I recently read a blog by the guys over at GMB about ring training. Specifically, why “gymnastics rings won’t kill you.*” It is a well written response to recent articles that are apparently sensationalizing the dangers of ring training. I say apparently, because I stopped reading about the dangers of various exercises long ago. I realized if I paid attention to all of the “experts” spouting the dangers of various physical activities, the obvious solution would be to stay on the couch, curled up reading where it was “safe.” Never mind the diseases of disuse, or the lack of a fulfilling life. At least my risk for injury would be low.
This time of year, many people embark on an exercise program in order to make a change and live a healthier lifestyle. Instead of working into things slowly, improving mobility, and figuring out how these bodies they own work, they will go out for 3 mile runs, attempt muscle-ups, and when the yoga teacher says, “those of you that are familiar with the arm balance, please take it,” they will thrust themselves up in the air. And yes, some of these individuals will get hurt, upon which they will declare they hurt themselves in boot camp/yoga/running. Therefore, exercise is dangerous, and couch sitting should be resumed. It is important to try new things and it’s important to push your boundaries a little bit, doing things that challenge you. This is how we learn and get better. However, if you haven’t used your body in quite a while, trust me when I say you might not know how it works very well. Spend 6-8 weeks working on the basics, understanding how your hips can move without moving your back, how your ankles, your hips, and your knees don’t need to move as one unit, and how your breath affects your movement. Do 50% less than you think you are able physically, working into a physical practice slowly. Think of it as reading the owner’s manual before you begin operating the fancy new car. Set yourself up for success and play often.
*I actually bought my husband GMB rings I for Christmas. He loves it. It utilizes smart programming and he is getting really strong. He worked on somatic awareness in the shoulder girdle for the last year due to an old injury. This means when cues are given that involve the shoulder girdle, he knows how to access that area and do what is said, following the old adage, “walk before you run.” To read the GMB blog, you can check it out here: https://gmb.io/gymnastic-rings-risks/