Xtreme Rings Review
I bought my set of Xtreme Rings about a year ago and have been using them (without too many layoffs) four days a week, every week, since. For those who might be considering savagely intense rings training here's my review of the product:
The rings are black, made from a polycarbonate resin that means they're light and very strong. Apparently they're rated for over 1000lbs, but more importantly they feel sturdy.
The surface of the rings is minutely textured to improve grip. Myself I find it absolutely fine for a regular grip, but my false grip slides without extra friction. I think a lot of people chalk up or use resin, but I've found that using a couple rubber strips from an (old, snapped) Pilates band does the job perfectly and doesn't get chalk everywhere / sticky up your rings.
The Xtreme Rings come with the disclaimer that they're not intended to be used for swinging elements, just for strength training, but unless you're starting off pretty burly it's going to be a good few years before you're ready to hit the swinging elements anyway.
The rings come with two nylon straps plus easily adjustable cams that are both, again, load-tested to very high levels.
I actually broke one of the cams because I wasn't threading the straps properly (I was threading them from above rather than the back), but otherwise there's been no sign of wear or tear in the year I've been using them, and I've never had the straps slip. I do a lot of one-arm things using just one ring and that's fine too.
The straps are long: 18 feet each. This allows you to do unimpeded handstand work on the rings, but also just lets you have long straps for training basic elements. This makes a hell of a difference. If you've got the straps at maximum length (for which you're obviously going to need some decent height) then even holding a simple support is a fight with instability. This is what makes the rings such an effective training tool: you have to work all the time for everything, and the instability manifests in the areas where you're weakest. If you've got weak links (and who doesn't?), you become aware of them very quickly.
I've rigged the rings from tree branches, open stairs, beams, pull-up bars – all sorts. It's the work of a minute to fling the bundled straps over your rigging point and thread the cams.
I'd recommend the Xtreme Rings without any hesitation, especially in tandem with the book that accompanies them, Coach Sommer's Building the Gymnastic Body. In the last year I've seen by far the best progress in my strength since I started training about four years ago, and, while it's never been my goal to put on muscle bulk, they've nonetheless changed my body shape and added a lot of muscle to the chest and the shoulders. I may not be a gymnast, but I feel confident and strong and in the shape of my life.
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