Shoulder Workout

The Rings-only Shoulder Routine


It's no secret that gymnasts have some huge shoulders. This muscle group acts as the fulcrum for some positions applying monstrous amounts of torque on the lever arm. Technically, every workout on the gymnastic rings will hit your shoulders, but this routine will blast them from all angles to make every aspect pop!


Skin the Cat 2 x 4 (slowly)

Skin The Cat Gymnastics Rings

Hang on the rings. With straight arms, bring your legs up and over your head, through your arms, and down towards the floor until you feel a great stretch in your shoulders. Do the movement in reverse to starting point. 2 sets of four reps. If you have never done inversions on rings, lower the rings to eye level so you can support yourself with your legs if needed during the final position. Alternatively, clasp your hands behind your back and raise to get a similar stretch. We are just warming up!


Single Arm Shoulder Lift 2 x 8 (each side)

Single Shoulder Lift Rings

Hang on the rings with your shoulders beside your ears. Activate your right shoulder to pull down with your right arm to raise your chin above your right shoulder. Turn your right hand towards you and look to your right as your chin is raised. Perform 8 reps on each side, then repeat. 


Wall Handstand Push ups 3+ (till fatigue, each side)

Wall Handstand Push Up

Whoa, handstand push ups? It will take you a while to get there, so perform handstand wall walks and handstand holds against a wall until fatigue. Even if you can do a few of the push ups facing toward and away from the wall, still try a hold afterward for the burnout. This is the calisthenics version of the Military Press and is the fastest route to getting your handstand! Make sure something soft is below your head for safety! If you can't do any variation here, don't worry, the next exercise will help you get there.


Assisted Planche Push ups 1 x 10

Assisted Planche Push Ups

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. 


Ring Pike Press 2 x 10

Ring Pike Press

Lower your rings to the floor and take a step back. Bend at the waist keeping your legs straight(ish) and grab the rings, putting your weight on them, but keeping the rings in place, they shouldn't move during this exercise. Bend your elbows slowly, lowering your head to the floor in front of your rings. Straighten your elbows and push to starting position. Lower the rings and bring in your feet to increase difficulty. 


Ring Front Raise 3 x 7

Ring Front Raise

Set rings at chest height. Grab the rings and lean backward until your arms are fully extended, keeping your body straight. Keeping your palms facing down, raise your arms until your biceps are next to your ears. You may have to adjust the ring height and your feet position to set the correct difficulty, as well as accommodating any space restrictions you have.


Ring Reverse Fly 3 x 7

Ring Reverse Fly

Keep everything the same from the Ring Front Raise, only we will be spreading our arms instead of raising them, keeping the palms facing inward. Feel free to have a bend your arms, in fact it would be very impressive otherwise! You may find yourself altering your feet position to decrease the difficulty for this move.


Bulgarian Dips 3 x 7

Bulgarian Dip

Lower the rings down to hip height and press the rings in your hands to lift your body off the ground, using a little jump to help if needed.. Keeping your torso straight, bend your arms slowly until you reach 90 degrees, your elbows flaring out to the side instead of behind you, then press back to original position. If you find yourself having trouble, lower the rings just enough to keep your feet on the ground and slightly assist with your legs. 



If your shoulders aren't fatigued by the end of the workout, remember to adjust your position, sets, and reps to your difficulty, and don't forget to get in our HIIT routines each week to really polish those shoulders!