|Ring Training for Powerlifters|
by John Prink
I was asked to write an article related to my powerlifting where the Elite Rings were used as a training aid. I thought I’d offer what I could in the way of my training experience and hopefully segue into how I use the rings.
First, I’ve been training for over 30 years. My experience is in Olympic style weightlifting, powerlifting and gymnastics. When I was a kid I practiced gymnastics quite a bit and got pretty proficient at the parallel bars, high bar, vaulting and floor exercises. I could perform some basic A skill level stuff on the rings, but I was never too proficient at the rings.
Once I got into weightlifting and powerlifting, I pretty much dropped all the gymnastics and bodyweight only exercises. I had to re-develop my training after a near fatal car accident in 1998 which left me with the inability to press weights overhead. For a long time I couldn’t squat either. I damaged some discs in my neck which make many barbell/dumb bell exercises very painful even to this day.
I initially started doing handstand pushups as a means of rehabilitating my neck/back and shoulders. Years of weightlifting and heavy bench presses also left my shoulders very sore and injured all the time. I had rotator cuff problems which caused me to drop powerlifting altogether for about 10 years. After I re-discovered handstand pushups, I also started on dips and eventually weighted dips and chins. Lack of being able to press heavy weights made shoulder training very difficult. Not being able to bench press left me with a weak upper body. I had to do something to regain the strength I’d lost.
I’m always on the hunt for new exercises that do not cause pain. While looking on the internet for exercises to do, I found ringtraining.com, describing the Elite Rings. After reading through the site I decided to give the rings another try. I knew I wasn’t go to be able to do as I had done when I was in my teens and 20’s, but I figured I could try pushups and inverted flyes and the like and since the movements were bodyweight only, I wouldn’t injure myself.
I ordered the rings and liked the way they were made. I attached them to the top of my power rack chinning bar, which is bolted between the uprights. I simply started using the rings for pushups. I worked up to 10 sets of 10 on them and then started including inverted flyes. I noticed that the tendons and all the little muscles around the shoulder joint were getting stronger. I had no more shoulder pain. I then added in jack knifes, and now I’d like to work on the Maltese and maybe an Iron Cross or two.
I’ve begun the preliminary work on the Iron Cross by hanging upside down on my inversion table (another great piece of equipment for those with back and neck problems) and working with DB’s so that eventually I can work into an Iron Cross on the rings.
The Elite Rings were the best piece of equipment I’d used in awhile. Besides healing up my shoulder, I also added some muscle to my entire upper body.
In the Spring of 2005 I started training for the Western States Police/Fire Summer Games. I decided I would enter the push/pull meet and post a total. My goal was to come home with a medal. I ended up winning my weight class, my age division and brought home a gold medal. It was my first ever. Best I’d done in previous contests was a silver or bronze medal.
When I started bench pressing again to train for the meet, I had no pain and my shoulder felt very stable. I dropped the ring training program for the duration of the training I was doing for the meet so as to not overtrain myself.
Since the meet, I started back in with my training of course, but I’ve added ring pushups back into my workout as an assistance exercise. The following is my current training routine. It is by no means the only way to train for power meets but is a very effective method. I typically train 3-4 days a week. I have a very simple split routine where I work the upper body on one day and the lower body the next training day. The lower body routine is either the deadlift or the squat with a few assistance exercises added in. Since this article is related to the bench press I’ll concentrate on that aspect of my training.
Sample Training Schedule:
Monday – Hvy BP
Wednesday – SQ
Friday – Lite BP
Sunday – DL
Tuesday – Hvy BP
Continue on in that fashion.
Hvy Day BP -
Start with the empty bar for 20-30 reps
X weight for 15 reps
X weight for 15 reps
X weight for 10 reps
X weight for 6 reps
X weight for 5x6 reps
Barbell Curls 5x5
Handstand push ups balanced on some old DB’s – sets of 10-15
Rows – 3x10-12
Elite Rings Pushups – 3 sets of 10-15 with feet elevated on a high bench. I concentrate on bringing the hands together.
The Light Bench Press day is virtually the same. The warm-ups are the same however the sets are as follows:
BP - 8 sets of 3 with a fixed weight which is about 30 pounds lighter than the heavy day. I use 4 different grips starting very wide, then bringing my hands in for my competition grip, followed by a shoulder width grip and finishing with a less than shoulder width grip. I then start with the very wide grip again and work back to the close grip totaling 8 sets.
I finish with the same assistance work. I make sure I always include the elite rings pushups at the end of the routine. They never fail to give my upper body that little extra that I felt was necessary. I also finish with barbell side bends, and jack knifes plus roman chair situps and leg raises.
I would recommend the Elite Rings to anyone looking to get an unbelievable upper body workout. Since training with this piece of equipment, I’ve had no shoulder problems or pain whatsoever.
Tyler has put together a nice product. It’s worth a shot for anyone looking for something a little different.
John Prink is the 2005 Western States Police/Fire Summer Games Gold Medalist and competes in Push/Pull Meets, 165 lb. Division, Masters “A” Group (40-44 Year olds).