help with rings and mushroom

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This is my first post.

I am a boys coach from Kalgoorlie Australia.

Our club now has 24 boys ranging from Beginners to Level 6.

My son is now in level 6 and I need some drills to help teach the inlocate and dislocate on rings. We are hoping to get height adjustable rings over the holiday break.

Are there any pre drills that can be done on the floor/mats, which would assist with proper technique and also to develop the required shoulder strength/flexibility.

Are there any pre drills on low height rings that can be taught to assist with learnings the inlocate/dislocate skill.

From what I have read he needs to keep his arms straight when inlocating and dislocating, what other body positioning is necessary to teach proper technique. Chest position? shoulders open closed? head position? pushing and pulling with arms? Dish or arch?

I also need some good mushroom drills. Looks like there are going to be changes to the boys program with the inclusion of mushroom work at most levels rather than just pommel horse. I have been getting boys to do side, front, rear supports on block on one arm. Have also tried swinging around in circle hanging on rings to get idea of the motion required. Can anyone else suggest any other strength/technique drills to assist. We don't have a bucket so that is not an option for training.

We don't have a mushroom that has a removable top to put on the floor. Would this be a useful thing to have?

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Jan 21, 2007
Baltimore, MD
There aren't really any secrets on mushroom; just have them do about a million circles and eventually they'll get good at them by accident. Just remind them to keep a straight body. The natural tendancy is to hollow too much; I tell my boys to try to lift their hips up in front and their heels up in back. As for the level 6 flairs, I always tell my kids that the action is on the sides, not the front; they should focus on a high kick on the sides, and avoid kicking forwards as they come around the front (a typical beginner flair will kick hard to the front, causing a pike in the hips). For the L6 stockli, it's hard, but it's exactly what it looks like. There aren't any hidden tricks to it.

Inlocates and dislocates are a bit trickier, and different coaches will give you different answers. The way I see it, they are the same as regular swings as far as body position; tight hollow any time the feet are in front, and tight arch any time they're in back. For inlocates and dislocates, I'd overshoot that a little while training, though.

To put it in more concrete terms: an inlocate should be a tight arch until the feet have passed the cables. Then there should be a transition to a hollow to set up for a smoother swing through the bottom. An ideal inlocate essentially swings through an inverted cross, but any L6 who can do one like this probably doesn't belong at L6. Some coaches say to keep the chest as low as possible, some say to try to get it as high as possible while still allowing the heels to drive overtop. I would start out shooting for a low inlocate, and then as their swings get more powerful, they'll want to put more pressure on the rings to keep it from jerking at the bottom of the next swing. Most likely they'll pike overtop for the first six months at least; just remind them to drive their heels.

As for dislocates, it should hollow up to the top, then transition to a tight slight arch (more of a chest arch than a lower back arch) with the chest pressing down once they've passed the dislocation point. Again, it should in theory swing through an inverted cross, but a L6 gymnast probably won't be able to do it that well.

On dislocates; be ready to catch them and slow them down as they are comming back down. Until they develop a strong feel for the skill and can do it smoothly, you'll want to take as much pressure as you can off of their shoulders as they come down to prevent injury. If their arms bend in the dislocate, be especially ready to catch them; bent arm dislocates often result in a peel, and they'll drop straight to their heads if this happens. (I have one L9 boy who peeled on a dislocate three years ago and is still afraid of them)
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you can set up a portable rig that will fit and attach to and under a men's high bar or one of the rings on a set of still rings.

you don't need a floor mushroom till they have decent circles on mushroom and you want to start focusing on extension as you are introducing loops ( or before )

lots of support strength, on rings, walking from side to side on beams, or around the horse, or across the PB. you can also do seal drags across the floor with your feet in frisbees in a nice hollow position or crab walk drags

for rings, you need to make uber flexible shoulders so eventually you can build a nice swing. dislocates and inlocates aren't very difficult if you train big swings but until they are they will be pretty rough looking. train the swing to be big and then rolling in or through is fairly simple.

we do a superman hold on the end of beams. lie down on the beam roughly on your chest, you can lie down on your guts but eventually i want them on their chest. lift the body to horizontal into a tight arch, eventually we train this to get higher and higher way past horizontal as this is the position we want to be in on the back swing ( the gymnast hugs the beam just like doing a reverse hyper on the table or pommel horse )

another is the body lever/candlestick. the base of beams works good for these or the base of PB or PH. arms are held straight, shoulders in the ear, they first learn how to the hold candle position hollow completely inverted and eventually lower this to horizontal. you can also do leg lifts to candle and and lower and eventually straight body up and down

you can also do these on a wedge mat. however, the gymnast must be prepared to roll over their head so it's not the greatest thing for newbies as they will smoosh over their faces. go downhill for inlocate position and uphill for candle position ( front part of swing ).

for dislocates, you can also do wide arm back extension roll, hands in fist. maybe you could do forward rolls from wide arm HS, but I've never tried that with kids before as I handspot the inlocates until they learn to be patient enough to not roll through early and let the swing peak. you can set up a set of low rings and mat stack and do it to their back or front.

for inlocates i like to hand spot a lot of german hang ( bottom of skin the cat ) to tight arch through back lever to inverted hang. it teaches them to squeeze their butt. obviously you have to work back lever from inverted to horizontal and back. eventually you work skin the cat pike to back lever and then arched body to back lever to invert. lots of shape strength. it's not neccessary to be this strong to have a good inlocate but it helps. strength and flexibility, over and over.

for shoulder flexibility, basically a lot of stick pass throughs in overgrip and undergrip and mixed grip. lots of skin the cats, shoulder flexion/extension from sitting in L and reaching behind them and doing cat stretch. you can also practice simply hangs from the bar and doing 1/2 turn and full turns on one arm across the bar ( something my shoulders don't like anymore ).
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Thanks Geoffrey and BlairBob. Will definately try these out after our 2 month Xmas break. Boys will need heaps of strength work for the first month and I will include the drills you have suggested, they sound great.

I am finding that the biggest problem with Mushroom is that the boys seem to be able to get to 3/4 around, but they can't get any further. At the 3/4 mark they are not leaning over the pommel and seem to be almost pushing away instead.

I have tried to explain that their weight needs to be over their supporting arm but they just don't seem to get it.

Looks like there is going to be lots of practice, practice, practice on mushroom!

As for rings I think I have this fear of my son peeling off and landing on his head, or coming over jerky and tearing something. Once he has actually done it, he will probably be fine.

He is not ultra flexible in the shoulders and this is definately something he needs to work on. He is currently playing cricket over the summer months. When he returns to gym he will probably have one really flexible shoulder (his bowling arm) and one unflexible shoulder. That should make rings very interesting!!


Make him do the shoulder stretches at home after he wakes up and before he goes to bed. Just do the shoulder pass thru's on wake up and before sleep and stretch the shoulders then for 30-60s.

If they are small enough, you can walk them through the circle and show them how it is incorrect to be leaning too much or pushing away. Bucketwork sort of solves this.


I think you are right about the daily stretching.

For the last couple of years we have trained 10 months of the year, Two shorter sessions and one longer session each week. Next year we will be changing to two longer sessions each week (had to accomodate increase in numbers).

The downside of this is not stretching 3 times a week. Will definately have to do a bit of stretching each day.

We have only been contentrating intensely on mushroom for about 8 weeks. I have walked them around and shown the body positions. I think it is just a learning curve for them. The bucket sounds like a useful training tool. They could learn the handplacements and body positions without having to work so hard on using strength.

Will work on the strength activities after the break I am sure this will help. Luckily the Beam and the pbars are right next to the mushroom! This should keep them busy while they are waiting for their turn, which is always important in boys gym. Nothing worse than a line of boys waiting for their turn!
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