Rings of Power is a book on using gymnastics or “still” rings to enhance strength fitness. It is written by Mike Gillette. I remember Mike from ‘back in the day’. He was a regular contributor to mma.tv’s “The Underground”. He was also featured early in Threat Response Solutions, dvds. Here is an excerpt of his resume on Dragondoor –

Former SWAT Commander and Executive Bodyguard, Mike Gillette is a relentless student of the human factors which allow people to succeed against overwhelming odds. In his line of work, these ‘odds’ have centered on threat management and peak performance training methods. His research and experiences have taken him through many different worlds and disciplines. They have ultimately produced a body of knowledge which has been put to use by clients ranging from armed professionals to ordinary people who must operate in extraordinary circumstances.

Mike’s knowledge was first put to the test after he was injured in a climbing accident in 1984. This came just several months after he had left active-duty service as an Army paratrooper to attend the University of Arizona on an ROTC scholarship. With a broken back and screws holding his ankles together, Mike was discharged from military service.

This was all hard to take for someone who had received perfect scores on every one of his Army fitness tests and had run his first marathon on a dare. The next four years were a combination of discipline, experimentation, and disappointments. But through diligent study, pain and hard work, Mike had restored himself physically to the point where he could enter the field of law enforcement. As distinguished graduate of his academy class and with several academy fitness records under his belt, Mike was selected to attend a police fitness-trainer pilot program. Mike excelled as a trainer, and would eventually become one of the most highly credentialed tactical trainers in the United States, with over 25 different Use-of-Force and Weapons Systems instructor designations to his name.”

In 1995, concurrent with his law enforcement and training duties, Mike returned to military service in a part-time role. Following a rigorous selection process, he was accepted into the 194th Long-Range Surveillance Detachment and full ‘jump’ status. This was a significant milestone for Mike, who had been told 11 years earlier by an Army surgeon that he would never run again, much less jump out of any more airplanes.

For over 25 years, Mike has been an ardent student of the martial arts. He has traveled extensively to train with some of the world’s foremost instructors, earning black belts in Filipino, Korean and American martial arts styles. Mike has appeared in martial arts magazines, books and videos and has provided performance coaching to competitive martial arts fighters.

Mike has, by necessity, pursued a life-long study of strength and conditioning methods. He served for several years as a Police Academy Fitness Trainer and later as a Physical Training Specialist for the Army National Guard. He has personally trained under such luminaries as Bob Hoffman, former Physical Education Faculty at West Point and former Director of the US Army’s Physical Fitness School; and Ed Thomas, one of the world’s leading physical culture experts.

More recently, Mike began training in the performance of strongman-style feats of strength, studying with such notable practitioners as Dennis Rogers and Jon Bruney. And to better understand the connection between mind and body, Mike has trained with Guy Savelli, best known for introducing unconventional operator enhancement techniques to the US Army Special Forces community and whose unique talents were the basis for the title of the film “The Men Who Stare at Goats”.

So when I was sent this book for review, I had some very high expectations. Perhaps they were too high.

What I liked –

Photography was impeccable. Form on drills, flawless. Clearly written and laid out. Dragondoor is getting awesome at putting together fitness books.

What I didn’t like –

Content. I thought this only covered drills that were fundamental to most Suspension Classes in the country. Mike is just a tough guy, hard core and it shows, but with his incredible resume, I thought there would be more. Not much in the leg training and while the upper body loading methods are novel and ‘hardcore’, a weighted vest could have sufficed. I don’t know if there are more books planned and Mike’s ultimate vision was a HUGE catalogue of training methodology or what. Perhaps this is just an introduction. The book is 101 pages before the advertisements.

Overall I’m a Mike Gillette fan. Perhaps my expectations are too high and this introductory manual is more in line with what trainees need. However I’m let a bit let down. You can check it out below if you like.

Rings of Power The Secrets of Successful Suspension Training—A Simple, Proven System for Building Sustainable Strength By Mike Gillette