Rings on a Door Workout

hanging on rings

Our tiny flat doesn’t really allow for a pull up bar anywhere. At the moment the only place I can hang my gymnastic/Olympic rings is the front door. The hallway is pretty narrow and not too tall too, which further limits what you can do, and as if that wasn’t enough the door is short, partially glass and has a lumpy doorbell on it that gets in the way… But even with those restrictions you can still get a decent full body workout. Most of the time I’ll actually only do a section of this, either just upper body, or sometimes just push or pull movements depending on what else I’ve got planned for the day.

I’m also lazy and want to minimize readjusting the ring heights, so I’ll typically just start with the rings at the very top setting and make my way down (or the other way around). I keep a note of what height I can currently do 3 – 12 reps of each exercise on. Once I can do 10 easily, I’ll usually make the height setting harder if possible.

List of rings-on-the-door exercises

This is a pretty technical post that assumes knowledge of a lot of ring based movements, as it is meant for reference & ideas rather than explanation. If it helps, quite a few of the exercises are demonstrated in this video, or you can Google them. Feel free to ask me for clarification and examples.

At the top, as high as possible:

  • scapulla pulls (for me, knees bent so that feet are off the floor)
  • (assisted) single arm hold and scapulla pulls
  • false grip hold at the top and bottom of a pull up
  • hold at either top or bottom of pull up (again, for me knees have to be close to my chest, which actually makes it a fair bit harder and a core workout too)
  • if your door is high enough, (assisted) pull ups & chin ups

Close to the top, but depends on door height and your strength (lots of single arm exercises in here)

  • single arm sideways bicep curls
  • single arm rows
  • single arm tricep extensions
  • backwards bicep curls
  • false grip rows (unless you’re quite comfortable with false grip already)

A bit lower down we have hard row variations:

  • belly rows
  • archer rows
  • butterfly rows (I don’t have the space for full extension, so I do it with bent elbows)
  • tricep extensions
  • single ring underhand rows

Around this height I sometimes also hold on to the rings, lean away and work on pistol squats.

And then a bit lower down still, underhand rows (or bicep curls) and regular rows. At a similar height, I also practice holds at the top (+RTO, with rings turned out) and bottom of the dip position (the door shape doesn’t allow for comfortable dips, but I’ll occasionally do a few negatives).

Moving a couple settings down (so that the rings are at least below hip height, but not too close to the floor), you can do lunges with one foot in the ring. And for more core, there is standing ring rollout.

A bit lower down still, I work on push ups, and a couple of their variations. Harder ones are for example archer push ups. Another way to make them more difficult is to add RTO at the top.

Finally, with the rings near the floor, you can put your feet in them, which then allows you to do the following exercises:

  • hamstring curls (facing up; everything else is facing down)
  • crunches and diagonal crunches
  • push ups
  • pike handstand attempts

In addition, you can also do attempt an L-sit hold with RTO here, or just single leg compressions if you don’t quite have it yet.

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