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I'm getting a set of gymnastics rings soon, and will be modifying my current strength workouts to use them. I'm not at the stage where I should be doing ring dips yet, but from looking at ring push-ups, it seems that the two exercises overlap quite a bit.

Once I'm capable of doing ring dips, is there any point in doing ring push-ups?

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Ring dips and ring push-ups definitely overlap; however, it will be beneficial to continue the push-ups after you able to do dips for a couple of reasons.

  • Dips work your triceps more, while push-ups work the chest more.
  • You will continue to be able to do more push-ups even when you can do dips, so you can start with dips and finish your work-out with push-ups.
  • Variety produces adaptation. Doing both will give you more gains than only doing one.
  • According to Ring Training for Elite Fitness (Tyler Hass), though the two exercises are both "pushes", it is useful to alternate between them. This is because they operate in different planes: vertical (ring dips) and horizontal (ring push-ups).

A progression between the push-up and the dip would be to be vertical and use your legs a little bit for assistance (or get a rubber band to support some of your weight). Also, a similar exercise, which uses your shoulders more and is a progression for ring handstand push-ups, would be raising your legs a little bit above the rings.

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If it's just a difference between difficulty and focusing on triceps versus chest, I'd be inclined to just do the more difficult one and use my ring-pushups time doing something unrelated on the rings. Does that make sense? –  Dave Liepmann Aug 24 '11 at 21:12
    
There is never enough time, so do what you think will get you to your goals fastest. But, when you have cool equipment like rings, I find it's fun to do a variety of movements. If you are looking for the hardest thing you can do, set strict muscle-ups as your goal. –  michael Aug 24 '11 at 21:18
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I'd be inclined to do both, since the upper body positioning for ring push-ups is similar to that in planche push-ups, which are a nice trick. In any case the more internally rotated elbows-in push-ups that are useful on the rings feel quite dip-like.

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If my goal is pure strength and mobility for purposes other than gymnastics, would you still recommend them? I'm not currently working towards planche push-ups and I want to make sure my ring work is as short and efficient as possible. –  Dave Liepmann Aug 26 '11 at 17:44
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My hunch would be that ring push-ups are less essential, but if you plan to do push-ups, consider doing them on the rings. I know set-up and tear-down of the rings may be an issue. –  silasdavis Sep 5 '11 at 18:04
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