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Ring Pull-up | Pullup Plateau Buster!

In the fitness world there are essentially two types of weights. Dumbbells and Barbells.

And no one would recommend neglecting either since they both have unique benefits.

In the world of calisthenics, there are two types of training apparatus for pullups. gymnastic rings and bars. Similar to dumbbellls and barbells, the same rule applies.

We recommend pull-ups on both the bar and the rings as they both have their benefits. In this blog post we will go over the benefits and how to best train pullups on the gymnastic rings.

Ring Pull-up Benefits

The ring pull-up as it allows you to turn your hands as you pull.

This has a few benefits.

  1. More comfortable and less injuries

Many people lack the wrist and shoulder mobility to perform a dead hang chin-up on a bar. It can cause stress on the joints and injuries. However on the ring the wrist are free to rotate and there is no discomfort

2. Large Range Of motion (supination on top)

Ever notice your bicep looks bigger if you twist your palm in? That’s because that’s the peak contraction of the bicep.

When you perform on a ring you can twist your hand at the top of the rep to get a better contraction.

3. Promotes good form (no swinging)

On a fixed bar it is easy to get a way with kipping pull-ups. However bad form will result in a lot of swing if performed on rings.

This is especially true if the straps are lengthened.

Ring pull-ups promotes good form where your lower body is kept still and you focus purely on the vertical movement of the pullup using your arms and back.

How To Make Ring Pull-ups More Consistent

In a bar pull-up, the bar acts as a cue to how high up you must pull. Typically that is chin over the bar or chest to bar. However for the ring pull-up, the rings don't provide for much of a cue.

To help make your ring pullups more consistent, one option is to use a resistance band to be the cue. Place the band inside both rings.

Then grab onto the rings while simouetanesouly grabbing onto the band. The band should be taut. The perform the pullup using the band as a cue.

The video below explains this method better.

How to Progress to a Ring Pull-up

Assisted Ring Pullups

If you are unable to perform a ring pull-up, you can use assistance in the form of resistance bands or a partner to help push you up.


Australian Ring Pullups

Another option is to perform Australian pull-ups instead where your legs are on the ground.



Inverted Rig Rows

You can also perform inverted ring rows, which involve using a plyobox to elevate your legs.

How To Make Ring Pullups More Challenging

There are many ways to make the ring pullup more challenging. Once you can perform 12 ring pullups, you are ready to try more challenging variations.

Weighted Ring Pull ups

The first and most common method are weighted ring pullups. You can make them more challenging by adding weight using a weightvest or dip belt.

Archer Ring Pulll ups

Another method to increase difficulty is to perform archer pullups but this is a different exercise all together.

We only recommend this alternative as a substitute if you don't have weights.

False Grip Ring Pull ups

Lastly, performing false grip ring pullups are another way to make the exercise more difficult!

This variation is also provides a nice carry over to the ring muscle up. So if you are trying to master the muscle-up consider this a good option!

Assisted One Arm Ring Pull ups

If you are considering attempting a one arm pullup in the future this is a great accesory exercise to rtry.

You can make the exercise easier or harder based on the number of finger you use on the assisting arm!

Offset Ring Pull ups

Offsetting the ring heights is another way to add some fun and diffculty to your training.

The larger the offset the more challenging the exercise as arm on the lower ring won't be able to pull as much.

Just make sure to switch sides so that you don't end up lop sided like one of those crabs with only one huge claw!

What Rings Should I use for Ring Pull-ups?

If you are interesteed in focussing primarily on your back and biceps we recommend the thinner 28mm rings.

If you are interested in also focussing on grip, then the 32mm thickness will add more activation to the forearms.

We always recommend wooden rings since they offer the level of best comfort.

The Neo-rings which are the 2-in-1 gymnastic rings that have allow you to switch between the 28mm and 32mm seamlessly by turning the rings 180 degrees.

We recommend this for anyone who can benefit from using both thicknesses.

How Often Should I train Ring Pull-ups?

In an ideal scenario where you have access, we believe you should train with rings as often as you train with the bar. However we understand many don't always have access to rings so at a bare minimum we recommend using the rings 20% of the time.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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