[This is a guest blog from Brandon Hooks. Brandon is a senior at Ferrum College pursuing his degree in Health and Human Performance. Brandon is participating in the coaching mentorship program at Athletic Lab.]

elitewoodringsThe 2016 Summer Olympics will bring about a renewed interest in Gymnastics. The US Women’s gymnastics team is expected to excel and is comprised of some of the fittest athletes in the world. Elite gymnasts are superior athletes and thus sparked my interest in the benefits of gymnastic ring exercises. However, rings exercise is not just for gymnasts. These rings are increasing in popularity in gyms as people search for the best total body workouts. Are gymnastic rings the new innovative way to building strength?

Gymnastics rings are a functional training tool that builds upper body. In the article, “Effects of suspension training and growth hormone axis”. (1) Researchers conclude from data collected that indicated a suspension training workout using the recommended 30 sec: 60 sec work:rest ratio is sufficient to stimulate the GH axis in recreationally active young adult males. Practical Applications:  evidence supports the use of suspension training as a stimulus for anabolic hormone release, suggesting this is a viable alternative to traditional resistance training for stimulating the anabolic hormones that support recovery and muscle growth.

In the article, “Anabolic Hormonal Responses to an Acute Bout of Suspension Training” written by T.P Scheett (2) indicates workouts using 30 sec work and rest intervals, 45 or 60 sec work and 30 or 45 sec rest intervals may likely result in more robust hormonal responses. The data from this study supports the use of suspension training exercise as a viable alternative mode of exercise to traditional resistance training. Suspension training exercise stimulated anabolic hormone release while decreasing catabolic hormonal responses, producing a net result typically associated with increased protein synthesis.

The data and articles I’ve read about suspension training or the use of gymnastic rings, have made it clear that suspension training helps increase overall strength. This information is helpful to a trainer or athlete when trying to decide whether to use gymnastic rings as a part of a workout plan.  The facts indicate they can be very beneficial.