Inspired by the Olympics, I decided to do some research about the most Olympic-y looking piece of equipment at the studio, The Ring Thing. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one!
The Ring Thing was created by national champion David Durante (who was also an alternate on the US team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics) and his partner, Shane Geraghty. They created an apparatus that mimics the type David would “jerry rig” together while training for the Olympics. They’ve also come up with a formula with specific outcomes so that any and everyone can look like an Olympic gold medalist! The primary goals on training with the Ring Thing are divided into these three phases:
Phase 1: Creation of Shapes and Body Awareness
The first is core-centric exercises which help to develop the understanding of what an athletes body is doing within space and time.
The second piece is flexibility work. Consistent, daily, full body flexibility training is critical to allow for creation of correct body shapes. Within this step, an athlete develops an understanding of how to connect the dots between what they think is happening with their body when attempting a particular position, and what is happening in reality. Almost all the time, those two pieces are very different from each other, especially for beginners.
Phase 2: Controlled Action and Static Holds
This is the strength and stability building stage. By being able to control body movement through slow tempo and static holds, an athlete creates not only a higher level of understanding, but also increases activation of key muscle groups that do not always fire properly during dynamic action. Slowing down will allow any athlete to eventually speed up more efficiently.
Phase 3: Dynamic Action
Without phases 1 and 2, an athlete can never fully grasp the full potential of dynamic action. If phases 1 and 2 are in place, the range of skills and drills an athlete can achieve increases exponentially. The process takes time, but anything worth achieving takes consistent training. This process is the great separator between the good athletes and the great. Take pride in the process. Appreciate that the incremental gains and the skills will not only come, but they will stay for the long term.
Phase 4: Creation of Sequences/Complexes
For the fitness world, this would equate to a complex where a variety of movements are combined. This efficiency can be applied to complexes in the same way they are applied to gymnastics routines, which in turn allows for conservation of energy during long intensity based workouts. As the fitness world strives toward more intricate complexes, there is greater need for appreciation and application of phases 1, 2, and 3.
I found another article recently posted on Well + Good about Sadie Durant’s Ring Thing class. The author noted “I loved the feeling of being able to get into the positions. You feel safe, strong, and empowered, and there’s just something really fun about flipping around on a pair of rings.” That is also a shoutout to Sadie Durant! Without a good teacher, going aerially can be terrifying! Be sure to check out the Ring Things classes on Mondays at 6:15pm, Wednesdays at Noon, and Sundays at 4:15pm!