Tip: The Upper-Body Exercise You're Missing

Add this to your training and boost your upper-body strength, core strength, and even your bench press PR.

Push-Ups on the Rings

As much as I love the barbell, it can be very unforgiving on the joints. So the variety of angles you can get on gymnastic rings (or similar) is phenomenal for the health of your elbows.

When you look at how many different angles of pronation and supination there are, combined with elbow flexion and extension, it only makes sense that these angles have to be explored and strengthened. It's hands-down the best way to avoid an overuse injury.

The strength you'll build on the rings also carries over to all of your pushing movements, including bench and dips. So the ring push-up could be the supplementary exercise you've been missing to smash that personal best you've been chasing.

You'll also build core stability with ring push-ups, and they're certainly more fun to do than planks.

Ring Push-Ups

  1. Set the rings low enough so that performing push-ups is challenging, yet you can comfortably hit 12-15 reps.
  2. Start with your arms fully locked out and externally rotated (palms forward).
  3. Turn your hands inward so that the palms face each other.
  4. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides and start to descend.
  5. Ensure you have a full range of motion at the bottom. Aim to feel a stretch at the front of your shoulders/pecs.
  6. Press back up, maintaining your midline stability, and still keeping the elbows close to the body.
  7. Lock out your elbows at the top. Externally rotate the arms again before repeating your next rep.

When you can comfortably hit twenty reps with the rings quite close to the floor, progress the movement by elevating your feet. These are a great drop set coupled up with bench press. A heavy bench press of five reps with a drop set of twelve ring push-ups is a great way to mix them together. Do three to five sets. With the ring push-up, it's quality AND quantity.

Tom Morrison is a British weightlifting coach, martial artist, and CrossFit trainer and competitor. Tom works with athletes on prerequisite movement capabilities for optimal strength, performance, and reduced risk of injury.  Follow Tom Morrison on Facebook