Gymnastic Rings vs Bar

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Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned to the calisthenics lifestyle, learning the differences between using gymnastics rings vs bar would certainly be of interest to you. Note, first, that in this article, we’re going to give you some information from calisthenics websites, and as well as discuss insights from workout enthusiasts and online influencers for a more relatable, holistic view.

One thing is for sure: rings and bars are useful in their unique respective ways.

 


At the end of this article, we want you to get a better picture on why some people would prefer 
rings and others the straight bar, and we’ll give you our take on it as well.

Two relatively simple training implements, but actually really difficult to perfect.

The gymnastic rings don’t disappoint when it comes to building the strength, stability, and coordination simultaneously. It is a highly effective abdominal and core workout. But so is the straight bar which pushes you further into your fitness regimen.

 

Some noteworthy comparisons

How affordable is it?

The first comparison we’re going to make is how affordable the two are. It’s a deciding factor especially for beginners, and it might sound obvious but the straight bar goes for cheaper compared to the gymnastics rings.

 


The straight bar 
works out best for beginners on a budget, because the stability enables you to progress faster on simple workouts. The rings take longer to get used to but for those who have been doing it a long time, the way it can focus your workouts on specific body parts is certainly a plus.

How convenient is it?

We would say that the rings are worth the investment mainly because it’s portable and adjustable. On the other hand, the straight bar is rigid and adjustable.


Most of the time, rings require
high ceilings for you to maximize your exercises such as the muscle up, because without a high ceiling room, it will serve the same purpose as a straight bar.

What are the specific exercises I can do?

The gymnastic rings vs bar argument might still be quite hazy at this point, but let’s talk about some advice from real people to give you a better perspective.

A Reddit bodyweight fitness submission question read,Is there any point in using the bar or anything else other than rings once I get them? I mean, will ring dips/pushups/pullups always be better to do than the same on a bar or anything else?”

Some of the things we’ve gathered are that first, it was said that muscle ups are easier to do on the rings than the bar because, with rings, one can pull yourself straight through, versus having to go behind the bar. Levers and pull-ups are better on a bar because of the stability it provides.

 


Giving the bar the credit it deser
ves in this gymnastic rings vs bar issue, one contributor shared, It’s fun to play around on bars sometimes. It’s also pretty fun to move a skill that you learned on rings to bars. Levers are so much easier on bars that you’ll be amazed at how much stronger you’ll feel.”

The contributor also added, “Swinging is also much more fun on bars. So while rings are definitely superior in pretty much every way, you can mix it up with bar stuff.”

 

Can it improve my body stability?


“Frictionless Plane Effect”

As Joshua Naterman shares it, “What the rings do is create a “frictionless plane” effect. This is because there is very little horizontal force acting on the rings to keep them in place, which means that your body has to stabilize the joint while also producing enough force to perform whatever movement you are performing.

That requires greater activation of all muscles involved, sometimes to a large degree, especially in the stabilization muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.


“Rings Are More Challenging”

The reason why many people feel that in gymnastic rings vs bar, the rings are more challenging because it takes more effort from your body’s stabilizers to make you perform the exercise. The bar, being as stable as it is, allows your body to focus all its energy and stabilizers into doing the exercise. Less of a toll on your body means making the exercise feel more attainable.

Final Recommendation

Given all that’s been said, we would recommend you invest in buying RINGS. You heard it right!

Your workouts can have increased intensity due to the activation of multiple muscles simultaneously. The fact that it’s adjustable and flexible can target specific areas of your body for more advanced workouts, which we feel is its best advantage. Lastly, rings provide for more natural movement and help avoid straining certain muscles.

We wrote down some very useful tips on buying rings from Bass of SPS Gear and summarized it for you. The three things you need to look at are the webbing, buckle system, and the rings itself.

WEBBING

What you want is that there is zero stretch in the straps, such that when suspended, doesn’t add to the instability that your body will have to compensate for.

BUCKLE SYSTEM

The buckle system should be easy to use and can specifically be adjusted quickly. If you want to reap all the benefits of the portability of the rings, it’s best that they feature quick and easy adjustment, because no one wants the hassle before a workout. The rings featured from SPS gear even have line guides to make sure your adjustments would be at perfectly equal height for both rings.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE RING

You want to thoroughly inspect the construction of the ring. How smooth or how rough and its overall quality to see if it’ll work for you and if it’ll last. Plastic usually gives nylon burns so timber is more recommended. Some people prefer to work with smoother rings and some rougher, so it’s important to get used to what works best for you.

We hope we’ve given you enough to help you pick a side in this gymnastic rings vs bar decision. Remember, there are multitudes of resources for more in-depth information, and  Calisthenics Academy provides a free assessment to get you on board!  

Best of luck and let us know how it works out for you!

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How Mark built his own dip station to master calisthenics skills

How Mark built his own dip station to master calisthenics skills

A while back, I wanted to buy a set of Horizontal bars. But in Canada, their price can be anywhere between CAD $100 and $300.

For example, I looked at the Lebert Equalizer. You can see it in Frank Medrano’s Youtube videos, and boy did I want them! There are other brands and whatnot, but these were the ones I wanted the most.

I priced out how much it would cost to buy them. And because of their price, I started to think, “Hey…Maybe I can make my own!”

And so my adventure to build my own horizontal bar started.

I wrote out a rough plan on how I wanted to build it, inspired by my doorway pull-up bar. The handle is roughly 30 inches for pull-ups, which I figured would be a good size for a horizontal bar.

My goal with my new bar is to get better at pull-ups and horizontal rows, so I used the measurements of my pull-up bar.

The idea was simple.

I wanted to keep it light and movable, while still being strong and solid. I knew I wanted the parts I’d hold to be round.

I played with the idea of making the base out of wood, but that would make it bulky and heavy. So I ended up deciding to use some kind of plumbing pipe instead.

And I was off to the plumbing store!

I went exploring and found some fencing poles, but I could neither find 90s or T-shaped poles here. It was sad, because Fence poles are dirt-cheap (CAD $3 for 8 FEET)

I thought of using copper because it’d look nice, but it was too expensive and way too soft a metal for what I wanted to do. I settled for a black pipe in the end. Many people have used black pipes for their DIY pull-up bars.

I still didn’t know if it’d be stable enough to be a stand, but hey, nothing tried, nothing gained, right?

Also, they were very affordable for me. Not even CAD $2/foot!

Apparently, black pipes are normally used for gas lines. So it’s pretty solid stuff.

As I was shopping at the store, my idea became clearer and clearer. I knew I wanted a bar about 30 inches across, but how high should it be?

I figured 30 inches in height would also be good.

So here’s the list of materials I used after all my deep thinking:

Three  30-inch length black pipes, threaded both sides

Four  8-inch length black pipes, threaded one side

Two  90s

Two  Ts

All 1 inch-wide pipes.

Once you’ve bought the material, have all the ends of the pipe threaded, if it isn’t already.

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This is a threaded screw. The striations on the screw were made by a machine to connect it to the different parts.

When you buy plumbing pipes in a store, they’re not always threaded. So you can pay to have it done in the store, or you can just buy pipes that are pre-threaded.

All that’s left after that is fitting the different parts together! Here’s mine:

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You might be asking, “But Mark, what’s that white tape on it?”

Well! glad you asked.

Lucky for me the local sporting store was closing down, so that tape is Hockey Tape! I got a bunch for less than CAD $5.

The Ts on the feet were making the bar rock back and forth, so I bought caps for the ends, which made them more stable.

Although I didn’t like the idea of adding more weight to it or it being able to stretch floors, metal on a wooden floor doesn’t normally do well…for the floor. So I wrapped the bottom legs to get some grip and stability, with great results.

After a few uses, the tape kind of flattens out and becomes a perfect landing for the bar. I’m sure any kind of grip tape would work just the same.

It was super simple and cost me CAD $50 for all the parts. I’d have saved $15 had I wanted to thread the pipes myself, but I chose to pay for it instead.

Just so you know, most big box stores do that for free.

I chose to make 30×30”, but next time I make them myself, I’ll be fitting them to my height of 5’5” – it’d be nicer if I could reach the bar while laying on the ground, flat on my back.

If you want to custom tailor your horizontal bar, I suggest that you measure your arm length and add 1-2 inches to get a perfect fit in height.

I’d also suggest you use 10-inch pipes for the “feet”. It’ll be a bit more stable than my first creation.

With that said, I love it!

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So that’s my custom built Horizontal Bar.

I’m probably not done making my own custom fitness equipment after this first one! So keep your eyes open, you’ll be seeing more from me.

Also – if you make a second horizontal bar, BAM! you have your own dip station. 

If you want to try building your own horizontal bar and have questions, leave a comment or shoot me a message in the Facebook group!

Make sure you follow Mark on his Instagram and check out his personal site 

 

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Build your own gymnastic rings – step by step guide

Build your own gymnastic rings – step by step guide

If you want to get the most from bodyweight training, you’ll definitely want some gymnastic rings.

What are the benefits of training with gymnastic rings?

They’ll give you a greater range of motion and strengthen your balance. The same exercises you do on the ground will be more challenging and more intense. Ever try a push-up on rings? It’s awesome, and it’s time to get started! This article teaches you the step-by-step process of making your own pair of affordable gymnastics rings so that you can start your training.

Buying fitness equipment from shops can prove to be pretty freakin’ expensive. You don’t need to pay big bucks to get it, though! I’ve made my own pull-up rings, and boy, was it a useful and exciting experiment. The end-product was great and well, it made me proud. It might take more time than buying it ready-made, but the effort was definitely worth it.

It might take more time than buying it ready-made, but the effort was definitely worth it.

The current guide is on how to build wooden gymnastic rings. In the past I did have a go at building one from PCV materials. You can see how it went here. 

Here’s how it goes.

Choosing your rings’ measurements

You need to plan ahead on the size of your rings. Be accurate so that the end product is as close to perfect as you can make it. Knowing your rings’ dimensions ahead means anticipating the thickness of the wood you’ll need, as well as its size before being cut.

Material that you will need

This step-by-step will get your rings at minimum cost. No expensive tools are used the process, but you do need some basic material, such as:

  • Any kind of wood (included salvaged from old furniture) that is:
    • Triplex or multiplex wood
    • Has a thickness around either 15mm or 30mm
    • Board size is at least 30×30
  • Wood glue
  • Sanding paper
  • Jigsaw
  • Clamps (or heavy weights for the gluing process)
  • Acryl-based lacquer

Step 1: Got wood?

If you’re using any random board that fits the requirements for this project, you’re going to need to cut it down to the usable parts. Saw them off and, if the board’s thickness is 15mm, saw it in half so that you can double back and get 28-30mm of thickness for your finished rings. If you need to do this, sand down a side of the board for the gluing process.

 

Cut the board for your Gymnastic rings thickness

Step 1: sanded down board cut in half to get 28mm-30mm thickness

Step 2: Glue ‘em!

This step can be skipped if your board is already approx. 30mm-thick. If it isn’t, glue the sanded side of your boards together with some simple wood glue. If you have wood clamps, use them now to make sure the boards stay together until the glue has dried. You can also use some heavy weights for a similar effect. Let the glue set for approx. 24 hours.

Glue the boards for your gymnastics rings thickness

Step 2: use clamps or weights to keep the boards together until the glue sets

Step 3: Draw like an artist

Draw the inner and outer rings. You can also draw a ring in the center to help you guide the ring’s shaping in the next step. Use the jigsaw (power or manual) to first drill some holes outside of the ring’s drawing so that you can get the blade through.

Cut your gymnastics rings

Step 3: drill holes outside of your ring’s drawings to get the jigsaw blade through

Step 4: Be patient, even artists do tedious stuff

Using wood files, start shaping your rings. Start with the rough and general shaping first, then move on to rounding it all out. You’re almost done, so don’t give up now!

File your rings to make them perfectly rounded

Step 4: be patient and you’ll see a beautiful finished product soon

 

Step 5: Make ‘em pretty and make ‘em long-lasting

If you want your rings to last for the next few years, apply a few layers of Acryl-based lacquer on them. Make sure they’re completely dry and the lacquer’s hard before starting to use them. You can choose to skip this step if you want, but I’d advise you to add some extra protection against the elements and sweaty hands.
Add some straps that hold your weight easily, and voilà! You’ve just made your own set of beautiful wooden gymnastic rings. Congrats for getting this far!

Time to play with your gymnastics rings

Step 5: time to start training!

Now that you have your homemade rings, check out our Guide to Using Gymnastics Rings and start with The Support to start training.

Have you made other calisthenics equipment on your own? Let us know in the comments. 

Also join our Facebook Group to meet fellow athletes who just like you are on the journey to build insane strength, muscle mass, and skills with calisthenics

Source for pictures and content: Instructables

Ab Wheel Progression

Ab Wheel Progression

From Steven Low’s excellent book, Overcoming Gravity, we have decided to visualise and explain a progression which will give great core strength and stability and is built around a piece of calisthenics equipment known as an ab wheel. The ab wheel workout is basically added resistance to a crunch where your bodyweight works against your core.

ab wheel progression

ab wheel progression

Step 1 – Plank (25s)

The plank position is a great way to quickly build core stability. Balance on your forearms and toes while keeping your torso parallel to the ground. Hold the first step for 25 seconds.

Step 2 – Plank (60s)

You may have to re-do the first step a number of times to be able to hold this, but for step 2, to build more strength and stability you must hold the plank position for 60 seconds.

Step 3 – 1 Arm 1 Leg Plank

Your core will now be working in the plank position not only to support the position but to hold balance in this more difficult set up. Plank with your left and on the floor as well as your left leg. This will be a much more difficult position in which to hold a plank position with the balancing responsibilities now resting more firmly on your core.

Step 4 – Kneeling Ab Wheel

This is the first exercise in the progression involving a wheel. Go on to your knees and grip the handles of the wheel with both hands. Allow it to roll forward until your torso is parallel to the ground and then roll back to the starting position.

Step 5 – Ramp Ab Wheel

The extra resistance here is given by gravity putting further strain on your core. Find some kind of ramp of sloped surface and kneel at the top of it. Allow the wheel to roll down the hill until your torso is parallel to the slope and roll back up.

Step 6 – Standing Negative Wheel

Here begins the truly difficult core stuff. Begin in the bottom position of step 4 with your torso parallel to the ground holding the wheel but with the balls of your feet on the floor. Roll backwards with the wheel until you are standing on your feet and bending over while still holding the wheel. Control this movement back to the starting position and repeat.

Step 7 – 1 Arm 1 Leg Wheel

Back to the evil balancing act of step 3. This time hold the wheel with your right hand and have your left foot on the floor. Slowly control the motion down until your torso is parallel to the ground in the previous 1 arm plank position and roll back up. This one will really test your core strength.

There are many other exercises that can be done with an ab wheel. Here are some more examples and variations:

 

Go Back to Progressions.

 

and if you are looking for a proven calisthenic training program then check out Getting Started With Calisthenics

ab wheel progression

ab wheel progression

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