Can You Complete Ant Middleton’s Gym Rings Workout?

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You probably don’t need us to tell you Ant Middleton – former SBS man turned adventurer, author and TV personality – is tough. Whether it’s his career in the Army or the challenges he’s taken on since, including climbing Mount Everest, there’s plenty on Middleton’s CV to testify to that fact.

But even if you knew none of that, you’d be able to ascertain that Middleton enjoys a challenge from the fact he regularly puts himself through the gym rings workout below. And he takes his gym rings with him all over the world to make sure he always has the option to do it.

“It’s what I used to do in Afghanistan,” says Middleton. “All I took to Afghanistan was gymnastic rings. I could tie them to stairs, anything.”

Ant Middleton’s Gym Rings Workout

The workout is broken up into three parts with the rings set at different heights for each. In each set of an exercise you’ll be aiming for 20 reps, and you can take breaks during them if you need to (we’d need to). The good news is that this workout is pretty short: it should only take you 15 to 20 minutes in total, unless you require a lot of breaks.

“Concentrate on quality over quantity,” says Middleton. “For example, the second time you get to the dips you’re probably going to be able to do around 15 quality reps, so stop, give it a good shake-out and do another five. The third set you might do 12 and eight, then ten and ten in the fourth set.”

Part 1

“Start off with the rings close to the ground with chest exercises,” says Middleton. “I do 20 press-ups, followed by 20 flyes. Then a 30-second rest. Do that four times.”

1A Press-up

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 0sec

Get into a high plank position with your hands in the rings. Lower your chest towards the ground, then push back up.

1B Flye

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 30sec

From the high plank position take your arms out to the sides to lower your chest towards the ground. Then bring them back underneath you to raise your body again.

Part 2

“For the next part I raise the rings and do 20 dips, 20 biceps curls, and 20 triceps extensions,” says Middleton.

Set up your rings at around chest height for the next round of exercises, which focus on your arms. Once again you’ll do four rounds of 20 reps of each exercise, resting for 30 seconds at the end of a round.

2A Dip

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 0sec

Support yourself on the rings with your arms extended by your sides and your feet off the ground. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then push back up.

2B Biceps curl

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 0sec

Hold the rings and lean back until they are supporting your weight. Bend at the elbow to pull your head towards your hands, keeping your body straight throughout. Lower slowly back to the start.

2C Triceps extension

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 30sec

Hold the rings in front of you with extended arms then lean forwards, bending your elbows until your hands are by the sides of your head. Push back up by straightening your arms to work the triceps.

Part 3

“Set the rings to the very top,” says Middleton. “Ten pull-ups, followed by ten pull-ups with your knees to your chest.”

Finish the workout by setting your rings above head height and taking on four rounds of these two exercises, taking a 30-second rest between rounds. At this point your muscles will be aching, but remember to keep focusing on the quality of your reps.

“It’s about being honest with yourself,” says Middleton. “I’m not going to do half a rep and collapse and count it as a rep!"

3A Pull-up

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 0sec

Hold the rings and pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the rings.

3B Pull-up with knees to chest

Sets 4 Reps 20 Rest 30sec

Perform your pull-up while holding your knees up to your chest.

Ant Middleton is a Garmin brand ambassador and the face of the Garmin Fenix 6 range. Visit to view the Fenix range

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.