Push-Ups Vs Ring Push-Ups: Differences And Which Is Better?

Do you want to improve your upper body strength and muscular development? It’s time to explore the world of push-ups and ring push-ups if that’s the case.

We shall examine and contrast the advantages, distinctions, and factors of these two exercises—push-ups and ring push-ups—in this post.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with the information and wisdom necessary to select the workout that properly complements your fitness objectives.

There are many possibilities when deciding between push-ups and ring push-ups, which may be confusing. However, fear not! We’re here to guide you through this fitness conundrum.

By delving into the characteristics of these exercises, we’ll explore the muscles worked, benefits, difficulty levels, and even injury risks associated with push-ups and ring push-ups.

So, whether you’re a fitness enthusiast seeking variety or a beginner starting your strength-building journey, read on as we unravel the world of push-ups vs ring push-ups and empower you to make an informed decision about your training regimen.

What are Push-Ups?

A staple of strength training for many years has been the push-up, a basic bodyweight exercise. 

Push-ups can be modified to suit various fitness levels. Beginners can start with incline push-ups, where the hands are elevated on a stable surface, such as a bench or step.

On the other hand, advanced practitioners can challenge themselves with decline push-ups or by adding external resistance, such as a weighted vest or resistance bands.

Push-ups are an excellent exercise to include in your program since they improve core stability and overall body control while also assisting in the development of upper body strength and muscular growth.

Video Guide

How to Perform Push-Ups?

  1. Start by assuming a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground. 
  2. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels with your arms completely extended.
  3. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability throughout the movement.
  4. As you lower your body towards the ground, bend your elbows and allow them to flare out slightly.
  5. Lower yourself until your chest nearly touches the ground, or until you reach a comfortable depth. 
  6. Pause briefly, then push through your palms to extend your arms and return to the starting position.
  7. Keep in mind to breathe in as you raise yourself and breathe out as you lower yourself.

What is Ring Push-Ups?

Ring push-ups add a unique twist to the traditional push-up exercise, incorporating gymnastic rings to introduce an element of instability and challenge your upper body in new ways.

By suspending the hands on the rings, you activate additional stabilizer muscles and engage your core to a greater extent, enhancing overall body control and strength.

The instability introduced by the rings adds an extra layer of difficulty and engages muscles that may not be fully activated during traditional push-ups. 

Video Guide

How to Perform Ring Push-Ups?

  1. Firstly, you’ll need a set of gymnastic rings suspended at an appropriate height. Start by securely grasping the rings with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your palms facing downward.
  2. Extend your arms fully, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  3. As you lower your body towards the rings, maintain stability and control by engaging your core muscles.
  4. The rings will naturally move outward as your body descends, challenging your stability and requiring increased muscle activation.
  5. Aim to lower your chest as close to the floor as possible while maintaining proper form.
  6. Once you reach the bottom position, pause briefly, and then press through the rings to extend your arms and raise your body back up.
  7. Maintain control throughout the movement and focus on squeezing your chest and triceps as you push up.

Also Read: Cobra Push-Ups – A Complete Exercise Guide

Push-Ups Vs Ring Push-Ups: Muscles Worked

Muscles Worked: Push-Ups

Push-ups are renowned for their ability to target a multitude of upper-body muscles simultaneously.

During push-ups, the primary muscles that are worked include the triceps brachii, deltoids, and pectoralis major muscles. The triceps, shoulders, and chest muscles are popular names for these muscles.

These muscles work in synergy to control the movement and provide the pushing power required to lift and lower the body.

Additionally, push-ups also activate several other muscles as stabilizers. To keep a steady plank posture throughout the workout, the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques contract.

Rhomboids and latissimus dorsi, two back muscles, help stabilize the scapula and control shoulder mobility.

Muscles Worked: Ring Push-Ups

Ring push-ups take muscle activation to a whole new level by introducing instability into the equation.

In addition to targeting the same muscles worked during traditional push-ups, ring push-ups engage an array of stabilizer muscles to a greater extent.

The rings require increased effort from the smaller muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, including the rotator cuff muscles.

Furthermore, the instability factor of ring push-ups recruits more muscles in the core, including deep stabilizers like the transverse abdominis.

The biceps and forearms also come into play as they assist in maintaining grip and stability on the rings throughout the exercise.

Also Read: Aztec Push-Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

Push-Ups Vs Ring Push-Ups: Benefits

Benefits of Push-Ups


Push-ups, with their versatility and accessibility, offer a multitude of benefits for individuals of all fitness levels. Firstly, they promote upper body strength and muscular development, targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps. 

Push-ups can result in more muscular growth, better definition, and higher functional strength with regular exercise.

Additionally, as it is a bodyweight exercise, it is portable and suitable for training while traveling or at home.

They can be modified to accommodate various fitness levels, allowing beginners to start with modified versions and gradually progress to full push-ups.

Push-ups also contribute to overall body stability and core strength. As you maintain a straight line from head to heels during the exercise, your core muscles engage to provide stability and prevent sagging or excessive arching of the back.

Benefits of Ring Push-Ups

Ring push-ups offer unique benefits due to the instability introduced by the rings. As mentioned above, by performing push-ups on rings, you challenge your stabilizer muscles to a greater degree, improving overall stability and balance.

This heightened muscle activation helps to enhance joint stability, especially in the shoulder girdle, reducing the risk of imbalances.

Additionally, ring push-ups engage the core muscles more intensively as they work to maintain control and stability throughout the movement.

This can lead to improved core strength and better functional fitness, translating into enhanced performance in other exercises and daily activities.

At last, ring push-ups offer a wider range of motion than conventional push-ups.

Also Read: Do Push-Ups Help With Pull-Ups? Unlocking The Connection

Comparing Push-Ups and Ring Push-Ups

push-ups vs ring push-ups

By considering factors such as difficulty, muscle activation, stability, and injury risk, you can make an informed decision about whether to incorporate push-ups or ring push-ups into your training regimen.

Remember to choose exercises that align with your goals, fitness level, and individual preferences. Don’t shy away from experimenting with both variations to find the optimal balance for your upper body strength and development.

Difficulty and Progression

When comparing push-ups and ring push-ups, it’s essential to consider the difficulty and progression options for each exercise. Push-ups, while challenging for beginners, offer a solid foundation for building upper body strength.

As you become more proficient, you can progress by increasing the number of repetitions, improving form, or trying advanced variations such as diamond push-ups or plyometric push-ups.

On the other hand, ring push-ups introduce an element of instability that adds an extra layer of difficulty.

As you master ring push-ups, you can increase the challenge by adjusting the height of the rings or incorporating additional movements, such as ring dips or ring push-up variations.

Muscle Activation and Targeting

While both exercises target the chest, shoulders, and triceps, the muscle activation and targeting differ slightly.

Push-ups primarily focus on the larger muscle groups, providing a broader stimulus for overall upper body strength.

Ring push-ups while also targeting the same major muscle groups as the normal push-ups, with their instability, engage the stabilizer muscles to a greater extent, contributing to improved joint stability and balance.

Stability and Core Engagement

Push-ups require a stable base, but the ground provides a solid foundation. Ring push-ups, on the other hand, demand a higher level of stability due to the free-moving rings.

The rings challenge your core muscles, requiring enhanced engagement to maintain control and prevent excessive swinging or wobbling.

Joint Stress and Injury Risk

Push-ups performed with proper form and technique generally pose minimal stress on the joints. 

However, individuals with pre-existing shoulder issues may find ring push-ups more challenging due to the increased demand for shoulder stabilizer muscles.

It’s crucial to listen to your body, start with proper progressions, and consult with a fitness professional if you have concerns about joint health or injury risk.

Also Read: Comparing: Concentration Curls Vs Spider Curls

Choosing the Right Exercise for You: Push-Ups or Ring Push-Ups

Fitness Goals and Current Level

When deciding between push-ups and ring push-ups, it’s crucial to consider your fitness goals and current level of strength and stability.

If your primary aim is to build overall upper body strength, push-ups provide a solid foundation and can be modified to suit various fitness levels. They are accessible for beginners and can be progressed as you become stronger.

However, if you desire to challenge your stability, improve core engagement, and enhance joint stability, ring push-ups may be the ideal choice.

Ring push-ups require a higher level of strength and control, making them suitable for intermediate to advanced individuals who have developed a solid foundation of strength and stability through regular push-ups.

Considerations and Modifications

It’s essential to listen to your body and make necessary modifications to ensure safety and prevent injury.

If you’re new to push-ups or ring push-ups, start with modified versions to build strength and proper form. Increase the difficulty of the variations as your strength and stability increase.

Consider factors such as any pre-existing injuries, joint health, and mobility restrictions when selecting the appropriate exercise. 

Incorporating Both Exercises

Rather than viewing push-ups and ring push-ups as mutually exclusive, consider incorporating both exercises into your training routine.

They offer unique benefits and target muscles from different angles. By alternating between the two or combining them in a superset or circuit, you can maximize muscle activation, challenge different muscle fibers, and keep your workouts varied and engaging.


Push-ups and ring push-ups are both beneficial workouts to take into consideration when it comes to building upper body strength and sculpting a muscular chest and triceps.

Each exercise has a unique set of advantages and factors to take into account, letting you adjust your training strategy to your unique goals and degree of fitness.

Push-ups provide a versatile and accessible option that targets multiple upper-body muscles simultaneously.

They promote strength, muscle development, and core engagement while accommodating different fitness levels through modifications and progressive variations.

On the other hand, ring push-ups introduce an element of instability that challenges your stabilizer muscles and enhances overall body control and stability.

They are appropriate for anyone wishing to advance their upper body training since they call for more strength and stability.

When deciding between push-ups and ring push-ups, it’s crucial to consider your fitness goals, the current level of strength and stability, and any specific considerations or modifications needed.

Listening to your body, consulting with professionals if needed, and making gradual progressions will ensure a safe and effective training experience.

Remember, regardless of the exercise you choose, prioritize proper form, progression, and consistency in your training.

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