4 Exercises for Core and Shoulder Stability (Gymnastic Rings)

January 12, 2018 by VAHVA Fitness

Intense core and shoulder workout with gymnastic rings! Bodyweight only and scalable for beginners. 

Gymnastic rings are a fantastic tool for bodyweight training. They allow you to do pull ups, dips, push ups and many other exercises.

Here we have demonstrated some intense core and shoulder strength and stability exercises. The exercises are scalable - the higher you set the rings the easier the exercises will be.

Gymnastic rings are inexpensive and effective. The only downside is that they are far more advanced than many think.

Pull ups, inverted rows and ab rollouts are good to go for beginners, but the exercises like ring dip and ring push ups should not be attempted before the basic versions have been mastered.

This is because the pulling exercises are not really much harder on gymnastic rings than on a regular bar, but the pushing exercises like the push ups and dips are ten times more challenging.

You may think you have mastered the basic push up, but it's very rare to see a properly done push up. In a case like this the gymnastic rings won't make the exercise more effective.

We have seen it time and time again with our own training and clients that the best results happen when you pick a basic exercise and focus on improving the quality of your repetitions. 

Training style that focuses on quality is not good for the ego, but it's very good for the body. 

There comes a point when the unstable nature of the gymnastic rings becomes useful with exercises like push ups and dips, but it will take a long time to reach that point.

We are only now reaching a level where rings become useful, despite the fact that we have been able to use them for a decade.


ab roll-out for abs rollout

Ring ab rollout is a gymnastic rings variation of the regular ab wheel rollout, except the requirements for shoulder stability are a tad higher.

The rollout will work the abs, but also the shoulders. Your deltoids and trapezius muscles need to stabilize extra hard to maintain a good stable posture.

Your hips should remain locked, the core should be tight and the back flat. If you feel the movement strongly in the lower back, then your abdominals aren't properly engaged.


ring plank arm extensions

Superman thrust is a special variation of the ab rollout which focuses more on shoulder strength and stability although the core is also intensively present.

In the superman thrust you are doing freestyle arm movement with your arms: you can move them unilaterally forward and backwards, sideways and even do circles with them like you were swimming. 

This will not only engage the deltoids, but also the chest and neck muscles. The upper body has to work on stabilization extremely hard.

The important cue is to stay within your limits and always focus on staying in control. Stabilization is control and you should never feel like you are losing control of the movement.


one arm plank on gymnastic rings

Single arm plank on gymnastic rings is one of the hardest core stabilization exercises you can do and probably the most demanding plank variation. It's important to master the regular single arm plank before attempting this exercise.

The easiest variation is to do the single arm plank with spread legs which will give you more stability.

Narrow leg placement will make the single arm plank harder instantly, because you will have to fight the rotational forces and there will be less support to provide balance. 

Not only the abs need to work hard, but now even the obliques face demanding challenges. Obviously the shoulder stability has also been taken to the next level.

The hardest variations is to lift one leg off the ground and start balancing and stabilizing the single leg-arm hold. It doesn't get harder than this.


ring push up for abs and shoulders

A basic push up is a challenging core and scapula stability exercise when it's done right. When you do the push up on gymnastic rings, all the demands have been elevated.

The basic push up and even the incline push up is the perfect exercise to master the correct body stabilization. Not many can do the incline push up correctly.

Eventually the gymnastic rings can be used to add further instability and to make further progress. 

It's very easy to do many repetitions with a poor form, even with a lot of external weight, but a fully stabilized ring push up with a great form is a rare sign of beauty.

As you probably already know - it's not how many repetitions you can do but how well you do them.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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