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  1. Kyle West

    Ring Swing Strength Pre-reqs

    For ring swings, what are your opinions on required or adequate strength levels necessary to safely maneuver learning ring swings? Obviously, there are some different levels to this and a lot to consider, but I'm curious what people what other people who have gone through the gymnastics skills and progressions for rings and are familiar with high level ring strength and development think. Ie. What strength is required for each strength level listed below? How many pullups should one be able to do? What kind of weighted pull up and relative strength should you have before you attempt ring swings? How long should your full front and back levers be? Where is your rope climb progression at when one could start? These aren't perfect questions or the end all be all, just giving you all an idea of what I'm trying to get at. Now, I'm sure many of you are going to simply say "When you've mastered all of foundation (past f4), only then can you even attempt rings". I think that's a bit short sided, sure, I would agree that someone who has worked all the way through foundations and the rings programs will definitely be better off, but my point here is more of a hypothetical random thought. Someone doesn't need to spend years going through all of foundation and rings. For instance, I think a person with baseline levels of strength is ok to start doing low level rings swings, like leve 1 (refer to the levels below). That same person could not do high level swings (like ring giants, bails, etc.), but that should be obvious. I realize this might be vague, so let's say for instance you have a 6' 1" male, 25 yrs old, 200 lbs, athletic background, and is getting into gymnastics and wants to learn ring swings. What are appropriate strength levels for him? Lot of variability and factors to something like this, I know answer is always "it depends". Just looking to see what other gymnasts and coaches think and what they'd recommend. level 1: basic swing-body tight, letting the body simply pendulum back and forth to get used to the movement, feet never going past say 30 degrees on each side (front/back swing) from the ring tower uprights. This level wouldn't require much strength at all since your swings at such a low intensity, but I'd want someone with a baseline of pull up/rowing/grip strength. Most people should be able to simply jump up and try these first time though, or just for fun. Level 2: actually starting to learn the rings swing: turning rings out/in, correct body position, maintaining pressure on the rings, etc. Let's say smooth swings with feet/shoulders rising to ring height Level 3: Higher ring swings: high enough to comfortably swing into front and back uprises without arm bend Level 4: Learning swinging skills like dislocates, inlocates, felges, swings to low level strength, etc. Level 5: Being able to consistently accumulate volume on level 4 swings without damage to joints and connective tissue. This is an important distinction: it's one thing to be able to do a smooth dislocate, but that dislocate is still accumulating fatigue and trauma on the connective tissue. No matter how technically sound the swing, the body is still being exposed to several times bodyweight on each swing and this for generally a handful of swings/reps each turn and then taking multiple turns in a session or practice. So, this level can do level 4 swings, but can now comfortable tolerate these swings with volume. Sort of like if you deadlift a 1 RM: yes, you can do it for sets of 1, but doing too much volume is physiologically impossible at this intensity of your max (you can't do 10 reps of your 1 rep max in one set, otherwise it wasn't your true 1 rep max, duh). Level 6: Learning giants/handstand bail swings. This is essentially the highest force the body will encounter WITH SWINGS (for those of you that were gonna mention the amount of torque on the shoulder/elbows in say, a cross, or maltese) and requires much prep over a long time in conjunction with sound swing mechanics and technique. Level 7: able to consistently and safely accumulate volume with level 6 swings without adverse effects (ie. injury, discomfort). Things that affect the strength and prehab required: 1. weight: a heavier/more muscled person will have more force exposed to their body in their swings. This strength will simply take longer to build due to their higher mass. 2. Biological age: all things being equal, an 18 year old will be able to adapt to this stress better than a 60 year old 3. Training age: if someone grew up doing gymnastics, they will have most likely have an easier time adapting than someone who started gymnastics at 25 and is rushing through the skill and strength stages. Most adults don't realize that these kids take years of consistent coaching, training, and skill progression to reach their current level and will try to blow through them all. Makes sense, more time spent doing something, the better they will generally be. You throw enough darts at a board, you're bound to get a bullseye. 4. Injuries: more injuries, more severe injuries will take longer to build/rebuild the necessary strength over time, a highly detrained individual, or some debilitating injuries so severe that they will never be able to do these things, etc. 5. Many other factors of course
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