The Rings-only Back Routine
Actually, this is only half of the back workout. The rest is found on our Pull Up Workout, but save that workout for another day. This routine targets all the oft-neglected areas of your back including your lower flexors, erector spinae, even your glutes. Many of these exercises build towards more advanced calisthenics progressions such as the back lever.
Scapular Pull Up 3 x 8
From the pull up position with your shoulders by your ears, bent knees, and your head looking up, pull down keeping straight arms and raise your chest towards the ceiling. Lower back down, 3 sets of 8 repetitions. We are training towards the Front Lever position.
Inverted Pike Pull Up 3 x 8
From the pull up position, raise your legs up and between the rings until your legs are parallel to the ceiling. You should be looking straight at your knees. Now keeping that form, pull your rear towards the ceiling. If you aren't comfortable with inversions yet, lower the rings so that you start off the ground, preferably with something to cushion your head.
Tucked Front Lever Eccentric 3 x 2 (slowly)
Another inversion, so keep those rings lowered if you aren't comfortable yet. Tuck your knees into your chest and invert, your arms straight and your chest perpendicular to the ceiling. Keeping straight arms and palms facing away from you, slowly roll forward until your chest is facing the ceiling. If it isn't a challenge, try slowly extending your legs out until it becomes difficult. The key is a very slow roll and try to hold at the end. Finish by rolling forward until you are standing again, then invert and go again, 3 sets of 2 reps.
Ring Face Pull 3 x 10
Set rings at chest height, planting feet under the rings. Feet position and ring height can be adjusted for difficulty. Grab the rings with palms facing away from you and lean back until your arms are straight, keeping a straight torso. Pull the rings bending your elbows until the rings are on either side of your head, the rings at eye height. Try to pull until your fists are a bit behind your head, but don't worry if you can't. Remember to keep your shoulders down away from your ears, rotating slowly without momentum. You want to feel your shoulder blades pinch your skin on your back.
Explosive Ring Rows x 10, 8, 6
Lower the rings to where you can barely reach them while laying on your back. Hopefully you have an exercise mat. Lay down with your shoulders underneath the rings and reach up, lifting your back off the ground to reach them. Turn your palms inward and pull your chest quickly to the rings while maintaining a straight torso. Slowly lower back down.Keep your shoulders down and back, making a conscious effort to avoid using muscles in your chest to assist. Each set should have a couple less reps than the last to keep you working until fatigue.
Bridge 3 x 10
No rings for this one. Lay on an exercise mat and bring your heels to your glutes. Keeping your feet in place, thrust your hip upward, lifting your glutes and lower back up off the mat while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Hold and squeeze at the top position. If you don't feel it in your glutes and lower back, correct your form.
Back Extension Y/Ws 3 x 16
Lay on your stomach and spread your arms until your body resembles an Y. Feel free to spread your legs a bit as well. Lift your arms and legs at the same time, arcing your back until you can't lift further. Slowly lower down, then bend your arms to form a 'W' position. Lift arms and legs again just as before. Y,W,Y,W, get it? If it's too easy, hold and squeeze longer at the top, or grab a couple water bottles in your hands and try again.
That does it for the ring only back workout. Don't forget about the HIIT routine three times a week. Throwing some punches are a great way to work out your upper back.