In my last article (CrossFit Journal 67, March 2008), I talked about ways to scale down CrossFit workouts for beginners by using rings. This month we will be scaling up the difficulty of workouts for advanced athletes. There is absolutely no limit to how hard things can get on the rings. (There are a few moves in the Olympic gymnastics repertoire that even the best ringmen in the world cannot do.) So there are plenty of ring exercises available to endlessly challenge the non-specialists as well. Here are a few ideas on how you can scale up workouts by using rings.
1.Improve your technique.
Just doing the "most correct" version of even the basic ring exercises can boost the difficulty quotient considerably. If you are riding the straps on your ring dips and muscle-ups, then you are not getting the full benefit, or challenge, of the rings. The whole point of ring training is to work in a frictionless plane. If your arms are braced against the straps, then you are introducing friction and support. Using proper technique and keeping your arms off the straps instantly makes these exercises about 20 percent harder--and more beneficial.
2. Try ring push-ups.
In any workout that calls for regular push-ups, try substituting ring push-ups instead. Lower your rings to just above the floor and do push-ups while gripping the rings, with your toes on the floor. (Or, elevate your feet up to the level of the rings on a box, stack of mats, or what-have-you. Rings increase the depth you can get in the bottom of the push-up, just as parallettes do, but the instability factor makes them even harder. As mentioned above, don't ride the straps!