People often wonder what are the best gymnastic rings- wood or metal?

We’re going to clear up the confusion right now.

man on best gymnastic rings

METAL GYMNASTIC RINGS

Pros:

  • Best for outdoor use due to durability
  • Almost indestructible
  • Smoother than wood rings (personal preference)
  • Twice as heavy as wood rings (personal preference)
  • Don’t tear your wrists up performing certain movements (i.e. muscle ups)
  • Added weight improves stability (slight advantage for dips and pull-ups)

Cons:

  • Doesn’t absorb sweat; may need chalk or tape to improve grip
  • Twice as heavy as wood rings (personal preference)
  • Some have no texture; may need to wrap with tape
  • Although not serious, getting hit in the head or mouth will be painful.
  • Smoother than wood rings (personal preference)
  • Can be noisy when they clang together
  • Can chip and show rust
  • When wet, can get quite slick, thus requiring tape
  • Steel gets very cold in low temperatures
  • Expensive

WOOD GYMNASTIC RINGS

Pros:

  • Unbeatable grip
  • Lighter, making easier to transport
  • Good tackiness/grippy feel
  • Holds chalk well
  • Absorbs sweat
  • Inhibits callouses and blisters. Hands more likely to hold in position and not slide, preventing skin from getting pinched and no abrasion during movement.
  • Great for crosses, levers and low reps of muscle ups.
  • Cost-effective
  • Used exclusively by Olympians
  • Unmatched performance

Cons:

  • Can’t store outdoors
  • Tear up wrists; not the best for muscle ups
  • Not for outdoor use. Moisture, sun, and cold deteriorates rings. Unless you bring them in after each use.

gymnast on gymnastic rings

And the Winner is...? 

The best gymnastic rings come down to one thing and one thing only- grip. Gymnastic rings have one job- to provide a stable grip.

Hands down, wooden gymnastic rings have the best grip and are the best gymnastic rings out there.

Don't believe me? Here's a second, professional opinion.

Plastic rings aren’t even in the conversation. Why?

They’re especially problematic when doing muscle ups. You need a seamless, silky transition for muscle ups requiring a false grip. A false grip puts your hand and wrists partially over the ring to help convert from a pullup to a dip position.

Your hands not sliding out of this position of transition into the muscle up is vital, otherwise, the movement becomes impossible.

man on wooden gymnastic rings

Example of a false grip.

Thus, a quality grip is of the utmost importance, and also applies to other exercises like ring dips and pull-ups.

Plastic gets wet and slick due to sweat, seriously hampering your grip. Plastic is worse than metal.

Wooden Gymnastic Rings Win the Arms Race

Wood provides sufficient traction between your hands and rings, so your grip doesn’t fail before you do. This is a big factor when you start doing higher reps and sweat becomes an issue.

Why are wooden rings the best?

Their grip superiority stems from the combination of wood and chalk allowing you to lock in your false grip and focus on the exercise, instead of fighting through a slippery grip. Wood and chalk make for an excellent tactile feel that cinches your grip with complete traction.

Another proof is that wooden rings are used exclusively by Olympic level gymnasts. Olympians execute far more complex, nuanced movements and transitions than any decent calisthenics aficionado could ever dream of.

If wooden rings are the gear of choice of the highest level of athletes and Olympians they’re good enough for you to do simple, everyday movements.

But what about steel rings?

Most pros tend to avoid steel rings for either using at the gym or at home. However, there’s one exception- an outdoor exercise or calisthenics park. Then and only then, are steel rings on a chain the best option in terms of durability and theft prevention.

Sticking the Landing

If you're contemplating adding wood gymnastic rings to your training arsenal, we have a reputable suggestion for you, wink wink.

wooden best gymnastic rings

If you're not sure why to use them, or where to hang them, check out this nifty guide.

In the market for a new, fresh workout that incorporates lots of ring work? We've got you covered right here.

Hope this guides you to the best decision for you Fringe Nation. Please share your input, feedback, comments, and experiences with us below. 

Stay awesome and lift yourself beyond the ordinary!


Adam Miezio
Adam Miezio

Author