve rounded up the best gymnastic rings to shop in 2022.
Made from sustainable birch ply, these gymnastic rings are as sturdy as they are comfortable. They’re tested for a weight capacity of up to 400kg, and with 4.5m of strap to play with you can move through pikes, pull-ups and rows with ease thanks to the simple adjustment clasps.
Tested to 400kg
4.5m strap length
These wooden rings from sustainable brand Sundried come with quick-locking, one touch adjustable straps, so you can move between exercises seamlessly. They’re easy to hang anywhere, light enough to take to the gym, and can hold an impressive 450kg.
225kg weight capacity per ring
4.3m strap length
Budget brand Decathlon has done it again with these robust birch cross-training rings. Simple buckles let you adjust the length of the polyester strap, they’re easy to set up, and while they’ll withstand the lightest load of the products on this list, 260kg is nothing to sniff at!
130kg weight capacity per ring
4m strap length
One potential downside of plastic rings is a lack of grip compared to their wooden counterparts… enter these clever gymnastic rings from PACEARTH. A threaded design teamed with the complementary anti-skid hand tapes mean you don’t have to worry about slipping during sweaty workouts, plus they use strong, serrated edge buckles to help you feel secure.
Load-bearing capacity up to 1100lbs (498kg)
14.76ft strap length (4.5m)
Another solid birch option, Bulldog Gear’s gymnastic rings are super comfortable, naturally grippy and incredibly sturdy. With strong straps and buckles, they’ve have been tested for loads of over 400kg, and are easily adjusted too.
Tested to over 400kg
4.5m strap length
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