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Jeff Walker

Balancing Rings and Free-Weights

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Jeff Walker
I'm not sure how to balance Rings and Free Weights.  I need some help in creating a good Schedule.  I really enjoy training on both the rings and free weights.  I think they are both important, I just dont know how to combine them in a complimentary way.   While both are important, my long-term goals are in the Bodyweight/Ring stuff like planche, muscleup, Levers, etc.  So I tend to favor the Rings over the weights, I just dont want to stop lifting free weights altogether becuase I feel like weights hits muscles differently, not necessarily better but different and I get a good pump.  

 

While my ultimate goals are bodyweight/gymnastic in nature, I still think weights have their place, I just dont know how to setup a plan to incorporate it while not taking anything away from my Ring Training.  I prefer high frequency.  In order for me to improve at somehting I need to do it alot, so I def dont want to take away from my Ring Training but I do want to work the weights in here and there.  

 

Below is my current Upper Body Ring Routine.  My weight training routine is similiar in structure.   I usually do legs on another day but I could easily add Pistols/GHR to my Ring Routine and could easily add Squats/RDL into my weight training workout if Full Body was the answer.  

 

CCURRENT RING WORKOUT

HOLDS

1) handstands

2) L-Sits

3) FL

4) BL

5) Planche tucked

 

EXERCISES

1) Vert press:   HSPUs on parallettes supersetted with Ring Shoulder stand (Attempt to press/Balance) 

2) Vert pull:      Weighted Ring L-Pullups supersetted with no weight Wide Pullups on Bar

3) Hor push:     Tucked Plance pushups supersetted with Weighted RTO Pushups

4) Hor pull:       Tuck FL Pullup (Rows) supersetted with Tucked Inverted Rows (body more inverted)

5) Elbow Ext:    Weighted dips suprsetted with Wide Dips

6) Elbow Flex:   Inverted Curls (As best as I could do) supersetted with BW curls

 

I thought of a few options

 

1) The most logical way to solve this is maybe do Full Body Rings, off, Full Body weights, off repeat but I dont know if thats enough time ON the rings.  

 

2) Then I thought maybe I could jst favor the Rings in a 2:1 ration.  For Example, I could do Full Body Rings, off, Full Body Rings, off, Weights, off, Repeat.  This way Im still getting the frequency on the rings I need yet still checking in with weights every once a week or so.

 

3)  The other Idea is a Hybrid Routine; one where I have a mix of Weights and Rings.  

 

lastly I feel like there are a few movements that bodyweight/Rings hit very hard and there are others not as much.  For example Biceps usually no direct work and dont get hit very hard, I know they are used in rowing and pulling but I just feel like a weight isolation exercise is better for them specifically.  Conversly, Tris get hit very hard and effectively from Dips.  Another one is Rows.  While Lever Rows are awesome, the rest of the Bodyweight Rowing variations and progressions for the back, arent very hard.  I think good ole Seated or babrell rows have their place here as well.  

 

Thoughts?  Ideas?  I aprpeciate any insight/opinions.  Thanks, in advance!

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Joshua Slocum

If your goals are entirely bodyweight-related, the best balance is to ditch free-weights entirely. From a bodyweight training perspective, freeweights have no place in your every-day upper-body strength training routine. All of the best body-weight athletes, from gymnasts to circus performers, use bodyweight exercises as their maintstay for strength training. 

 

If you enjoy free-weight training and want to continue doing free weights for that reason, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. My suggestion would be to train legs with freeweights and for your upper body switch entirely to body-weight training. 

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Joshua Naterman

That's not entirely accurate, particularly in regards to ring strength, but I don't think this subject is really appropriate given the nature of the OP's strength and workout. He's not at the point where thinking about adding in weight training as a ring strength supplement is a good idea.

 

OP: When you have a solid 5-10s straddle planche AND a good 10+s ring handstand off the straps, you might be ready to entertain some answers, but that's a long way off.

 

I'm not trying to be a jerk or anything, I'm trying to look out for you. Right now, you still need to be working on your basics. How is your Foundation work?

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Philip Chubb

I agree with Hari Seldon. I dropped free weights for the upper body long ago and have made tons of progress. Focus on one thing at a time and use weights to balance certain movements like external rotation.

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Joshua Slocum

That's not entirely accurate, particularly in regards to ring strength, but I don't think this subject is really appropriate given the nature of the OP's strength and workout. He's not at the point where thinking about adding in weight training as a ring strength supplement is a good idea.

OP: When you have a solid 5-10s straddle planche AND a good 10+s ring handstand off the straps, you might be ready to entertain some answers, but that's a long way off.

I am at this point right now. I have not come across the notion that high-level ring strength should be supplemented with free weight work before. Is there any reading on that subject you could point me to please?

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Tyler Gibson

It is very tricky to integrate weights and gymnastics. Both respond well to high frequency, but if you try and do high frequency on both you will quickly get injured. It's true that if you want to master gymnastics skills you should dedicate the majority of your time to those.

 

That said, if you are interested in integrating the two, I think that Jim Bathurst does it about as well as anyone. He is proficient in gymnastics FSPs like planche, front lever, back lever, even a solid one arm handstand, but is also an impressive powerlifter and olympic lifter. I have found the following to be very useful with regard to integration of GST and lifting:

 

http://www.beastskills.com/my-current-training-routine/

 

Realize that although Jim's training integrates the two well, he is advanced in both GST and lifting. This type of program would not be well suited to a beginner so if you haven't mastered the basics, that's where your energy should be.

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