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Joseph Fradelakis

Ring Instability Vs Other Forms Of Instability

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Joseph Fradelakis

Hey guys. So it's easy to blurt out benefits of ring training but I'm curious.

 

Many people view ring training as beneficial but the same people make fun of all other types of instability work (bosu balls, stability balls, etc.)

 

Do they not work on the same principles?

Apply high load (so you need to generate high tension) and use the bosu/stability/wobble to add the instability element (hitting the stabilizers)

 

Now I understand that rings have full freedom of movement and rotate and I understand why they are BETTER.  Thats NOT my question.

 

My question is why do the other instability modalities SUCK (or at least many strong people think they do).

 

Do they actually suck if you are using them to perform an exercise that still lets you generate lots of tension

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Cory Fair

Hey guys. So it's easy to blurt out benefits of ring training but I'm curious.

 

Many people view ring training as beneficial but the same people make fun of all other types of instability work (bosu balls, stability balls, etc.)

 

Do they not work on the same principles?

Apply high load (so you need to generate high tension) and use the bosu/stability/wobble to add the instability element (hitting the stabilizers)

 

Now I understand that rings have full freedom of movement and rotate and I understand why they are BETTER.  Thats NOT my question.

 

My question is why do the other instability modalities SUCK (or at least many strong people think they do).

 

Do they actually suck if you are using them to perform an exercise that still lets you generate lots of tension

 

The difference between what you see commonly in gyms compared to rings is localized versus systemic muscle instability. To gain benefit, you must be specific in the stimulus. An easy example to compare:

 

Do a bicep curl with weights while standing on a bosu ball. This is systemic. Notice how much attention your body puts towards balancing on the bosu. Compare this to how your biceps feel after ring work.

 

Now do a bicep curl on a preacher curl bench using a close grip and a regular length/size barbell. Notice how your biceps feel now compared to on the bosu. This will be much more in line to how they feel after ring work. 

 

Your body adapts to what you tell it to do, but it's important to send a clear message. If you don't, it won't adapt as you want.

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Joshua Naterman

So, on a technical level, they are completely different.

 

What the rings do is create a "frictionless plane" effect. This is because there is very little horizontal force acting on the rings to keep them in place, which means that your body has to stabilize the joint while also producing enough force to perform whatever movement you are performing.

 

That requires greater activation of all muscles involved, sometimes to a large degree, especially in the stabilization muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.

 

The bosu ball is not a frictionless plane, but rather an unstable horizontal surface. You are primarily trying to stabilize pitch and roll, in aeronautical terms.

YawPitchRoll.jpg

 

This means that the rings primarily challenge horizontal stabilization, while bosu balls and the like tend to challenge rotational stabilization.

 

You never want to add high loads with rotational instability, that's just asking for injury (and, unsurprisingly, that's what you often get when people try to go heavy on bosu balls or swiss balls).

 

The bosu IS great for warm ups, because it "wakes up" a lot of muscles. it is also good for your brain, so from an aging perspective these are good tools for brain health and proprioception (including but not limited to balance), but not for strength training.

 

When you factor in the FACT that sport success has just as much to do with proprioception as maximal strength, if not more, it makes sense that these tools can enhance performance despite the fact that they are complete garbage for maximal strength development. They also tend to challenge the body more distally than proximally, whereas rings are the opposite: They challenge more proximally than distally.

 

Example: The rings are harder for the shoulders than the wrists, while bosu balls are more difficult for the ankles than the hips.

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AlexX

Nicely put. 

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Cory Fair

To clarify, I definitely  agree that bosu is excellent in the context Josh mentioned (I've used spelling the ABC's single leg + dorsiflexion since 2006 with clients), it's just an inefficient type of approach for biceps.

 

The beauty of GST is these sort of differences are built into the program appropriately and don't require "creative thinking" like I usually see in the gym.

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Joseph Fradelakis

I've done handstand pushups on two basketballs and it feels similar to rings (not as intense but still much more difficult than pushup bars). So I can't grasp how this doesn't help maximal strength as rings might. 

 

Maybe it's just because even after your explanation Josh I don't understand the science. I get much of what you said however let's not compare upperbody ring train to lower body stability ball, but instead upper body to upper body. For example an ATLAS pushup done on three stability balls with a weight vest. Would that not contribute to maximal strength more than a regular weighted ATLAS pushup.

 

Even though the rings are suspended the chain keeps them from going DOWN as the floor does for the ball. Their would be more friction for the ball but in this case I don't see how that makes it ineffective (as opposed to just Less effective).

 

forgive my ignorance  :(  i went to school for accounting unfortunately

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Eric Heiden

Think of it like this:

 

In your basketball HSPU example the basketballs don't slide around on the floor freely - granted they roll to some degree but the rotational movement of the basketball is much different than if they were to be sitting on ice.  To a certain degree this is what your fighting against with the rings.  The rings can move around on this plane much more easily (and without rotation) than the basketballs on a normal surface can.

 

Similarly, when your feet on on a Bosu ball it's not as if your feet can slide out horizontally, your just navigating your center of gravity around so that it remains over the bosu ball.

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Joshua Naterman

To develop maximal strength in a muscle, you need to challenge it with steadily increasing loads.

 

An unstable surface like a basketball could be good for shoulders, as the shoulder muscles themselves function both as prime movers AND stabilizers.

 

Other muscles, like the biceps and other elbow flexors, provide minimal stabilization in this position. For these muscles, you will always get better results with more stable training because you can load them more effectively.

 

This isn't much of an issue with the rings, since most bicep work is going to require your center of mass to be at or below the rings.

 

For example, when performing an inverted muscle up with feet on the straps vs feet off the straps, the issue is primarily not increasing biceps strength: It is increasing shoulder strength and proprioception to the point where you can maintain your balance as you move progressively higher.

 

The biceps will have to do SOME extra work, because as we move into shoulder flexion (moving the upper arm from elbow near the ribs to elbow above the head) the long head of the biceps is actually directly involved in shoulder flexion. This is not as significant when the upper arm is internally rotated, but in the transition it is externally rotated and the biceps do a huge amount of work during the transition to the handstand push up.

 

The main issue is actually knowing HOW to use these muscles (biceps and shoulder girdle) to balance.

 

The ball causes massive changes in distal joint forces compared to the rings, particularly in the wrist, as it rotates. That is substantially different from what happens with the rings, on which the wrist angle and pressure doesn't change hardly at all, and, in my opinion, has a greater likelihood of catastrophic injury since you can fall off the balls rather easily and fracture the wrist or damage the head/neck.

 

The ball is nowhere near as horizontally unstable as the rings, but it is horizontally unstable. The increased friction means you don't have to work anywhere near as hard to stabilize the shoulder, and that makes the ball less effective than the rings. It also happens to be much more dangerous.

 

This is also why long rings are much, much more effective for strength work than short rings, which are in turn better than the ball which is in turn better (from a strength, but not safety, perspective) than the floor or parallel bars.

 

As long a muscle must act as a prime mover AND a stabilizer, with a given resistance, it will have to produce more force than either function alone, and this helps facilitate greater strength gains.

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jl5555

The primary benefit of this thread, imo, is for those of us who started GB and progressed using short rings and have plateaued that perhaps it may be a good time to search out long rings.  (Thanks slizzardman as ever...)

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andiswf
The primary benefit of this thread, imo, is for those of us who started GB and progressed using short rings and have plateaued that perhaps it may be a good time to search out long rings.  (Thanks slizzardman as ever...)

trying a strength skill on a sling trainer is also fun, especially when the proportional length of the straps vary :P

= shaky shaky!

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Joshua Naterman

I can see that being a good way to assess imbalances between left and right sides.

 

The official products have pulleys with a diameter too small to be a real challenge. Looks like they don't have ball bearings either.

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andiswf

sling%2Btrainer.png(thats not mine! I have a cheap selfmade)

On this one a V-sit, cross, Vcross, advanced tucked planche is quite a challenge!

(even I have crosses, vcrosses, malteses in my competetive rings routine!)

the length should be 1.5-2meters for best results of instability if I remember correct!

 

however, you can do some good additional exercises for stabilisation.

Practicing those stuff makes your muscle smarter. (...inter+intra)

furthermore it can help reduceing uneffective or "additional" movements of your stabilisation-work! (sry I dont know the correct = technical-specific english terms..)

 

my main point is: a lot of athletes use stabilisation-tools like balls/slings for additional workouts and it makes them better!

 

and if you try hard, its funny how your stupid muscle gets smarter and handle new situations =)

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Joshua Naterman

I definitely think that a high quality product like that could be very useful once people develop basic strength on long rings.

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FritsMB Mansvelt Beck
The ball is nowhere near as horizontally unstable as the rings, but it is horizontally unstable. 

 

Josh, standing (on your hands) on two basketballs (an unstable equilibrium) is less stable than standing in rings (a stable equilibrium). The difference is how gravity works with you (on rings) or against you (on basket balls) to find your equilibrium again when you loose your balance. 

 

On rings a sideway movement, caused by an imbalance, is largely horizontal (depending on the length of the straps), but always has a vertical upward component. Your COG is forced up because the rings are attached somewhere above your hands. Hence, gravity helps you to find your equilibrium again by forcing your COG down thereby assisting in restoring your balance; in that respect you are in a stable equilibrium. 

 

When balancing on your basketballs (and you must be a flaming idiot to want to risk serious injury doing that, but, hey, it is a free world) a sideway movement causes your COG to go down, so to restore your balance, you have to move your COG back up working against gravity, which is only possible if you (for example, because you have very big hands) can apply pressure on the opposite side of the ball. Gravity does not help you to restore your balance, but works against you; in that respect, you are in an unstable equilibrium.

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Vagabond

I think this was indirectly implied when Josh mentioned proximal vs distal use of the muscles (and I think he's right to say that the balls are less horizontally unstable than the rings, but if you get off balance with the balls, you're screwed cause there's no way your hands and wrists will be strong enough to get back above the ball since you are so far from it's axis of rotation). On the balls, what would work the most (if your hands are big enough to actually grip the balls) would be the hands and wrists, then the shoulders. For someone who wouldn't be able to grip the ball, it would be the shoulders, because the hands wouldn't be able to make most of the adjustments, and the shoulders would have to move around instead in order to keep the centre of gravity above the point of balance, inside the base of support. It's not really the same type of work as with the rings, but if you can do it without hurting yourself, well, it's good for adding variety to your balance work, and if you can grip the ball, to your wrists strength and stability. Can't get your torso and shoulders as strong as the rings, tho. There's just no way balls could make it.

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FritsMB Mansvelt Beck

Here is a video of Ido Portal hand balancing on a balance board.

It clearly shows what you are talking about (Vagabond). 

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