Movement of the Week #2
I get a lot of questions about the gymnastic rings hanging in the gym. While they are real gymnastic rings, we don’t use them for anything but the exercise of the week.
Exercise: Ring Pull-Ups
Ring pull-ups are a fantastic exercise for increasing max reps of pull-ups. They are also great for anyone who has any elbow pain when performing the movement.
Sometimes trainees can develop “Golfer’s Elbow” or medial epicondylitis from doing pull-ups on a fixed bar.
By doing pull-ups on the rings, it allows the hands (and therefore the elbows and shoulders) to rotate freely while performing the movement. This can help bypass those tricky areas and lead to pain free pull-ups.
Who do I like them for?
I like ring pull-ups for anyone who has a history of elbow pain, or anyone who is missing significant overhead range of motion. Missing the overhead position is what can lead to the increased stress on the elbow.
I also really like ring pull-ups for someone trying to increase their max pull-up reps. The best way to do a lot of pull-ups in a row, is to do a high volume of pull-ups throughout each week. Doing the majority of them on the rings, you will save your joints a little bit so you can train harder.
Remember, doing the pull-ups on the rings are a little harder than doing them with a fixed bar. Keep this in mind if you are thinking about changing over.
How to do it:
Let your hands rotate as they want. A good starting point is to begin the movement with palms away from you (pronated grip) and as you pull your body up, turn your hands towards you (supinated grip). My personal favorite is to have my pinkies facing away from my body at about a 45 degree angle, I can do a lot of reps here and it is comfortable for all my joints. It is also a position that is impossible to obtain while using a fixed bar.
Try to pull your chest over your hands.
Watch for over extension of the neck and don't let you shoulders get close your ears on the bottom.