Monday, November 11, 2013

Basement Gym Series Part 1 - Gymnastics Rings

The first flakes of winter showed their face this week here in wonderful Victor, NY and although I've moved all my equipment out of my Garage Gym a few months ago, I thought a great topic for discussion would be moving from the Garage to a basement gym.

For me, one of the most thrilling moments is when I can move all of my gear into our two car garage in the Spring.  There is nothing quite like working out with the garage door wide open where I can run outside for a lap around the development then back inside to the pull up bar, rings, etc.

I've always felt that having to move into my basement for the winter was a bit like hibernating, like giving up much of what I could accomplish because of restricted ceiling height and the reduced noise level I'm allowed to make.  Could I invest in upgrading my garage to make it more livable during the winter months? I certainly could, but at a hefty cost.  And even if I did, where would we park the cars?  So, for my living arrangements, it doesn't make sense to stay in the garage.  If this sounds like you then read on...

In the coming weeks, I'll be posting updates to the blog with pieces that I've added to the gym so be on the lookout for "Basement Gym Series" posts.  I'm looking forward to making the small space I have as functional as possible and I welcome any comments you have on ideas or things you've done.


The room I have to work with is small but I look forward to the challenge of making it super functional.  Measurements are a meager 12'x9' with a drywall ceiling at 7'8".  I did plan ahead a bit and have a cutout in the ceiling at 22"x46" where the ceiling height is 8'4".  That should help some with overhead movements and pull ups.

The first thing I've decided to install is one of our Gymnastic Ring Hangers and a set of our Wood Gymnastics Rings.  Ever since I began CrossFit® training, I've been intrigued with rings and love how versatile they are.  Now, you might think that in this limited height the Muscle Up is out of the question, but a few years ago I had the strength to complete a ring Muscle Up from kneeling with no kip.  I think it's time to work to that again.

The Gymnastics Ring Hanger is installed!
There are a ton of exercises that Gymnastics Rings bring to even a small basement gym like mine.  Even with three or four basic movements I can keep my workouts varied.
Gymnastics Rings are the first in my Basement Gym
  • Ring Pushups [with straps 15 feet long and the ceiling height at roughly 8 foot, the rings can be mounted in the perfect position - about 1 to 2 inches from the floor]
  • Ring Dips
  • Ring Rows
  • Knees to Elbows
  • Toes to Rings
  • L-Sits and other static holds
  • Front Levers/Back Levers
  • Straddle L
  • Note - some of the more difficult movements such as Levers and Straddle L's have many progressions that make the movements easier for the beginner by changing the leverage.
  • Resistance bands can also be used to assist in countering some body weight to make movements easier.
A small, restricted height basement area might put a damper on some equipment items like the Plyo Box or Climbing Rope but with some ingenuity, elbow grease and some inspiration, I can make a space that keeps me constantly varied yet challenged.  Stay tuned...