I first learned this exercise when I started the Gold Medal Bodies Rings 1 Phase 1 level B program. And I gotta say it’s one of the hardest exercises I’ve learnt to date! I still can’t do more than 5 reps in a row and am still working on form but its improving with practice!
This move is great as a primer to start learning handstands on the rings. It gets you used to the inverted position by training your neuromuscular system to focus while upside down. Additionally, it teaches you how to raise your hips up backwards slowly and in control. Something most of us neglect when we start handstand training because we usually ‘kick’ our feet up into the air.
Important Points to Note
- Keep your elbows in!
Tuck them nicely in towards your core. This will greatly help with balance and stability. After 4 weeks, I still don’t have the strength or confidence to flare them outwards but with them in, I’m stable enough to focus on my hips and legs
- Keep your knees and feet together
Although I sometimes forget to do this as seen in the videos, by doing so, this helped me to focus on lifting my butt up. All I need to focus on is, “Lift your knees up first!”
- Look up when you’re down!
Sounds like a cliche quote huh? What I mean is to keep your head up and look straight when upside down. I found the moment I did the opposite (i.e. bend my neck and look down), my centre of gravity would start shifting towards the front and I would feel like flipping forwards! I almost did a couple of times! Not a good feeling. To prevent an injury when flipping forward, spread your legs out to the sides so you catch the straps of the rings. Also try to stay composed and don’t let go of the tension in your arms and core!
- Go EASY, 1 rep at a time
By this I mean instead of starting with continuous repetitions, I found that I learnt best by coming off the rings and standing up after each repetition. This allowed me to catch my breath and focus on the next rep. I had more success and a steeper learning curve doing this. I think it also serves as a mini-break for your over-driven central nervous system between each rep!
Having more successful reps also builds up confidence and ‘muscle memory’ that carries onto the next workout.
- Start with the hardest
This may be obvious but if this exercise is the toughest one of your workout, begin the workout with this. When you’re fresh you have higher chances of performing exercises with good form and preventing slip-ups due to fatigue or inability to focus that may lead to injury.
As a rule of thumb, I start all my workouts with the most demanding exercises. These are usually the full body ones that are more ‘power’ or explosive strength focused like burpees or muscle ups.
Additional tips from GMB and Ryan the man himself:
There you have it. Practice makes progress, not perfection. Keep showing up to do the work and in time you’ll be surprised at how far you can go!
Happy Ringing! 😀
My recommended Rings
(both of these are going at great discounts on Amazon now!)