Comprehensive A-Z Gymnastic Ring Guide

Are you looking to get some gymnastic rings and want to do some research first? You came to the perfect place! Here is the comprehensive guide going over all 5 key determining factors before deciding which rings are best suit for you.

 

Material
(Wood vs Plastic vs Metal)

So the first and most important question is what material is best for your gymnastic rings.

The options that exist are:

  1. Plastic (usually ABS plastic)
  2. Wood (usually birch plywood)
  3. Metal (usually steel)

Luckily the answer is very easy.

By far, the best material is wood. Here's why.

Plastic: The only real benefit of plastic is its price, and even then its not much cheaper. Because plastic doesn't have moisture absorbing properties, they add small bumps on the surface to help with the grip. However these bumps are rather uncomfortable and doesn't account for the fact that lack of sweat absorption. You will need to compensate by using a lot of chalk which can actually end up costing more in the long run!

The uncomfortable texture of plastic rings

Metal: It is the most expensive option. It is the most durable, however it is also extremely heavy and not very portable. Lastly, the metal can be cold to the touch depending especially when training in colder climates which is not enjoyable.

Wood: It is the all around winner. It is in the middle regarding price but come out ahead in most other situations. There is a reason the wooden rings are used in both the Olympics and the Crossfit® Games. They have the best natural feel and absorb moisture very well. They may not be durable as metal but can nevertheless last a lifetime if you take good care of them. Lastly they are the lightest option and make them amazing for outdoor workouts.

Strap Width
(3/4" - 1 1/2")

The next feature to consider is the strap width. Straps can come in various thicknesses ranging from 3/4" to 1 1/2" (19mm to 38mm).

Although most straps were initially 1" wide, many slowly started to produce 1.5" straps to promise better comfort to enhance marketability. However in reality there doesn't seem to be much of a difference in comfort. In fact, the 1.5" straps just end up weighing more and take up more space.

At Kensui, we prefer 3/4" straps since they are much lighter and smaller while still being thick enough to hole more than enough weight.

Strap Markings
(Numbered vs non-numbered)

In addition, the straps can be numbered or not-numbered. It never hurts to have numbered straps. Numbered straps help level the two rings easier so that you can set-up and start your workouts faster.

Cam Buckle
(coated vs non-coated)

When it comes to the cam buckle it is always best to opt for the black powder-coated version. This is because they are of much higher quality.

I've personally owned two pair of rings with the cheaper cam buckle and both broke as shown above in the image within the first month. From what I found, they are especially prone to breaking in cold temperatures (less than 15 degrees).

The cheaper version also needs to have the webbing fed in the opposite direction as shown above which is unintuitive to use.

Ring Thickness
(28mm vs 32mm)

There are two thicknesses available. The 28mm (1.1") version with is the ones used in competitive gymnastics and the 32mm (1.25") version used in Crossfit®. Each has its uses.

The 28mm thickness is ideal for pulling movements becuase it is easier to grip. The standard competition pull-up bar is 28mm as well. Most competition deadlift barbells are also 28mm. It is also a good option for individuals with smaller hands such as women and children.

 

The 32mm thickness is ideal for pushing movements because your weight is distributed more evenly on the wider area. You will notice most dip bars are thicker than pullup bars. In addition bench press barbells are 30-32mm. Lastly, the 32mm is better for holding a false grip for movements such as muscle-ups.

So each thickness has its pros and cons, and until now this was a very hard decision to make when choosing the best pair of rings. However we have devised a ring that offers two thickness in one!

 

They are called the NEO-RINGS and should be a no-brainer since you get access to both thicknesses and switching between the two is as easy as spinning the ring.

Conclusion

So all in all the optimal ring depends on your needs. However for most individuals the best option will most likely be dual-thickness wooden rings with narrow numbered straps and a high quality cam buckle.

Check out our Neo-rings if you're looking for the only gymnastic rings that has all 5 of these key features.

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