A step-by-step tutorial to achieve the inverted hang on gymnastics rings, including a video. The inverted hang is a great starting exercise, to progress to more challenging exercises, such as Skin the Cat (or German Hang) and the Back Lever.
The inverted hang looks deceptively simple, but I’ve found a lot of clients can’t get off the ground at first. With some good guidance, the exercise becomes relatively easy.
- Place a crash mat under the rings
- Set the height of the rings relatively low, so you don’t have far to fall. But give enough clearance for your head.
- Ensure the gymnastic rings are properly secured! Test the rings before you try the inversions.
- Must be able to hang from a bar for 30 seconds—otherwise your grip may not be strong enough. It’s helpful if you are able to do a few pull ups.
- Should be capable of doing knee raises to your chest, whilst hanging from a bar
How to Inverted Hang on the Rings
Read through the 5 steps, then watch the video at the end. Always start with a dynamic stretching warm up routine, to reduce the risk of injury.
Step 1: Raise One Leg
- Hang underneath the rings with straight arms, and a “hammer” style grip. Try not to bend your arms.
- Raise one leg close to your chest, leaving the other on the ground. Then push off.
- This results in less effort than trying to lift both legs at the same time.
Step 2: Lean Back
I’ve found with my Calisthenics training clients, that this is the key step that helps them to nail the movement. They are all quite nervous about doing this.
You need to lean back a lot! Recall the feeling of leaning back in a swimming pool, and raising your chest, in order to float on the surface. It feels a lot like that.
Step 3: Tuck Your Knees
- Tuck your knees and keep them together.
On your first time trying this exercise, just hold this position for 10 seconds, and then return back to the ground.
Once you feel comfortable, then move onto straightening the legs.
Step 4: Straighten Your Legs
- Push your legs straight, like trying to stamp your feet on the sky
- Keep your feet tightly together and point your toes
When you attempt this part, it really helps if you have a Calisthenics / Gymnastics Personal Trainer, or reliable friend to spot you, as you will be flipping around like a fish out of water. 🙂 They should hold your legs…just enough to stop you from swinging.
With a little practice, you will be able to get up smoothly enough on your own.
Step 5: Shoulders Forward
- Keep your shoulders rounded forward, with a “hollow chest”. This will put the rings slightly towards the front of your thighs.
- Your abs should be engaged
- Keep looking at your toes—this will help you to stay rounded
I’ve found that being rounded provides a lot more stability than trying to be straight, with your rings at the side.
The inverted hang is the starting or transition point for many exercises on the rings. Two simple progressions are:
- Inverted hang reverse leg lifts (works the lower back and glutes)
- L-hang to inverted hang
George D. Choy
Personal Trainer & Calisthenics Instructor
Gymnacity in Oxted, Surrey, United Kingdom
This video was filmed on an Xorbars multi-gym. For more information visit their website xorbars.co.uk
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Related Articles on Calisthenics:
- How To Inverted Hang On The Rings
- Inverted Rows — Why And How To Do Them
- Skin the Cat — Exercise Tutorial
- How to do the Back Lever — Tips and Video Tutorial
- Muscle Up On Rings | Why I’ve Stopped Doing Straight Bar Muscle Up
- How To Do Pistol Squats
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