Home Gym Buildout: Gymnastic Rings

Right after you purchase 1-2 pairs of dumbbells, I would recommend adding gymnastic rings (and straps) to your home gym.

Wait, really? Gymnastic rings?

Yes. You’re missing out on tremendous fitness gains if you aren’t using the gymnastic rings as part of your weekly training. They serve the same purpose as a pull-up bar, except they have more utility.

The Value of Gymnastic Rings

With gymnastic rings, you can hang them up high and perform the traditional movements a pull-up bar allows you to do: pull-ups, toes-to-bar, and muscle-ups. Additionally, you can perform levers, hanging L-sits, and tuck maneuvers like “Skin-the-Cat.”

But then you can adjust the height of the rings, something you can’t do with a pull-up bar. If you put the rings at hip-height, you can do ring rows and ring dips. You can also work on I’s, Y’s, and T’s either standing or on your knees. Having the rings at hip height also can help you learn advanced gymnastic movements like the Iron Cross.

Then you can lower the rings close to the floor and perform dynamic push-ups or shoulder stands. Eventually you can get to the point of doing handstand push-ups on the low rings. And then there are dozens of TRX and ab exercises that are possible with the rings just inches off the ground.

What Type of Rings

1.25-inch thick rings that are wooden. Here’s a hyperlink to them on Rogue’s website.

Competitive gymnasts use 1.11-inch thick rings, but I would go with the slightly thicker ones. The 1.25-inch rings are more common in CrossFit and other functional training gyms, so it won’t feel so foreign if you plan to also train in-person at a gym. Additionally, the thicker rings are more durable.

The only time I would recommend plastic rings over the wooden ones is if your home gym is outside. This goes without saying but the wooden rings will get ruined if they’re rained on. But outside of that condition, go with the wooden rings every time. The grip and comfort are superior.

I should also include something about the straps. As a general rule, buy the 16-foot straps from Rogue (you don’t need anything longer). After setting it up in your home gym, you can cut off the excess strap.


The versatility of gymnastic rings makes them an obvious choice over a pull-up bar.

The only challenging part is knowing how to put together a bodyweight training program. Send me a text message so we can talk. I train athletes every day in fitness gymnastics and can give you 30 different workouts to get you started.


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