I really want to start working out with gymnastic rings! But where the hell can I hang them??
We hear this question about a hundred times a day – Okay maybe not that much, but trust me, we hear it A LOT. And many people shy away from the rings for this reason. They just have no clue where to hang them.
It’s a completely valid concern. After all, it’s not always so easy to find just the right tree branch or goal post from which to hang your rings.
But we’re going to answer this burning question once and for all.
Do It Yourself
- If you’re at all handy, this may be the best route to take. A while back, Jarlo, who loves building things, put together a very cool rings frame in his backyard. Obviously, for this method, you’ll need space, patience, and permission to dig up the yard (if you don’t own it), but if you have those three things, you won’t regret doing it this way. Check out Jarlo’s post on how he built his rings frame.
- An even more creative approach is one shared with us by Dan on our Facebook page, accompanied by the following description:
18 ft ceiling. 4 x6 beam lagged into roof rafters. Can hold 3000 lbs. (at least!) Rings attached to beam with ceiling cleat. Using straps from EXF Rings, but prefer wooden rings. S-Buckles are against ceiling cleat. Adjustment buckles are 15′ high. Rings can go from dead hang to floor. Also showing my counterweight system. Like a dream machine, but much more versatile. The counterweight provides assistance, so I can work on muscle ups and crosses (which I can’t do!) Getting close to the muscle-up. Using 25 lbs of counterweight provides 50 lbs of assistance, and I can go from 50 lbs to zero in 5 lb increments. I use a rock climbing harness and paracord, with some swivels and carabiners, and pulleys. Great for working on muscle up transitions and negative reps.
- Mikey Killingback, one of our founding Alpha Posse members, is the best example of someone who won’t let anything get in the way of his rings workout. He lives on a boat for a month at a time and still makes it work! (You can read more about his crazy life here.) Mikey recently put up a permanent rings structure in his home and shared his tips on building your own:
it’s a M12 threaded steel rod. Goes right through to the topside of the roof trusses above the plaster ceiling. A big fat double nut and washer securing it from above, and a lifting nut and delta link down below. Probably strong enough to hang my car from, but I think engineering overkill is important when it’s the only thing saving me from the concrete floor.
Take it Outside
This is probably the easiest option for most people. Almost all parks will have some sort of structure that’s sturdy enough and tall enough to allow you to do just about anything on the rings. Look around for monkey bars, swing sets, or other tall, sturdy structures.
Note: Where I live all city parks have a strict rule forbidding adults unaccompanied by children, which prevented me from using the park option for hanging my rings. (Unfortunately, such rules are necessary these days…) Be sure to check signs so you don’t get fined or anything.
Joe, another one of our fans on Facebook, shared this photo of his rings setup. He makes good use of his kids’ backyard swingset for his rings workout. He actually won a copy of Rings One with this photo in a recent Facebook photo contest we had. (Be sure to like us on Facebook to hear about all our upcoming contests). Pretty cool, huh?
This photo is a personal favorite of mine. Jennifer is stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, and has been working with gymnastic rings for awhile, even while on active duty. What’s your excuse?
Stationed in Kabul Afghanistan our team loves a good workout. One of the group introduced Rings to the workout. A good weather afternoon, our J5 shop went out and did some group Yard Time together bringing out a few more with us to enjoy sets of rings, pull ups, push ups and ab lifts.
Back to Nature
If you feel like there’s nowhere to hang your rings, chances are you haven’t paid close enough attention to your surroundings. There are tons of optimal places all around in nature to hang rings.
Jason found this great spot in Golden Gate Park to hang his rings. Not only is he working out on a sturdy foundation (big trees are generally strong enough to hold one’s bodyweight), but he also gets to do his badass rings workout in an unbelievably beautiful setting.
Sami, one of our seasoned, devoted Alpha Posse members, found a place to hang his rings even in what looks like quite a bit of snow. (Did I mention he’s pretty devoted?) He used this great rings setup to go through Rings One and Rings Two.
We also recently published a case study post on Mikey Killingback, another beloved member of the Alpha Posse. He works on a boat for a month at a time, but still finds a way to work out with his rings. Click here to read more about Mikey’s background and his rings setup.
Keep it Simple
Of course, many people either live in harsh climates (not that that’s stopping Sami!) or simply prefer to exercise indoors. And those people are in luck because there are many ways to hang your rings indoors.
If you already have a gym membership you may as well use it – just stay away from the treadmill! Instead, take advantage of the high ceilings and abundance of pull-up bars and other strong, metal structures to have a ball with your rings. Now, I know a lot of people feel self-conscious about doing their rings workout in the gym. What will people think? Well, for one thing, they’ll probably think you’re pretty awesome (because you are!), and for another, to quote one of our Alpha members,
If your gym is anything like the one I go to then it will be full of people doing free weights/machines with terrible form. You will be far better off doing your ‘strange’ workout!
When Jarlo moved not too long ago, he bid a sad farewell to the awesome rings frame pictured above. But, fear not. Jarlo’s ingenuity struck again, and he found the perfect solution right in his own garage – by hanging his rings from the rafters. James had a similar idea (pictured to the right) so we know this setup works for others too.
A Short Word on Spatial Requirements
What about the metrics of it all?
Well, we recommend finding a space where you can hang your rings 3 or 4 meters (10-13 feet) high.
You’ll want to give yourself enough room (both height and width) to really nail the movements (especially the straight body movements). Also, you’ll want to make sure your straps are long enough to let your rings hang low (when you need them to) so that you can do the pushups, planks, mountain climbers, etc.
For width, 1.5 meters (5 feet) is great, and then you’ll want to set your rings about shoulder width apart, or a bit wider.
You can probably get through Phase 1 and part of Phase 2 of Rings One with a limited amount of space for your rings, but in order to really benefit from the training (and be able to do full body movements on the rings) you’ll want to be sure to find a space that has the space metrics mentioned above.
Priority Numero Uno
If you get only one thing out of this post, it should be an understanding that there are endless possibilities for where and how to hang your rings. You may need to be a bit creative or willing to step outside your comfort zone, but if you have been wanting to get started with gymnastic rings, nothing should stand in your way.
No matter where you hang your rings, your number one priority should be to hang them safely and securely. Don’t just look around for something tall enough to hold your rings – make sure you look for something strong enough to hold your bodyweight safely. The last thing you (or we) want is for the structure you are using to break or move while you are mid-air.
And on that note, I’ll leave you with this video Ryan made about why it’s not such a great idea to hang your rings using a door mounted pull-up bar:
While some people opt to hang their gymnastic rings on a door frame or pull-up bar, we don’t recommend doing so unless the bar is bolted into the door frame, as some are designed to be. When you work with moveable parts, you increase your risk for injury or bad form (which often leads to injury). So, stay safe and have fun!
Get started with our Ultimate Guide to Gymnastic Ring Training for Beginners and then make your way to Rings One and Rings Two. You’ll be amazed by the amount of strength you’ll build.