Does aerobic training (cardio) help a 4-minute gymnastic rings performance?

In Overcoming Gravity Steven Low argues that an Olympic artistic rings performance is around 4 minutes, the same time as the world record for the mile. The mile is strongly influenced by aerobic capacity, so a 4 minute rings performance would be too (to a lesser extent).

This seems really dodgy reasoning to me (the sports have many differences), so I'm asking the question here. Would cardio help a 4-minute rings performance?

2 Answers 2


This is one of those you can prove by example.

The book is right, what it refers to is "conditioning" which is a method by which you increase your aerobic capacity to enable you to workout for a short interval and a very high intensity.

This is not immediately obvious for someone who spends time either learning movements or doing reps and sets at the gym. 4 minutes is a long time to be moving your entire body for, especially whilst doing controlled breathing. You can see at the Olympics that athletes are breathing heavily after a rings performance.

To try it for yourself: Do 4 minutes of burpees. Go at a comfortably slow pace (1 every 2-3 seconds) and try to keep that pace for the entirety. The movements aren't the same as the rings but the process is. You are moving reasonably slowly but because your entire body is being used you need more oxygen, your breathing increases.


Incorporate your legs in doing ring work--i.e., picture "cheating" on pull-ups, ring dips, ring push-ups by using your legs to help complete the movement. So, instead of 10 strict pull-ups in classic form, you are now doing 20-30 cheat pull-ups. The heart rate accelerates and this type of workout uses all the muscles of the body as in cross country skiing. The idea is accelerated heart rate, not personal records set with these type of calisthenics.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.