The rings were a tool that I had never thought too much about until last year when I decided that I wanted to do a ring muscle-up. Since then I’ve had my eyes opened to the whole world of training that is possible with such a simple but powerful tool. So much so that they have replaced most of my other upper body work with ring training and I’ve never felt better.
The journey to a strict muscle-up will be a short one for those who’ve been doing strict chest to bar/ring chin-ups and dips with the shoulders going below the top of the ring. Once I had the false grip locked in and a few tips I was able to get a single rep on the first attempt. Since then I’ve taught more than 50 people how to do them including a number of the roosters players. That sense of achievement and shock that you get from your first muscle-up is one that is rarely seen in the gym and can’t be compared to a PB on the bench or squat.
Still the journey goes on and really the muscle-up is the very beginning of ring training! Front levers and back levers are great challenges for all gym goers as are forward rolls, archers chin-ups, German hangs and shoulder stands. Then of course there is the world of cross-fit kipping reps that create a powerful upper body plyometric and complex movement patterns.
As my rings mentor Ido Portal would say “Rings are a door to a whole new world of training.” I walked through that door, I’m glad and I hope I can help you explore that world too.
– Keegan Smith
Strength Coach Sydney Roosters 2013-14