My Gymnastics Rings

originally posted at http://www.goodfeelingplace.com/my-gymnastics-rings

This year my wife got me a pair of rings for fathers day, exactly like the ones you can see to the right. I thought it was great but the only place I had to hang them at the time was on a chinup bar in a doorway. That was kind of neat, the kids enjoyed it, but it was pretty low to the ground with limited space and the straps were way too long for that setup (and I didn’t want to cut them yet).

In the fall when it began to cool down here in Phoenix I began planning how I would set them up in the garage. I think it was sometime in late October when I got them installed there. I secured a metal pipe to the ceiling using so many bolts that I could probably hoist a car on it (see image below).

Although I setup the rings for myself, my kids (and their friends) kind of took over. I was relegated to being the traffic cop to tell the kids when their turn is up and make sure no one cuts in line. I think it’s like having a roller coaster ride in your backyard with only one seat in it. You can see how my youngest son Hani spins in the first video below, and one of my older sons Demitri is in the next video.





However, on Thanksgiving day a few weeks ago I decided that I would put together a routine on rings and compete again at the Rocky Mountain Open in January 2011. That’s the same competition I had planned to compete in on pommel horse this year, until I got discouraged by how much different circles on the mushroom are to circles on the horse (I challenged the Arizona State University team to a circle contest in late 2009 after doing 74 on my mushroom at home, but was only able to do 46 on the horse when I got to the gym).

About a week before Thanksgiving I had began listening to the guided meditations CD from the Getting into the Vortex book (as pictured to the right). We had recently gotten all our kids out of diapers (after almost 9 years of having at least one child in diapers), so I was feeling very good about life. I continue to listen to the guided meditations because it helps me to see past any negative thoughts in my mind and to look towards emotional freedom and infinite possibilities in my life. It was in this context that I decided I could compete again.

Last Friday I went to Aspire to workout with the current ASU gymnastics team, which is 28 members strong now. I was very excited, so much so that I forgot my grips at home. Fortunately they have a well stocked lost and found bucket and I was able to procure a decent pair of ring grips to swing with. I wanted to practice swinging (like giant swings, which I don’t have the height for in my garage) and also get an update to the routine requirements, which I know have changed a great deal since I competed.

Scott (the ASU head coach, who was my coach 10 years ago when I was in college) gave me the rundown on the current requirements and answered some questions I had, then I watched some of the guys practice their routines to get an idea of how they are put together. I also got a chance to do some tricks I hadn’t done in 10 years. I found that as a general rule I was about half a rotation slow on any flip (I only dismounted into the pit for this reason), but I was pleased to discover that I could adjust and tune myself quickly – for example after about 20 minutes on the tramp and then tumble trak I was able to do a standing back flip on the floor again.

I had a great time at the gym, then I went home and felt like I had been run over. I took a long hot bath with epsom salt (I picked up 2 large bags at walgreens because I figured I’d need more later) to help my body to recover, and now a few days later I’m no longer sore and ready to continue my strength training at home. I’ll return to the gym once I have a plan for a routine with several strength moves in it that I can do at home – probably next week.

Dec 20th, 2010 Update: I was pleased to discover that I could do both dips and pullups on the rings with my son Hani (in the first video above) on my back when we were playing on the rings over the weekend. I’ve also gained about 5 pounds since I began training in earnest (at least 20-30 minutes a day) – I’m naturally underweight so I’m happy to gain weight while exercising. I’m planning to go back to the gym Wednesday, and I will work on putting together the following skills for a routine:
Kip L-Cross, Backuprise L-Cross, Backuprise Straddle L, Press to handstand, Front Giant, Back Giant, Tucked Yamawaki, Backuprise Planche, Pike Press to Handstand, Double Back Dismount.

The above routine is scalable so next year I can replace the strength moves with more difficult ones as I’m able to do them.

Dec 23rd, 2010 Update: I was able to do about 5 of those tricks above in sequence yesterday, but I need to make some modifications so it will flow better. I bought my plane ticket today to travel with the ASU team to the meet, I figure I will get 2-3 more chances to go to the gym and fine tune a routine before then. 🙂

Jan 2011 Update: I did compete at the Rocky Mountain Open, you can see the video in my review of the meet.

About Robert

I competed in gymnastics for 16 years through college at Arizona State University. After 10 years and 5 (now 6) children, I have returned to gymnastics as a competitor. I am a lifetime gymnast. :)
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