Ring Chins with a twist

I mentioned recently on my blog that in the past four months since moving to California and starting my new job, I’m still doing a lot of chin-ups on a weekly basis, but I’ve switched to doing all of my chin-ups on the rings.

I’ve always liked the rings a lot, but before I had to hang the rings from the power rack each time, and due to laziness I often just did them from the chin-up bar to save time.

Now that there are rings hanging at all times, it works logistically a lot better for me, and I also like the way chin-ups feel on the rings better than doing them from the bar. They feel better on the elbows, wrists, and shoulders, and I also feel like I can get a better contraction in my upper back at the top, and also flare my elbows more on the eccentric to put more stress on the lats.

But in this post I actually want to share another nifty trick that you can do with the rings to change the feel of the exercise and put more emphasis on the biceps. Because you know, suns out, guns out.

Basically, it’s ring chin-ups with a twist—literally.

Before starting your set, twist the rings outward. This means that if you’re standing underneath the rings looking up at them, you’d twist the left ring counter-clockwise and the right ring clockwise. The more you twist them, the more you’ll feel the exercise in your biceps and the harder it’ll be.

From there, do chin-ups as you normally would but maintain a supinated (underhand) grip the whole set.

Like this:

This is much easier said than done because the rings are going to want to twist inward, especially towards the bottom of the rep, so you’ll have to work extra hard to maintain the supinated grip position.

Perform the reps in a controlled fashion, especially on the eccentric portion. You’ll notice in the video that I’m not coming quite all the way down at the bottom to a dead-hang position like I normally do with my chin-ups. That’s intentional. You want to use a good range of motion but stop just short of locking the arms at the bottom out to keep constant tension on the biceps.

Twisting the rings at the start of the set is one of those simple little things that can really make a big difference. These will absolutely smoke your biceps.

You can also do this same exercise in reverse, so you’d twist the rings inward at the start of the set. This means if you’re standing underneath the rings looking up at them, you’d twist the left ring clockwise and the right ring counter-clockwise. From there you’d perform pronated (overhand) grip pull-ups. This variation puts added emphasis on the forearms, as the rings are going to want to twist back outward so you’ll have to fight to keep that from happening to maintain the pronated grip position. If you’re looking for some extra forearm work without adding in a specific “grip” exercise, this fits the bill nicely.

Give these variations a try and let me know what you think.

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