Brandon Jones, one half of YouTube’s Goal Guys, regularly undergoes 30-day fitness challenges which push him to his physical limit. In his latest video, he takes on a month of ring workouts with the aim of improving his strength and stability.
He starts out with 2 workouts: chest and triceps, comprising dips, pushups and butterflies, and upper back and biceps, including pullups, chinups, and a banded front lever. He immediately finds the pushing and pulling exercises much harder than he anticipated.
“Every exercise doubles in difficulty,” he says. “There was so much more energy being used just to stabilize myself, all these supporting muscles that were engaged and activated that were significantly weaker than I expected.”
Moving forward, he breaks the workouts down into specific push and pull sets on alternating days, and introduces some resistance band work to help train his underdeveloped supporting muscle areas. He also gets some help from an expert to perfect his false grip technique. And instead of training to failure, he focused on being able to achieve more sets of 3 reps at a time.
“The other major technique note I’m trying to work on is keeping my shoulders dropped for every push and pull exercise,” he says. “I tend to pull my shoulders up, and this was a major reason it took me so long to learn the muscleup when I attempted that last year.”
In order to measure his progress, at the end of the 30 days Brandon tests how the ring exercises have improved his strength and overall performance on other bodyweight exercises. Specifically: dips, pullups and pushups. He improves his rep max on pullups by 2, and dips by 4, but continues to plateau with his pushups (potentially due to fatigue, as he does these last).
“As happy as I am with these numbers, I think the most notable improvement really is my control and balance on the rings themselves,” he says. “I have far better control over my movement, the reps I’m doing are clean, and I’m activating a full range of mobility with each rep.”
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