Straight Bar Pull-ups vs Gymnastics Ring Pull-ups


Today we want to talk about a topic that we get asked a lot about: Pull-up bars vs Gymnastics Rings. If you’re looking for an at-home workout solution that will give you a full-body workout to build muscle and strength, you may be wondering if pull-up bars or gymnastics rings are the better options. Both pieces of equipment have their pros and cons, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you but if you would to choose just one piece of equipment

Pull-up bars vs Gymnastics Rings? Here is the answer:

The short answer is: it depends on what you’re looking for in a home gym equipment. If you want an affordable and versatile option that will help you build muscle and strength, pull-up bars are a good choice. If you want a more challenging workout that will improve your balance and coordination, gymnastics rings are the better option. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of pull-up bars vs gymnastics rings to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Ring vs Bar pull-ups

When it comes to home gym equipment, there are a lot of different options to choose from. Two of the most popular choices are pull-up bars and gymnastics rings. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. So, which one is the better choice for you? In this article, we will compare pull-up bars vs gymnastics rings and help you decide which one is best for your needs.

What are pull-up bars and gymnastics rings?

Let’s first know what the two popular equipment are and the obvious differences between the two are. Door frame from Amazon example.

Pull-up bar

Pull-up bars are a type of fitness equipment that can be used for a variety of exercises, most commonly including pull-ups, chin-ups, and hanging leg raises. Pull-up bars are typically made from steel or another sturdy material and can be mounted on a wall or door frame. There are various shapes and types of pull-up bars so finding a good one that fits your budget and lifestyle isn’t going to be a problem. Gymnastics rings from Amazon example.

Gymnastic rings

Gymnastics rings are circular pieces that originate from the sport… You’ve guessed it, gymnastics. These are commonly used by gymnasts to train their upper body strength and part of their events most known as still rings. However, in recent years, they have become popular among CrossFitters, calisthenics athletes, and general fitness enthusiasts as a versatile piece of workout equipment. People are now maximizing their bodies’ potential through ring training, not just male gymnasts specializing in the equipment.

What are gymnastic rings made of?

Gymnastics rings are typically made of wood, but there are also now plastic and metal variations. In gymnastics, they have a set height, but in a general fitness setting, they come with adjustable straps that can be attached to any stable overhead structure. Gymnastics rings offer a ton of variety of exercises. Apart from the high-level, advanced gymnastics skills, you can also perform the basic pull-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, dips, bodyweight rows, and more on the rings.

Pros & Cons of pull up bars vs gymnastics rings

First, let’s start by talking about pull-up bars. Pull-up bars are a great option because they’re affordable and versatile. You can use them to do pull-ups, chin-ups, and other exercises that target your upper body. They’re also relatively small, so they’re easy to store when you’re not using them.

Pros of the Pull Up Bar:

  • Pull-up bars are typically cheaper than gymnastics rings
  • They’re easier to set up and use, but depend on the model and type of pull-up bar
  • They’re great for targeted muscle-building exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, and straight-bar dips
  • Stability allows beginners to exert maximum force on the bar without requiring stabilization

Cons of the Pull Up Bar:

  • Pull-up bars can be tricky to set up depending on the type
  • You could end up injuring yourself if you’re not careful with the specific exercise you are working on especially for beginners
  • They don’t provide as much of a challenge as gymnastics rings once you’ve mastered the basics. Gymnastics rings, on the other hand, offer a more challenging workout. Because the rings move in all directions, they work your muscles in ways that pull-up bars don’t
  • Fixed nature can be harmful on the joints specifically the shoulder and elbow joints

Pros of the Gymnastic Rings:

  • Gymnastic rings allow you to do more advanced exercises than pull-up bars
  • They require more balance and coordination than pull-up bars, which can help improve your overall fitness level
  • They’re a great option if you want to train for acrobatics or Cirque du Soleil type performances
  • Rings also require more stability than pull-up bars, so they’re a good choice if you want to work on your core strength
  • Free moving rings allow you to perform the pull-up motion that’s best based on your own anthropometrics
  • Pull-up weaknesses are easily more identifiable
  • Rings offer more versatility for other exercises

Cons of the Gymnastic Rings:

  • Gymnastic rings are typically more expensive than pull-up bars
  • They can be difficult to set up if you’re not used to them
  • Depending on the exercise (such as rings dips or pull-ups), rings are not beginner-friendly
  • The grip needs getting used to

Let’s take a closer look at the 3 main differences between pull up bars vs gymnastics rings.

The 3 main differences between a Pull Up Bar vs Gymnastic Rings

👉DIFFERENCE 1: Fixed vs Free Moving

Pull-up bar

Pullups bar

The classic pull-up bar can never go wrong! Pull-up bars are fixed in one position so your grip will also be fixed.

Stability is great for beginners but…

A fixed grip offers stability which is perfect if you want to exert the maximum absolute strength on the bar. For example, you can get better numbers on your weighted pull-ups compared to doing them on the rings. It’s also better for beginners just starting out since you have to worry “less” about stabilization. The downside to this fixed position is that your shoulders and grip will also be fixed. Due to our differences in our own anthropometry, performing exercises in a fixed position could put unnecessary strains on the joints. For example, chin-ups (especially when lacking the overhead shoulder and forearm supination mobility) can lead to elbow pain AKA golfer’s elbow. To learn more about why your elbows hurt during chin-ups, check this article out.

Gymnastics rings

Gymnastics rings are free to move. This means three things:

1. One is that you can perform a greater variety of exercises on the rings than you can on the pull-up bar.

Transitions Box or Low Ring cage to low ring dip

Practicing ring muscle-up transition is easy thanks to the ring’s adjustable straps. For example, you can do pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips on both the pull-up bar and the rings. But on the rings, you can also easily perform push-ups, chest flys, tricep dips, ring shoulder push-ups, ab ring rollouts, tricep extensions, pelican curls, and much more.

2. Two is the high-increase instability which makes a lot of exercises much harder on rings.

Full ring dip

Ring dips are much harder, but can produce better gains! For example, if you have mastered the regular dips on a stable surface, you will still have a hard time learning the ring dip. When doing ring dips, you first need to have the upper body strength and core strength to stabilize first into a support hold position. It’s a far more challenging exercise, but worth all the effort. If you’re interested in learning ring dips (which you should be after mastering dips), check this article out: The Ultimate Guide to Ring Dips: A MUST-HAVE Calisthenics exercise In terms of producing force to perform reps, there’s actually minimal difference in pull-ups DEPENDING on ring strap length. The instability factor on the rings in the hanging position isn’t going to matter much compared to the push-up or dip position. If you massively increased the ring height, then the stabilization factor will play a greater role to control the movement.

3. Three, the free-moving rings allow your body to move in a more comfortable manner based on your own anthropometry.

Full ring dips

Notice the hand twist to adjust the grip orientation. A good example of this is going back to the chin-up progressions. To perform chin-ups, you need a good amount of shoulder flexion, shoulder external rotation, and forearm supination. If you don’t have it yet, then performing this on chin-ups can lead to injury. HOWEVER, when chin-ups are done on rings, you can gauge how much supination and external rotation you can perform. This way, you can still build your back and biceps while not worrying too much about the risk of injuries. Doing ring pull-ups also keeps you more accountable on form since you can easily identify if you’re cheating and using a swing motion or momentum. When you’re swinging too much on rings, it’s better to reassess your form and technique.

👉DIFFERENCE 2. Handgrip

Skin the cat

Skin the cat is another good example of a free-moving ring move that doesn’t restrict shoulder and arm movement. With pull-up bars, you are limited by the types of handgrips you can perform.

Supinated (underhand) grip and the pronated (overhand) grip.

The most common ones are the supinated (underhand) grip and the pronated (overhand) grip. Depending on the bar you have, you can also add a neutral grip as well. Grip width might also be limited especially for door frame pull-ups. So if you’re building up strength for archer pull-ups, you have to look for another option or just build absolute strength first through weighted pull-ups. A standard pull-up bar grip is a good introduction grip for beginners who have limited grip strength at the moment. On gymnastics rings, the circular handles will put a demand on a beginner’s hands. However, a false grip can be learned a bit easier due to the circular handle design. You can also easily adjust the grip style (supinated, pronated, neutral, or a combination of the three) since the rings are free to move.

👉DIFFERENCE 3: Convenience

Pull-up bars are commonly mounted into a specific position. Even if it’s a screw-less type, it’s a bit of an inconvenience to move it around. Gymnastics rings, however, are portable, and can easily fit in a small bag. You can virtually hang them anywhere sturdy to get a good upper-body workout even if you’re on the go. We would say that in terms of pull-up bars vs gymnastic rings, rings are worth the investment mainly because it’s portable and adjustable. On the other hand, the straight bar is rigid and adjustable.

gymnastics rings vs bar convenience

gymnastics rings vs bar convenience

Here is a great summary of the pros and cons of pull up bars vs gymnastics rings:

Pull-up bars vs Gymnastics rings

Pull-up bars vs Gymnastics rings


✊How to use pull-up bars:

Pull-up bars can be attached to a door frame or a tree branch, or you can buy portable versions that you can take with you wherever you go. When you’re ready to start using them, stand with your feet together and hold the pull-up bar with your palms parallel to each other.

✊How to use gymnastics rings:

Now that we’ve covered the basics of pull-up bars, let’s move on to gymnastic rings. Gymnastic rings can be attached to a door frame or a tree branch, or you can buy portable versions that you can take with you wherever you go. When you’re ready to start using them, stand with your feet together and hold the rings with your palms parallel to each other.


What is the cost of pull up bars:

The cost of pull-up bars varies depending on the type you buy. Basic pull-up bars typically cost between $10 and $50, while more advanced models can cost up to $100.

What is the cost of gymnastic rings:

Gymnastic rings are more expensive than pull-up bars, with prices starting at around $50. However, the price can go up to $200 or more depending on the quality of the rings.

gymnastics rings vs bar price

gymnastics rings vs bar price

Which is better for a home gym: pull-up bars or gymnastics rings?🤔

It really depends on what you’re looking for in a home gym. Pull-up bars are a good choice if you want an affordable and versatile option that will help you build muscle and strength. Gymnastic rings, on the other hand, offer a more challenging workout that will improve your balance and coordination. So, it really depends on what you’re hoping to achieve with your home gym equipment. If you can only choose one piece of equipment we strongly recommend choosing gymnastic rings.

How many exercises can I do on pull-up bars vs gymnastics rings? 

The number of exercises you can do on pull-up bars and gymnastics rings is basically the same. Both pieces of equipment offer a variety of exercises that can work your entire body. However, gymnastics rings tend to be more versatile because they can be used for more advanced exercises, such as muscle-ups and handstands. Here are some examples of exercises that you can do on a pull-up bar:

  • pull-ups
  • chin-ups
  • knee raises
  • muscle-ups

Here are some examples of exercises that you can do on gymnastics rings:

  • pull-ups
  • skin the cat
  • muscle-ups
  • levers

🔎What Should I Buy To Get Started?

Gymnastic rings come in different styles, shapes, and sizes. Wooden rings are more expensive than plastic ones. Metal rings are cheaper than either. There are also different types of gymnastic rings. Metal rings work great for pull-ups and dips. They’re also very easy to clean. Wooden rings are much easier to maintain, but they don’t last as long as metal ones. Plastic rings are cheap, but wood ones last longer. Find what works for you.

💥So what is better Pull-up bars or Gymnastics Rings?

Both pieces of equipment are fantastic and very much affordable and accessible. It really comes down to what you want to achieve and focus on. If you’re someone who wants to focus more on ring training, then gymnastics rings will be the obvious choice. For weighted variations, the pull-up bar will do well enough. HOWEVER, we highly recommend getting both if it’s not too much. Both rings and bar can add variety which can further help you improve and prevent stagnation in your fitness journey. Good thing calisthenics doesn’t need a lot of equipment in order to get a highly effective workout! If you still can’t do pull-ups or ring dips, we still highly recommend getting both pieces as an investment. You can still use them progressively even as a complete beginner. For more help, get a personalized calisthenics training program so you can progress safely and efficiently as possible. Begin your PERSONALIZED and ADAPTIVE calisthenics by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your body.