Disclosure: This is a professional review blog. Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. All of the products are tested thoroughly and high grades are received only by the best ones. I am an independent blogger and the reviews are done based on my own opinions.
Gymnastic rings are a great way to upgrade your at home calisthenics or body weight fitness routine into a next level, full-body workout. By expanding the number of muscles engaged during exercises like rows, dips, push-ups and pull-ups, using rings will increase the effort you exert, calories you burn, core strength gained and more.
Sifting through the snippets and personal opinions on gymnastic rings Reddit and other websites have to offer can be daunting, so I’ll go over what gymnastic rings even are, the fine details of what to look for and what to avoid, and make some recommendations.
|Vulcan Elite Wood Gymnastic Rings||5/5||Vulcan Elite Wood Rings on Amazon|
|Rogue Gymnastic Woods Rings||4.5/5||Rogue Rings on their website|
|Rep Fitness Gymnastic Rings||4/5||Rep Fitness Rings on Amazon|
|Emerge Gymnastic Rings||5/5||Emerge Wood Rings on Amazon|
Vulcan Strength – the all-around best of the best
Vulcan Strength, as a brand, likes to focus on getting you the highest quality for a competitive price. Their rings, straps and buckles are all of high quality without breaking the bank.
For starters, the rings themselves are quite high in quality. You’ll find that with a lot of generic rings, they’ll use plywood as their base, then machine it down. Plywood isn’t quite as constitute as solid wood, and it shows. The surface might start smooth, but regular wear and tear will cause it to fray and will end up with an exceedingly rough grip, or cause the ring to weaken and break. Additionally, their choice of Hard Birch in particular means the wood is durable, and can stand up to outdoor conditions.
Hardwoods are less likely to warp with exposure to moisture, so they’re ideal for both indoor and outdoor setups. The grain of the wood also allows chalk to cling to the surface, giving you a more comfortable grip, and the nature of wood means you can sweat all over it and it won’t get slippery. Vulcan Strength also makes their rings in 1.11″ (the International Gymnastics Federation standard), as well as 1.25″ (used more commonly for training, since it requires more grip strength to maintain control).
Next come the straps. They’re nothing crazy, standard woven nylon. They do have length indicators in a clearly legible font so you can make sure both rings are hung at the same height. You’d think would be universal among gymnastic rings, but not all generic brands don’t go that far. Where Vulcan chose to set themselves apart is with the width of the straps. At 1.5 inches, they’re slightly wider than those that come with generic gymnastic rings, which lends a bit of extra stability and lengthens their lifespan.
Last thing I need to mention are the buckles. Vulcan uses all metal cam buckles, which is the best option (I’ll go over why later on).
All told, they’re not the cheapest gymnastic rings you can buy, but they’re not the most expensive either. Plus they have top notch quality in all of the components that make up a gymnastic rings set. Click here to check the price.
- Highly durable rings made from Hard Birch, good for indoor and outdoor use
- Graduated numbering on the straps, making it easier to ensure they’re mounted at the same height
- All metal, high quality cam buckles that last longer, are easier to latch shut and hold tight
- 19 ft straps mean you’ll have a ton of excess when setting up in your house, and you’ll likely need to mount them on an existing pull-up bar or other sturdy horizontal surface.
- They come at a premium, being a bit more expensive than generic gymnastic rings
Rogue Fitness – the most versatile rings
Rogue Fitness are a popular brand among crossfitters when they’re including gymnastic/bodyweight training into their routine. Crossfit is about getting the most out of your workout, and Rogue gymnastic rings are designed to let them do that to the fullest extent.
Using Baltic Birch wood, their rings are durable, comfortable and ideal for indoor use. They also come in the 1.11″ and 1.25 inch variants. The manufacturing quality feels nice to the touch. Smooth, while still maintaining the natural wood texture that gives them a solid grip.
They also use top tier straps, with the option for different colors (black, green and tan) for their 16′ straps. They even have the option for 40′ straps, if you’re planning to mount them up somewhere very high. As you should expect with quality gymnastic ring sets, they also have length markers for even mounting. They also come with a built-in Velcro strap to hold the excess strap in place, which is useful when you’re mounting them on a pull-up bar or somewhere that’s going to leave you with tons of excess.
The buckles are solid metal cam buckles. They’re designed to be able to hold the full weight of even a huge person on a single strap, and tend to have a nice smooth texture to them. This means less discomfort when you’re doing ring push-ups, muscle ups, dips and other exercises where the straps will repeatedly rub against your skin.
While they’re one of the most expensive options for wood gymnastic rings on the market right now, they’ve definitely got the quality justify it. See details about the rings and accessories on their website.
- Shorter straps that are easier to mount on the pull-up bars you find at most gyms
- A wide array of useful and stylish accessories, including mounts for your ceiling or top of a door, bags, colored straps and more.
- Precision machined Baltic Birch rings that are durable and comfortable
- These rings, and the many accessories, come at a hefty premium
Rep Fitness – The best on a budget
Rep fitness don’t necessarily shine in any one criteria, but their quality and affordability earned them a spot on this list. They have many of the same features of the others, but at a more affordable price point.
For the rings, they use Baltic Birch as well, and come in 1.11″ and 1.25″ like the others. Sometimes the finish on the rings isn’t great and you’ll have to sand it down to get a smoother grip, but otherwise they’re fairly solid and should last a while.
The straps seem decent in quality as well, but sometimes they can have improper measurements. Some customers report that one foot on one strap is shorter than one on another. Though not everyone has this problem, and are have markings on both the 14′ and 20′ variants.
The buckles are also par for the course, solid metal cam buckles rated for up to 600 lbs. They also have Velcro straps attached to them so you can bunch up and tie down the excess once they’re mounted.
Though there are reports of quality control problems, their 1 year warranty means that they’ll replace a defective set if you get one. If you’re looking for high quality on a budget, I’d definitely recommend this one. Click here to check the price on Amazon.
- Baltic Birch rings are durable and well built
- Solid straps with length markings for ease of mounting
- Full metal cam buckles with Velcro to keep excess strap out of the way
- Occasional inconsistencies with the manufacturing quality
Emerge Fitness – Average, yet above average
Emerge fitness rings have all of the trimmings of top quality home gymnastic rings, but a few of their features stand out. Their motto is that they make the “most secure gymnastic rings” on the market, and they’re not wrong.
Probably the only concession they make is in the specific wood they use, which they don’t really disclose anywhere. Nobody seems to have problems with their build quality, though, as they have a nice smooth finish that has the wood texture for a steady grip.
The straps is where things start to pull ahead. These 15′ straps are rated for 800 lbs, they offer a 100% money back guarantee on them. They, of course, also have length markers for ease of mounting. While sturdy, they do tend to have a rougher texture, so when performing certain workouts where they rub against your skin they can cause slight discomfort.
The buckle is the other half of why their gymnastic ring sets are as secure as they are. This can be confusing for some, since they use a slightly more complicated buckle. Simply put, the Emerge buckles let you can feed your strap through twice for even more stability. Aside from that, they’re all-metal, as you should expect from top tier gymnastic ring setups.
Overall, they offer the same level of quality as premium rings with a more reasonable price, and if you’re looking for a set of rings that’ll last a while, learn more about Emerge rings on Amazon.
- Heavy duty, “military grade” straps guaranteed not to snap
- All metal, “Dual Safe” buckles designed to prevent slipping at all costs
- Overall lightweight set (3 lbs total) that’s easy to take with you wherever you go
- Moderate price for premium features
- Unspecified wood
- Rough straps that are uncomfortable against the skin
Buyers Guide – how to find the best rings for you
As you can probably imagine by now, there’s three main factors you have to think about when shopping for gymnastic rings: the rings, the straps and the buckles. There are, however, a few things to look for and to avoid when shopping for the best equipment for your gymnastic rings workout.
First and foremost, I’ll talk about the thing even the manufacturers often mention first in their marketing. The first thing to consider is the material the rings are made of. This, of course, really depends on where you want to put them. If you’re going to be mounting them indoors somewhere, like your garage using a gymnastics ring hanger, the gymnastics ring stand, a pull-up bar at the gym, or even your living room, then you’ll definitely want your gymnastics rings wooden.
Since you don’t really have to contend with rain, humidity and other factors that can degrade the wood over time, the advantages of wood make that a no-brainer for the ring material.
Wood is light weight, it handles wear and tear better and is more comfortable to grip. Though plastic can be even lighter, they’re often made of PVC molded into a ring, which sacrifices a lot of durability for the lower price and weight. Little dings and stress over time will shape and mold the wood, but not compromise their ability to support your weight. Plastic will chip and crack as it wears down.
While metal rings tend to be more durable and longer lasting, the grip is less secure. Gymnastic rings exercises are very difficult, and you will sweat. A lot. That sweat will invariably end up on your rings. While some plastics can be rubberized or given a textured surface to provide grip, the best they can do with metal is add a powder coating, and even that doesn’t really provide good purchase when your hands are damp. Plus, for both plastic and metal, the surface of the material is just too smooth, and the go to solution for sweaty hands (chalk) won’t actually cling to the surface of the rings.
Wood is the best material. The best balance of durability, comfort and utility of the possible materials used for gymnastic rings.
Next up is the straps. I know what you’re thinking, “a strap’s a strap. If it can support my weight, then what more is there to think about?” Well, I’ve spent entirely too much time looking into the matter, and I can tell you that the straps for gymnastic rings don’t vary much, but when they do things can get pretty bad. There’s plenty of stories across the internet of users having their straps tear or snap mid-workout, while they’re hanging in various awkward positions, only to fall what seems like a short distance and sprain something.
There’s also the fact that you’re likely going to be mounting the rings yourself, and there’s one feature that isn’t consistently found on every strap (except the four mentioned above) that can really make mounting your gymnastic rings a lot easier.
I’m not going to go over how to hang gymnastic rings here, I’m just going to mention that if you don’t hang them at the exact same height, it’s going to lead to imbalance, and balance is one of the main factors of a gymnastic rings routine that really makes it so beneficial for building strength and stamina. The full body engagement of a gymnastic rings workout comes from you depressing your shoulders and holding your body rigid.
Whether it’s pull ups, l-sits, push-ups or whatever, having one ring be even a quarter of an inch lower than the other is going to force more of your weight on to one hand or one arm than the other. It’s also going to mess with your balance. While you’re engaging your shoulders, chest, back, core and even your legs to some extent, a tiny imbalance is going to force you to compensate in weird ways. Not only will that impair your progress, but it can mess with your posture.
When I first started doing bodyweight fitness, I used a rope threaded through a length of PVC because I thought the gymnastic rings diy counterpart was going to be just as good. But as I started progressing through my rows, dips, push-ups and so on, I started to notice some odd back pains in a place that I wasn’t used to getting them.
Turns out the left handle was about a half-inch shorter than the right, and every time I was doing my rows, I would unconsciously tilt my shoulders to the right to balance out the amount of weight I felt on each of my arms. Except my hips were straight, so I was twisting my back awkwardly the whole time.
Paying the premium for quality straps with clear, accurate markings are a small price to pay to avoid a seemingly minor problem.
Lastly, there’s the fasteners/buckles. The best kind of buckle for gymnastic rings is the cam buckle. It has two (or more) slits through which you feed the strap, which is then pinned in place with a toothed clamp. While the teeth on the clamp dig into the strap, a good quality strap won’t suffer. The main reason this kind of buckle is best is because the weight you apply to it will pull on the clamp, tightening it further, making it nearly impossible for the buckle to slip or give out without breaking. This provides a reliably stable strap while still being easy to undo when you need to move or adjust them.
Now, if you plan on mounting and unmounting your rings often, you may want to look into is the carabiner. By stitching loops onto the side of the strap at certain intervals and adding one loop to the end of the strap, this setup allows you to quickly mount your rings on pull-up bars by simply hooking the carabiner through one of the included loops at your desired height.
The main reason I don’t recommend this option is that the added stitching is an extra point of potential failure. The more parts something has, the more ways it can break, and this is no exception. The cam buckle is simple and straightforward, a strap and a buckle. With this option, you’re placing more of your weight on the stitching rather than the strap itself. While they’re often decent quality, I view it as an unnecessary risk.
While we’re on the subject of risk, check out our comprehensive guide to gymnastic mats. When you set up your rings, placing this under them will add an extra layer of safety, just in case you lose your grip and fall. There’s quite a few options on there that are ideal for home use, especially the ones that can be folded and put away.
The Best Gymnastic Rings – Frequently Asked Questions
Are the more expensive rings really worth it?
Absolutely. Given the versatility and lifespan of gymnastic rings for home use, you’ll get way more bang for your buck than many other workout options. Then there’s the fact that they’re portable and (if you get a good set) relatively easy to set up. It’ll allow you to bring all the equipment you need along with you. That way, if you end up working out in strange gyms, you don’t have to worry if they have the right equipment for your routine.
How much should I spend on gymnastic rings?
About 1-2 months of a gym membership. The beauty of a gymnastic rings workout is that they can hit many of the muscle groups you’d need a full gym to get at, and often within just a handful of exercises.
Wouldn’t metal rings be better?
You’d think so, but not quite. If you’re using them indoors, you’re likely going to be warmer, sweat more and they’ll get slippery. A slippery grip is how you get hurt.
If you’re using them outside, that might not be as much of a problem, but even the powder coated metal will begin to rust.
Can I just buy some second hand rings?
Sure, but you don’t know how worn in they are. Good gymnastic rings, when used properly, can last for several years, but you don’t know how long or how well taken care of those second hand rings are.
If you’re just looking to get test them out and want something short term to see if rings are a good fit for your routine, then sure, but don’t expect them to last forever, and don’t push your luck if something seems off.
If you’re looking to use gymnastic rings at home, a good set of wooden gymnastic rings are the best option. The wood doesn’t chip or rust, they’re comfortable to grip, lightweight and long lasting. The brands I’ve recommended also come with great straps and buckles that are guaranteed to last for a while.
How to pick the best home gymnastic rings
If this guide has taught you anything, I want it to be that quality is better than quantity. While there are plenty of very cheap options out there, spending a bit extra can save you a lot of hassle and, most importantly, safely take your workout to the next level.
When choosing your gymnastic rings, don’t just look at the durability of the rings, but the quality and comfort of the grip (which wood provides in spades). The straps should be clearly marked woven/cross-stitched nylon, and they should have all-metal cam buckles. Also make sure to read through the reviews to see if there are any inconsistencies in build quality, or common problems that you want to avoid.
Follow those steps, and you should be all set.
Prefer different features or specific brand of rings? Let me know in the comments down below.