Tip: You Need to Be Doing Ring Pull-Ups

Here's why, plus how to prevent the most common mistake.

Rings Are Like Dumbbells

Pull-ups done on gymnastic rings allow you to train the exercise comfortably. The rings also test your ability to keep your pull-ups strict.

Using rings in place of a bar is a lot like using dumbbells in place of a barbell. Since the hands aren't fixed in place on a bar, the wrists, elbows, and shoulders can move freely into the most comfortable position. Anyone experiencing wrist, elbow, or shoulder discomfort during pull-ups will find the rings to be a worthy alternative.

The straps that the rings attach to have the tendency to sway. Anyone who's ever attempted ring pull-ups has probably had trouble keeping the rings from moving and their body from swinging. Once things begin swinging, it's nearly impossible to stop. To prevent this, stay strict.


  1. Grab onto a set of rings and perform a pull-up. As you pull, allow your wrists to orient in whatever way feels most comfortable and natural.
  2. Lower yourself down, returning to a hang for your next rep.

The goal is to keep the ring straps as still as possible throughout each set. (This is more challenging to do the longer the straps are.) Swaying straps are indicative of sloppy pull-ups and are sure to disrupt your rhythm.

Cues to Prevent Swaying

  • As you hang from the rings before your first rep, fire your abs, quads and hip flexors. Your legs should be straight and slightly in front of your body. This will keep your rib cage and pelvis neutral, and allow your body to travel through space as one single segment.
  • Don't pull yourself up; pull the rings down. This helps keep the straps taut and forces you to move your body using precise muscular contraction, not momentum.
  • As you return to the bottom, lengthen your body by reaching toward the ground with your toes.
  • If executed successfully, your body won't swing forward. You should be ready to go into your next rep from the same exact starting position.
Drew Murphy is a gym owner and personal trainer located in Tiffin, Iowa. Out of his facility, he trains clients using a wide range of strength and conditioning methods.  Follow Drew Murphy on Instagram