Ring Work for Back Growth

CT, I know you have mentioned you no longer do rings work, but given your positive past experience I thought I’d ask…

If I wanted to throw in (or completely substitute) ring work for hypertrophy would you recommend anything in particular? High frequency lever progression perhaps?

I have access to the rings daily if that makes a difference.

It was not entirely positive. It messed up my right elbow and it can no longer fully straighten out. That led to compensating with my shoulder when bench pressing and then to a shoulder injury which stills prevents me from going really heavy.

Sigil bothered me for years about giving him a ring program for hypertrophy and I always refused. First because I do not consider myself an expert in rings. I dabled with them for about 4-5 months. That doesn’t qualify me to give expert advice. Second, it’s not a tool that I use either with myself or with clients and will not use them in the foreseable future. I don’t give advice on approches I don’t use; I find that intellectually dishonest.


Okay, thanks for answering and your honesty. I didn’t know about all those shoulder issues either

Yep. Although I blame my own excessive behavior for it. I tend to do too much especially when I try a new modality. But I honestly wish I never did ring work.

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INB4 Sigil !!!

Honestly if he ask one more question about rings I will stop visiting my own forum


“Honestly if he ask one more question about rings I will stop visiting my own forum”

That’s hysterical!!!

hey coach hope you’re well just wanted to get your thoughts on rings these days as they are such a poerful tool…how would you use it for hypertrophy in lieu of barbell?


btw your face is super lean these days, cheeks gaunt/hallowed out. is that from keto diet? very shredded look all the time…

btw lonnie if you do go with rings pls let me know your training/log & maybe before/after in terms of physique. pretty curious what you might discover and i’d like to compare with my own experiences.

in terms of a full ring only workout for your upper body checkout killroy template (gymnastic body). very nice way of incorporsating advanced static/straight arm moves with volume/hypertrophy.

i think you’d like it.

a push/pull/legs may also work:
push days start with support holds, followed by planches and iron cross/pulls
finish with cvarious dips/pushups & ring extensions

pull days with front lever/back lever/360’s
finish with rows & chins and scarecrows & curls

just my 0.02

Thanks! Well I got that lean for my photo shoot. For which I was not using a keto diet. It was a traditional “low calories, plenty of cardio and suffer” approach! I was able to sustain it because I had a goal in mind. I didn’t lose muscle but my strength went down and also I kinda lost my passion for experimentation.

I’m a type 2A. The key word for a type 2A is “variety” and the sentence that best describes them is “everything works, but nothing works for long”. When I diet down hard OR when I’m under stress my profile devolves to a type 2B (stress makes your profile move to the right). So when I’m dieting hard I take on 2B properties. The key word for 2Bs is “sensation” and the sentence that describes their training is “they get stronger by gaining muscle”. What this means is they are are designed to be mind-muscle connection work.

So when I diet down I switch from wanting to try everything and change my program every week to doing pretty much the same thing over and over, sticking to pump work.

But the longer you stay away from your natural profile the worse you feel.

My goal now is to stay as lean as I was for the shoot while feeling good again and being able to perform.

The approach I started using was doing the same thing I did for my prep BUT having a cheat day (anything goes) on Wednesdays and a clean high carb day on saturday.

Basically my week looked like:

Sunday: 50g carbs
Mon: 100-125g carbs
Tues: 50-75g carbs
Wed: Cheat day
Thu: 100-125g carbs
Fri: 50-75g carbs
Sat: 250-300g carbs
*Note that this wasn’t keto because my fats were low and protein fairly high.

It worked pretty well BUT I messed things up when my seminars started again. See I took 2 months off of giving seminars to prep in an optimal situation.

Now from September to November I have 6 seminars, 4 of them being far away (Poland, Bahrain, Germany, France). And the traveling and seminar mess up my eating schedule.

Anyway when I got back from Bahrain I decided to experiment with keto dieting, which is what I’m doing right now. Still working the kinks out… because that first week felt really bad. Dropped from 211 to 195 in 4 days! Sure a lot of that was water loss but I felt weak and had no desire to train. But that’s because my overall intake was too low. Hopefully next week will be better.

As for the gaunt face… I always had a small face/head. When I get lean it is even more noticeable.

Hey buddy,

As for right now I’m just replacing one day of the week where I used to do pull ups with a front lever progression. I’m not sure that is enough really, but if it works at all I might add another day.

CTs shoulder problems really gave me pause so I don’t want to push it to he limit right away, but I’m not sure a single day of that will do much. We will see.

I’ve personally seen someone dislocate their shoulder doing ring dips IMO not worth it

Thanks for the advice, that injury sounds like bad form more than an inherent danger in the exercise itself though. The “ring work” in this thread is more along the lines of olympic gymnastics style stuff (progressions of the levers, Maltese, iron crosses) mainly for the back

Smaller & compact guys find ring work exponentiallly easier. I could see how a hulking powerlifter type may just pop something hopping up into front support.

For me I’ve always noticed the thickest (like “juicy” look) with heavy barbell work. I could never get that with rings. Rings would make me leaner, taut, muscle “tense” but it would never be an “expansive” look that I would get from saying doing multiple sets of 3-5 reps on the big compounds.

I don’t even know if that’s water retention or sarcoplamsic & all that jazz. I do know that on a cutting, high protien diet (esp. using EC), doing rings gave me the most shredded look of all.

But it was not big in a shirt kind of look. For me it was to always balance that aesthetic of looking “boyduiblderish” vs. really deflated but shredded look of “gymastics/calisthenics” athletes.

I can pretty positively say that the training plays a big deal. For several weeks I didn’t have access to barbelll and only did rings. I would always get a nice pump and look good while doing the rings. But at rest I didn’t have a “massive” look, and I would say even my abs had less “pop” despite being lean, indicating lower LBM.

The best example is if you look up "advanced " gymnastic/ring athletes, even from the sample on youtube etc. You’lll often find lean, fairly “normal” looking guys with moderate defintion but overall just a skinny, kinda fit look doing plenty of impressive stuff (planches, levers, crosses).

I’ve yet to see a non-massive guy bust out hard reps of 5+ on a compound movment (relative ot his bodyweight) using powerful tension/contractions vs. skill/explosion [o-lifts]

The biggest calisthenics guys I see are either on roids or doing weighted calisthenics. For a time, I tried comibinign weighs with rings. And after all i feel like it kind of defeats the purpose. Rings have that instability component which is supposed to recuirt more motor units. Stragith bar provies stable surface so you can move big weights. Combining weighted calisthenics on rings didn’t really seem to do either one particularly well…

Frank Medrano used to train at the gym I used to train at, he is a highly accomplished bodyweight ring/bar work guy:

He obviously has a “muscular” physique, but I wouldn’t call him big by any stretch. However, he was shredded to the bone almost all the time. The activity he does kind of calls for it. While I think most people would find his look very pleasing, I think I’d still like to do what I can to be a bit bigger than that within my own limits.

not nearly as bad as you think. He wasn’t huge, but was in shape at 220 and was our high school full back. could do probably 20 regular dips on parallel bars. did some on the rings and got into it a little bit, was in the middle of one and he let his elbow flare to much, ring slipped out and he’s shoulder popped out. Obviously and extreme example and this is relatively individual but each person needs to decide if an exercise is worth the reward.

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