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I just received a set of EXF gymnastics rings (thanks, Team Chaos!) and I have a smorgasbord of individual exercises that I'd like to try. However, I don't want to do just a collection of random exercises or individual progressions. I'm looking for guidance on programming a strength routine using rings.

I am currently evaluating books, DVDs and in-depth websites (specifically not just individual YouTube tutorials) that have information on putting together a complete ring training regimen. So far I've found:

What are the best resources I should consult (and buy) regarding how to structure my ring training? The best answers will be those that involve references and personal experience.

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You mention crossfit London, do you live in London by any chance? –  silasdavis Sep 2 '11 at 15:28
    
Unfortunately not. I am in upstate NY. If I were in London I'd check out the gym directly. –  Dave Liepmann Sep 2 '11 at 15:29
    
Have you considered visiting a gymnastics gym? That's kind of what they do. –  michael Sep 6 '11 at 18:01
    
It's my understanding that gymnastics gyms are oriented towards gymnastics skill, which although it involves some overlap, is not the same as using the rings for strength training (as I understand it). If someone wrote up an answer explaining why not going to a gym would cause injury or drastically slower progress, or how I am wrong in my understanding, I would give it serious consideration. –  Dave Liepmann Sep 6 '11 at 18:10
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I have also not come across information on programming structure in my ring travels, like recovery time, what to include in a single session, and what constitutes a balanced progression. The gymnastic bodies site has some good information but it is scattered and buried all over the place. I would heartily recommend the coaching and accessibility of gymnasticswod.com. It's not exclusively ring work, but I think there are some sensible programming examples there. The author is about to add more coaching content too. –  silasdavis Sep 7 '11 at 13:51

3 Answers 3

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+50

As a former gymnast, I recommend that you try a gymnastics gym. This is really the only place you will find true experts on the rings. Although you may worry that the focus of gymnasts might extend beyond just strength, it takes uncommon strength to do even the simplest movements. For example, the ring muscle up is one of most advanced body weight movements in a sport like crossfit, but in gymnastics, it is considered so easy that it doesn't even get scored. Gymnastics coaches will know the correct progressions, and have the correct equipment, to get you to the really difficult movements like the iron cross and beyond.

If you are concerned that a gymnastics gym won't be interested in helping you develop strength without acrobatics, don't be. It is their job to help you meet your goals. You are the boss. Not everyone has the goal of competing, and they know that.

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You might find a floor focus in some adult gymnastics classes, but I have been deeply impressed with how rapidly good personal gymnastic coaching can advance your technique. A good coach can spot the deficits and give you targeted cues (I like this usage, stolen from someone on this site) to get you better quickly. –  silasdavis Sep 7 '11 at 13:48

I am also evaluating TRX, but many of the exercises are geared to the beginner. See this PDF.

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Thanks for the link. –  BackInShapeBuddy Sep 8 '11 at 12:57

I got EXF rings, and so am considering the Ring Training For Elite Fitness (by Tyler Hass) guidebook that comes with the rings. Any commentary on RTfEF (or TRX, or the other resources mentioned) would be welcomed as its own answer or as an edit to this answer.

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