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My Top Ten List of strength elements on rings


David Nguyen 418903
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David Nguyen 418903

Rings provide the smallest surface area for contact in calisthenics. The most difficult elements on rings uses the least amount of connective tissue through the hands, arms, and shoulders for lifting and the most amount of primary, large, and core muscles for stabilization.

 

10

From a hang, straight arm pull to victorian cross

 

9

Zanetti, back lever to maltese

 

8

From arm rings support, press to either reverse planche, reverse straddle, handstand, or inverted cross without piking.

 

7

Standard grip, straight wrist, straight arm, rings turned out iron cross elements

 

6

From a hang, straight arm pull into reverse planche, reverse straddle, or manna/pike reverse planche, all done with straight wrists with rings turned out

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David Nguyen 418903

5

Start from a pike reverse planche/high manna, press and open into handstand or inverted cross. Lower body must remain above the rings. A manna to inverted cross with the lower body dropping below the rings is similar to V-cross to inverted cross and not on my Top Ten List

 

4

Start from a wide arm false grip front lever, pull to standard grip straight wrist iron cross

 

3

From a hang straight arm pull to pike high manna, press forward and open, moving the body backwards into handstand or inverted cross. Lower body must remain above the rings. This is a pike variant of the most difficult element on the list.

 

2

A 360 pull into inside out hang, press forward into handstand or inverted cross. It can also be done in pike, with skin the cat, from a German hang, press forward and open into handstand or inverted cross

 

1

Start from a hang, straight arm pull through victorian cross into straight body high manna, pressing forwards and shifting backwards into handstand or inverted cross, while keeping the lower body above the rings

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David Nguyen 418903

Element number 1 (code name Superfly) starts with the lower body in the lowest possible position, and ends with the lower body at the top positions. The Superfly can be done dozens of different ways, based on athletes preferences and/or goals. It can start with a pull to parallel reverse straddle or reverse handstand and everything in-between. Then, pressing to below parallel inverted cross or all the way to handstand. Each combination can technically be a new element, based on angles used to complete the movement.

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David Nguyen 418903

WARNING 

Element number 4 (code name impossible-cross or cross-possible) is the only element on the list that is considered dangerous. It is dangerous for same reason an “impossible” is NOT a hold in gymnastics.

Element number 4 requires the lower body to stabilize while lowering, at the same time the upper body is lifting. It is done as a slow muscle-up, and not an element that is safe to power through. 

DO NOT train this element, I will not be responsible for lower back, hip, and possibly spine injuries. The nickname impossible-cross is used to deter athletes for training it, cross-possible can be used by those developed enough to train it.

Front lever to iron cross is both dangerous and extremely difficult.

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  • 2 weeks later...
David Nguyen 418903

How was the muscle-up invented…

Was someone doing a pull up and decided to end at the bottom of a dip…or was someone doing a dip and decided to lower down to a hang?

If the strength element known as a “muscle-up” starts from a hang, and ends in rings support, which position makes it difficult; support from a hang or support from above?

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David Nguyen 418903

Every hold on rings represents a certain amount of stored energy. Even from hanging support, the shoulders retract in order to support the body’s weight.

When discussing the difficulty of strength elements on rings, it is important to evaluate the amount of stored energy within first hold and the energy requirements to reach the next hold.

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David Nguyen 418903

Element #2 replaces the “elevator” on rings and starts from the second lowest position, German hang. The lower body and core must lift above the rings while the shoulders and head remain beneath the rings. The easiest way to achieve element #2 is to figure out element #8(rings support to handstand without pike passing through inverted cross).

Elements 1 and 2 represent a front ward and back ward movement from a hang to handstand. 

They are without a doubt the most difficult strength elements possible.

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Victor A MOUCLIER

Number 1 seems scary lol

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  • 3 weeks later...
David Nguyen 418903

My intention for posting this list is strictly for educational purposes. The list opens up the door of possibilities for athletes that have achieved every hold in calisthenics. By giving them angles that are damn near impossible to achieve. But it’s important to stress that one has ever achieved a muscle-up by only doing dips and pull-ups and no one will ever achieve a Superfly by only doing butterflies and presses to handstand.
 

Due to workload requirements of the Superfly and the 360-elevator(elements 1&2), it would be difficult to imagine an athlete competing with these elements. The most difficult G elements aren’t worth the risk of poor execution. Especially when an athlete can butterfly pull to manna/pike reverse planche instead of a Superfly and get the same difficulty points without ever attempting one of the most difficult turnovers in calisthenics. They wouldn’t be properly compensated for the equivalent of an 80 hour work week for 10+ years.

Element 1 might seem scary but I have dealt with the most injuries training element 4 (cross-possible). It passes through an “impossible”

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David Nguyen 418903

My list was invented as a guideline to two of the most difficult strength elements, which are only available on rings. A new idea shared and invented in 2024.

I’ve been working on a front-lever pike to victorian cross as a progression for element 10. And from victorian cross to iron cross as a progression for element 4. Both elements are technically new, but not listed due to being lower in difficulty.

My timeline for element 3 (super-manna) and element 2 from straddle in pike, are 8 and 12 years, respectively. 

I don’t know if I will ever get a Superfly. But it’s something I will continue to work on, without a definitive timeline of ever achieving one.

I’ll post up a video of a SuperManna (element 3) when I can execute a clean one.

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David Nguyen 418903
Posted (edited)

An updated list based on my current training 

1. Superfly- straight body pull pass reverse planche before closing the hips and going into inverted cross

2. From German hang to inverted cross

3. Supermanna-the higher the manna, the stronger the element. Note- only pike reverse planche is a hold.

4. From a hang to reverse planche

5. Crosspossible- front lever to iron cross

6. From a hang to pike reverse planche(manna)

7. From rings support to handstand, back and hips surpass planche before pike. The higher the hips are before pike, the stronger the element.

8. From rings support to reverse planche
9. From a hang to victorian cross
10. Zanetti

Elements 1, 4, 5, 8, and 9 are dangerous to train without a professional. These elements require specially designed accessories for the lower body and hip. They are not elements, an athlete can develop like traditional muscle-ups.

Edited by David Nguyen 418903
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David Nguyen 418903
Posted (edited)

Notes on reverse planche

Reverse planche body position is about 6 inches above the hands and involves body contact with rings. For good form the body should rest in between the curves of the rings(the top quarter). The contact will be similar to wrist contact on rings, it’s something that can be manipulated, and an important aspect to learn good form. One of my favorite combos: L-sit to maltese to reverse straddle on rings.

Pike reverse planche(manna) is a difficult hold to stick. The amount of lower body movement, lifting of the butt, and back angle gives it dynamics. The body does not make contact with rings.

Manna/pike reverse planche on rings is difficult to stick, reverse planche requires more strength.

Going up from manna is next level!

Edited by David Nguyen 418903
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  • 4 weeks later...
David Nguyen 418903

German hang to inverted cross starts as a pull into a wide arm incline position (give or take half way to inverted hang). Once the back is in an incline position, push and open hips into inverted cross. As much as the element looks like a Zanetti from an incline position, it is not. The push starts from a much lower position, with the hands in a suboptimal position(too far forward).

It is one of the most difficult strength elements possible. And not to be taken lightly. It will require tailored work for the hands, arms, shoulders, and core. Progressions for the movement don’t exist due to complex nature of physical development, and the unique build of an individual athlete. 

My progression in the movement has been surprising. I expect to have 3 different variations of the element in less than 8 years.
It took me 2 months to achieve back-lever, 6 months for maltese, and I’m about 5 years into calisthenics. I have never been in a gymnastics center, or on high rings. I train alone, on 6ft-10ft straps on anchor attached to a frame I built over 4 trusses in my garage. I don’t train any dynamic swing elements due to my setup. 

Ring towers are extremely difficult to access as a random adult from the world of calisthenics. I have plans of building my own in the next few years. Then, maybe I’ll have a new list of dynamic swing elements, and/or dismounts.

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