Our friends had some rock climbing hand holds hanging in their kitchen. All their guests played with them. I thought my husband would like some for his birthday. He was always trying them out, plus it would be continued physical therapy to regain strength in his shoulder after rotator cuff surgery. However, my friends had received them as gifts and didn’t know where to get them or what the exact terminology for them was. So, my husband almost didn’t get any because I had never seen them in any store and no one else seemed to know what they were either. After depleting my possible search terms on google, I accidentally found them mixed in with all the weird results I was getting. They are called ROCK RINGS!
There is nothing circular or ring-like about them. Whoever originally named them was not thinking of the basic usefulness of describing items by their actual features. Maybe it is like the use of the word “kleenex,” which is a brand name turned general vocabulary. The choice was probably made because of the similar way that gymnastic rings hang, but a lot of things hang. It’s just that I think more people who are not actually very interested in rock climbing would enjoy these clever toys for adults if they knew they existed – and how to find them.
But, why the kitchen? you may ask. And why these since we already have a TRX set up in the basement for workouts? Because we are in our kitchen a lot. By ourselves as a family. When visitors are over. A lot of time is spent in the kitchen area. Having the rock rings there lends them to fun and spontaneous enjoyment. While waiting for something to heat in the microwave or watching a pot boil, they can be used to stretch or do pull-ups, show off or be embarrassed. Conversations are started and people contemplate the possibilities.
Mounting them on the ceiling was not particularly easy. My husband wanted to do more than just screw them into wood. He was concerned the weight might work the screws out or strip the screw holes. He also had to be careful of the radiant water pipe heating in our ceiling, a fairly unique problem.
Unistrut became the foundation of his support system. He crawled up in the attic to measure the spaces between beams, 2 x 6 inch wood in our house. Then, he cut a piece of unistrut that he could bend and bolt between the beams. In order to bend the ends of the unistrut, he cut the upper parts of the “U” only, then folded them out flat out of the way. This let him turn the base of the “U” up against itself at a 90° angle. With this done at both ends, the unistrut fit snuggly between the beam and was bolted to them. (click on photo to enlarge)
Next, he drilled two holes in the plaster of the ceiling in a position aligned with the points in the unistrut where he wanted to attach the eyebolts (purchased at D&B Supply) from which the rock rings would hang. These 8 inch long eyebolts now extend just inside the kitchen, parallel to each other. Each rock ring is clipped to an eyebolt. They swivel nicely, allowing the most comfortable arm movement for whatever is being attempted. The location is central, but without blocking a major walkway.
I try to only use the rock rings when no one is looking. The first day the rock rings were installed, my husband encouraged my to try a pull-up. The results were dismal. I had really thought that with all the heavy duty digging I do in garden, some TRX exercises, as well as my swimming, I would do better than that. He tried not to show his disappointment, and simply encouraged me that even if I just hung from them, it would help with elongating my swim stroke. He also told me how I could work those muscles by helping minimally with my legs, letting my arms handle as much of the load as they can. Hopefully, I won’t get distracted with secretly working out while I am supposed to be stirring something. Since my arms get fatigued so rapidly, though, it probably won’t be an issue.
Meanwhile, I get a kick out of seeing various family members walk by and do something for a minute before moving on. Everything from full parallel body holds to single arm pull-ups has been tried. Hours of entertainment for under $30. Who else wants some?