10 Shredding Push Up Variations Using Rings
The instability of gymnastic rings bring several new dimensions of complexity to the classic push up exercise. We selected 10 of our favorite pushing exercises designed to target the chest, arms, shoulders, core, and blast your biggest muscle groups, work towards more difficult calisthenics progressions, and added leg exercises as supersets to really get the blood pumping.
Wall Handstand Push Ups x 3 or fatigue (each side, facing toward and away)
For the beginner, wall walk ups or even wall handstand holds are just as good. Make sure you go until fatigue, a minimum of 3 reps each side. Be sure to have something soft under your head. If you cannot hold a handstand against the wall, try elevating your legs on a chair and holding pike position with your hips over your head.
Super Set: Pistol Squat x 5 each side
Use the rings at each side to assist the pistol squats if necessary.
Feet Against Wall Push Ups x 5 or fatigue
Think of a normal push up, but with your feet against the wall to increase the percentage of body weight you are lifting. You may have trouble pressing your feet against the wall, so walk up a little as necessary.
Super Set: Jumping Squats x 15
Pseudo Planche Push Ups x 10
If you have a resistance band, raise the rings high and tie the band, pulling it down and sliding your feet into the loop and get into push up position. If you don't have a band, just use a chair or platform. Rotate your hands outward 90+ degrees and spread your fingers. Lean forward until your chest or upper abdominal is over your hands. Bend your elbows and perform a push up. Difficulty is scaled by how much you lean, which alters the percentage of body weight lifted.
Super Set: Jumping Split Squat x 10 each
Clapping Push Ups x 10 or fatigue
Get into normal push up position and push upward explosively to come off the ground and clap your hands together. Your wrists will thank you for doing this on an exercise mat or soft surface. If you can't get off the ground don't worry, training the movement explosively will get you there. Keep a straight torso, don't cheat by arcing your back.
Super Set: Split Squat hold 5 sec x 5 each side
Ring Push Ups x 10 or fatigue
Now that you're nice and warm, we lower the rings just above the ground. Clasp the rings and get into a normal push up position. Keep the rings near your body as you lower down, don't allow your elbows to flare out. As you push back up, slowly rotate your wrists until your palms are facing you, bringing the rings together, clinking them at the top of the push up.
Super Set: Archer squats x 10 each side
Hindu Ring Push Ups x 10 or fatigue
Yoga practitioners will recognize initial position as "downward dog". Take a step or two back from the rings and bend at the waist, clasping the rings and leaning your weight into them. Use your ab muscles to keep from pushing the rings forward from their hanging position. Bend your elbows and lower your head in between the rings, turning the rings allowing your head and upper body through. Straighten your body as you continue pushing your body through, arcing your back and straightening your arms until your elbows are locked. The wrists will naturally turn back to their initial position at the apex. You can either go straight into downward dog from here or go through the same movement in reverse for extra work.
Super Set: High Knee Taps x 30 each side
Archer Ring Push Ups x 5 or fatigue (each side)
Start out in the normal push up position with your hands on the rings. Keeping one hand right where it is, lower down with most of your weight on that hand as your other arm slides out to the side, keeping straight if possible. As you lower, turn your head to the side with the outstretched arm. As you push back up, bring the arm back in. To decrease the difficulty, you may have a bend in the outstretched arm or not fully extend it outward to increase the assistance it gives the other arm. To increase the difficulty, keep one arm fully extended as you use the other arm to push up and lower back down.
Pelican/Deep Ring Push Ups x 10
Raise the rings to knee height. A true pelican push up will require the rings to be even higher, possibly hip height with feet raised on a platform, but that is a very advanced variation we are working toward. Start off in the normal push up position, lowering down and bringing the arms to the side as usual. Instead of stopping when your elbows fully bent, we will go even lower, we turn the rings out and slowly press the rings back and out from us. This is likely where you will max out, and that's fine. Bring the rings back in and push back up. If you try to overdo it, you may fatigue and fall forward, so place a cushion below your head if necessary. For the truly elite, continue pressing your chest forward and extending your arms behind you, feeling the burn in your chest and biceps. If your grip doesn't slide, you can perform the movement in reverse and push back up to complete the pelican ring push up. If you aren't there yet, try the full movement from the knees and using the cushion, it will still give a great workout.
Ring Flys 3 x 5 or fatigue
Keep the rings at knee height and the cushion just in front of the rings to protect your head in the event of fatigue. Get into push up position on the rings, but extend both rings out sideways away from your body, keeping palms facing inward and trying to maintain straight arms. It is absolutely fine to bend your elbows as necessary; straight arms are something that needs to be worked towards. Continue until your chest is at the height of the rings or you can't go any lower. If you have the strength you can continue a bit lower, feeling your shoulder blades pinch, to add your back muscles to the mix, but don't overextend. Bring the arms back to initial position. If your biceps run out of steam much earlier than your chest, try holding at your lowest position to target your chest. Raise the rings or get on your knees to decrease difficulty, or lower them to the floor to increase difficulty. Adjust difficulty to achieve 2 sets of 10 reps. Your chest and biceps should be burning!
90 Degree Plus Push Ups x 10 or fatigue
No rings necessary. Get into normal push up position and lower down, but shift your body forward as far as you can upon reaching the floor. Your toes will roll forward and you will notice your wrist under extra strain. Go through the movement in reverse to complete the push up.