Ring Swinging Techniques
by Robert Chapin


Basic Techniques
Basic Pull
A basic side to side pull that most beginners learn.  Avoid jerky movements, which could lead to shoulder problems.  If you do have shoulder problems, see back pull or cross pull below.

Back Pull
Turning a quarter turn on the back pull to face the pulling hand.  This makes for a stronger pull with less impact.

Cross Pull
Turning a half turn on the back pull and bringing the hands together so hands are crossed, thereby pulling across the body. This has the least amount of impact on the shoulders.

Intermediate Techniques
Free Spin

Any number of spins between rings. This is typically executed by swinging one leg around during the backward pull, providing momentum to execute any number of spins. Jeff, one of the SM locals typically pulls 4-5 spins between rings. Care should be taken to avoid the ring that you are swinging toward while spinning.

Leg Over
On the backward pull, pass either leg (or both) over the chain before the release. This makes for good practice before executing a dislocate.

Performed on the backward pull by kicking your legs up and over the back chain before the back ring has been released. Style points go to extending your legs and arching as you pass through the invert. It is also possible to hold on to the back ring (see example), although care should be taken not to rip your arm off as you swing through.

The move is simply done by swinging your legs up on the backward or forward pull and hooking both feet around the chain of the back (or extended) arm. You then swing inverted to catch the next ring, and let your feet swing down again on the backward pull.  Bob originally came up with this one in 2002.

Single Leg Invert
A version of the invert where one leg is wrapped around the chain.

Ring Skip
Traditionally done on the first and third rings: the third ring is set in motion while the person on the first ring swings high enough to catch the third ring – skipping the second.  This was originally developed out of necessity back in the early 90's when the old rings were in disrepair (occasionally missing rings) and you had to skip a ring if you wanted to go all the way to the end.

Self Skip
Performing the ring skip by setting the third ring in motion during a swing.  Eric was the first to actually do this one.

Advanced Techniques
Between the Leg Grab
Reaching between the legs to catch the oncoming ring.

Behind the Back Grab
Reaching behind the back to grab the oncoming ring.  This typically sets up a forward roll (or a dislocated shoulder).

Leg Hook
Threading your foot through the oncoming ring up to your knee, pulling back and swinging by one knee to the next ring. High pain to cool ratio.

Elbow Hook
Similar to the leg hook using the elbow instead.

Shoulder Hook
Threading the oncoming ring all the way up to the shoulder for the swing.

Any trick on the backward pull that allows you to release and recatch the ring. The simplest is a one leg pass, more advanced is a two leg pass or full spin before the recatch.

Single Arm Ring Skip
Executing the ring skip with a single arm.  Bruno deserves credit on this one.

Foot Hook
This move was created by Bruno and requires the use of a custom hook attached at the ankle. He has also been seen doing this move with a ring skip

Referred to as a dismount in gymnastics, this is any move which involves a flip off the rings.

Forward Roll
This is essentially the opposite of a dislocate (inlocate). On the backward pull, the head is thrown forward and the body rolls forward over the back arm.  The person either stays in an inverted position or continues the roll swinging their legs through. Chris has developed this variation which rolls over the arm without ever full grabbing the ring.

Straddle Through
Typically executed from an invert or forward roll, the ring is passed between the legs on the backward pull.

Pole Play
Any swing wide enough to allow the swinger to make intentional contact with one of the upright supporting poles. The swinger can kick off, grab and swing off, or (as Ryan Ashford did during the first rings competition) wrap your legs around the pole, let go of the ring, flex your fingers, recatch the ring and finish the routine – rockin'!

Pole Flip
One hand grabs the pole and essentially does a dislocate (backflip) before releasing the pole and continuing the swing.

Pole Sit
Swinging into the pole and wrapping your legs around, or more advanced, placing your feet flat against either side of the pole and placing one arm in front of the pole with hands extended.

Around the Pole
A high swing that allows the person to pass around the outside of the pole while releasing and recatching the ring with the opposite hand.

Inverted Full Twist Recatch
At the top of a high swing while inverted, a full twist is performed while passing the ring behind your back. Holland came up with this one. The rest of us can't even wrap our brains around it.

Chain Grab
Grabbing the chain instead of the ring for the swing.  Not recommended.  This is how Emanuelle dislocated his finger during the second SM rings competition.

Ring Walker
OK, extremely experimental here.  This involves climbing the chain, placing your foot into the ring and generating a swing big enough to allow you to step into the next ring.  Yep, we got way too much time on our hands here in SM.

Combination Moves
Continuous Invert
Performing an invert and staying inverted for a series of rings.

Forward Roll Straddle Recatch
Another one where you just have to watch the video – one of Max's favorites.

Forward Roll Leg Hook
A forward roll followed immediately by a leg hook. Flyaway Chris gets credit on this.

Forward Roll Single Leg Invert
Catching your leg on the chain for an invert as you roll through.

Ring Skip Forward Roll
A ring skip followed immediately by a forward roll. Flyaway Chris also gets credit on this.

Ring Skip Invert Dislocate
One of Bruno's signature moves.  After the ring skip, the invert is performed while still holding onto both rings.  The legs then swing down and through for a dislocate or inlocate before releasing the back hand.

Multiple Ring Skips
Alternating rings are set in motion for a series of ring skips.  I've seen Bruno hit three in a row.

The Gauntlet
A series of ring skips where alternating rings are set in a perpendicular motion so that if the timing is not perfect, the alternating rings will hit the swinger. Bob has way too much time on his hands.

Two people on the rings at the same time, typically on the same rings facing the same direction while pulling in unison.

Two people on separate rings meet at a central ring. One person lets go of their back hand and swings up to join the other. The two pull back together and swing for the next ring, but the person in back holds onto the back ring and drops off before grabbing the next ring, allowing enough momentum to make it to the next ring in the opposite direction. 

Inverted Pass
One person is inverted while performing a pass.  Brad and Eddie used to do this one on a regular basis.

Cut Through
After the backward pull, the person in the back swings between the two, ending up in front for the next ring catch.

Two people are swinging by one hand on adjacent rings. One person grabs a hand (or foot) of the other and pulls them up to their ring. The other person (now using two hands) pulls the first person to their own back ring.

Backward Switch
The person in back grabs the ring underhand, which allows them to pivot backwards, switching to the front.

Tandem Ring Skip
Two people performing a ring skip at the same time.  Bob and Jess are the only ones to hit this one so far.

Two people not on the same ring, but performing a synchronized routine several rings apart.

Sync Flyaway
Two people launch a flyaway simultaneously.

Buddy Pull
Two people on separate rings grab a center ring and use their momentum and pull to generate a high swing.

Dirty Dancing
Suggested for mixed partners.  The two are face to face as the girl wraps her legs around the man, lets go of her hands on the backward pull, and allows her upper body to swing down and around back up to the next ring.

Two people toss rings 2 and 3 in opposite directions before they run to...  er...  yep, gotta see this one on video as well.  The name denotes the VW logo that is made when the chains cross.

Buddy Skip
Essentially a VW, but you are tossing the ring to your partner on the fly.

Resembling "bullet time", two people grab a single ring and spin.  Grabbing each other's wrist and pulling in allows you to control the speed of the spin.

Chain Wrap
Two people approach each other from different directions with an opposite circular swing.  They allow their chains to wrap and continue wrapping until they meet.

Flying Rings
Originally an Olympic event, flying rings were also seen on Muscle Beach back in the 30's.  Although they can be performed on the traveling rings, they are intended for still rings which are closer together.  The swinger grabs two rings and either gets a push start or running start.  Hanging upside down in a pike position, the swinger pumps their legs up and down in rhythm of the swing – forcing the swing higher. Tricks are usually performed at the top of the swing while momentarily weightless. 

On the back swing, the swinger shoots their legs straight up and opens their arms a bit (depending on shoulder flexibility). The hands rotate outwards along with the shoulders to allow the body to swing through.  The swing is usually continued through until the swinger is once again in an inverted pike position.  This is all accomplished at the top of the back swing.  Most beginners try to perform the trick with a low swing, which actually makes it more difficult since you are never quite weightless.  The best way to learn most of these tricks is with a set of low rings where you can touch the ground.

Forward Dislocate
Same as the dislocate, but performed on the forward swing.  Care should be taken to fall through the trick instead of violently kicking through, which could lead to "peeling off."

The opposite of a dislocate.  This is typically performed by kicking your heels high behind you in a back swing.  On the top of the swing, your head rolls forward and your hands and arms rotate inwards, putting you once again into a pike position. Multiple rotations can be performed with this move.

Kip Roll
At the top of a forward swing, the legs are kicked upwards (as in a ground kip), but the body stays in a pike position as it rotates forward over the hands, ending up once again in a pike position. Multiple rotations can be performed with this move.

At the top of the forward or backward swing, the hands are brought to the waist, putting the swinger above the rings as they swing through.

Straddle Swing
While inverted, the legs are brought to the outside of the rings in a straddle.  This can also be performed after a half-twist at the top of the swing.

Hooking your feet in the rings and arching through.

On the back swing, the legs are kicked forward from the inverted pike into a straddle.  The hands let go for a split second to allow the legs to pass through before recatching the rings.

Any move which involves a flip off the rings.