Gymnastics rings are not only perfect for different variations of push-ups or pull-ups, but also advanced skill training. So-called statics, such as front lever, back lever, planche, or iron cross belong to the supreme disciplines in Calisthenics. | 10 Calisthenics Skills on Workout Rings | Statics Exercises

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June 04, 2021 4 min read

10 Calisthenics Skills on Workout Rings | Statics Exercises

Gymnastics rings are not only perfect for different variations of push-ups or pull-ups, but also advanced skill training. So-called statics, such as front lever, back lever, planche, or iron cross belong to the supreme disciplines in Calisthenics. Many of these skills can also be performed on a pull-up bar or parallettes, but the gymnastics rings offer an advantage: the additional stabilization of the body that is required provides new stimuli for your workout and can thus take your statics to the next level.

The gained strength is also noticeable when training with the parallettes, on the pull-up bar, or the floor.


1. Skill - Front Lever

The front lever is one of the most popular exercises in street workout.

The core and back areas are each heavily used here as the body is held parallel to the floor. This requires a lot of strength and body tension.

Important: The arms should be fully extended, and the torso must not sag. In addition, attention should be paid to the retraction of the shoulders.

2. Skill - Back Lever

In contrast to the Front Lever, this exercise does not place a lot of stress on the back, but rather on the shoulder girdle. The core area in turn provides the necessary body tension to keep the body parallel to the floor.

Important: Keep the arms extended and do not let the upper body sag so that the body remains straight. The Back Lever is made easier by a tight grip on the rings.

3. Skill - Straddle Planche

The straddle planche provides a high load on the front shoulder, accordingly a high level of strength is needed in the shoulder. Also, the so-called straight arm strength is needed on a high level. The straight arm strength is formed by the interaction of the biceps and the forearm.

This strength is needed for many exercises in calisthenics and gymnastics such as the human flag, the iron cross, or even the handstand. In addition, the straddle planche requires a strong core that can lift the legs and keep the body parallel to the ground. Mobility also plays a role in this exercise in the hips and legs.

Important: Keep your arms extended and make sure your shoulders are protracted, so push them out up for the good form.

4. Skill - L-Sit 

The l-sit is an aesthetically pleasing, beautiful exercise and uses many muscles in the upper body such as the shoulders, triceps, core (abdominal and lower back muscles) and the legs are also under tension.

The l-sit is one of the basics in calisthenics and requires a certain amount of strength and flexibility to be performed.

Important: The arms should be stretched, and the shoulder blades should be contracted downwards so that you push yourself upwards and remain stable.

On the rings, this exercise is even more difficult than on the floor or on parallettes.

5. Skill - Iron Cross

The iron cross is one of the most famous skills on the gymnastics rings. As the name suggests, the body forms the shape of a cross. Strong straight arm strength, as well as high shoulder strength and body tension, are needed to hold this figure. The body is held vertically above the floor and the arms are held parallel to the floor in an extended position.

Important: This skill requires a high level and can quickly lead to injury, so be careful when training and prepare your shoulders and elbows well. 

6. Skill - Front Lever Touch 

The front lever touch is a variation of the standard front levers and a lot more difficult. There are different variations to be able to hold this position, whether in close grip, wide grip, or standard grip. On one ring, or both rings: Both are possible. 

Important: The abdomen touches the ring(s) during the static hold.

7. Skill - One Arm Back Lever

The one arm back lever is a variation of the standard back lever but is held with one hand instead of two. The principle of the skill remains the same, but a higher level of strength and a small adjustment in technique is required. To compensate for the new body center of gravity, you lean your body to any side.

For example, if you perform the one arm back lever with your right arm, you lean your body to the right side to be able to shift your body's center of gravity. 

Important: You should not lean too much to the side, as this can make the form unclean.

8. Skill - Full Planche 

The full planche is considered a great increase from the straddle planche, requiring a higher level of straight arm strength, shoulder strength, and core strength. The increase from straddle planche to full planche should not be underestimated, as it is very large and involves a lot of training time.

9. Skill - Maltese Planche

The maltese planche is a variation of the full planche and is generally considered more difficult. Some advanced athletes are the exception, as they find the maltese planche easier than the full planche. The reason for this is the different ratios of muscle power required.

Since you are leaning further forward and have a wider grip, the core strength is not used as much, resulting in a much higher load on the front shoulder and straight arm strength. 

10. Skill - Inverted Cross

When you perform the iron cross "upside-down" you get what is called the inverted cross. This is a bit more difficult but works similar to the iron cross. The biggest difference here is that you push yourself into the position and hold it with your pushing force. With the iron cross, the pulling force is used more. Nevertheless, this exercise puts a lot of stress on the shoulders, straight arm strength, and body tension.

Advanced athletes usually push themselves into this position from the maltese planche.

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