If you want to build the muscle and strength neccesary to do more dips, this article will get you there.
The dip is a huge bang for your buck upper body exercise in developing strength and size in all the muscles used for pushing. Now that you know how to do it, the next step is to make sure that you do sets of 10 properly. If you think you’re a tough guy, just scroll to the bottom of the article, because I have something right up your alley.
Scenario 1: You can’t get all the way down and up.
Maybe you have long arms or whatever the reason maybe. There are a few easy ways to work up to this amazing exercise.
1) Bench Dips
I’m not a huge fan of any exercise getting away from the primary goal itself, but this is one of my few exceptions. Go ahead and put your hand on a bench with your butt right on the end. Scoot off with your legs straight and your hips bent and lower yourself all the way down and press yourself up. Now here’s the trick to helping it carry over. I want you to go down SLOW! It needs to take at least a 5 count, and I’m not talking your old hide and go seek 5. I’m talking a legitimate 5 seconds. Once you get to the bottom pause briefly and press up as fast as possible. Do as many as you can, but once you can hit 20, you should be ready to try to get on the bars again. This video should help you out.
2) Eccentric Dips
This is done just like the pull up. Grab onto the bars and jump up. Make sure you’re set and lower yourself as slowly as possible down to the bottom position. Once you get there, if you can’t push yourself up, put your feet down, jump back up and go again. You probably won’t be able to do too many of these, so I’d keep the reps to between 3 and 4. If you can hit 4, you should be able to do regular dips. This is how to do this.
3) The assisted method
You can use an assist machine or a band for this. Either you choose make sure you keep your body in a straight line. Don’t sit and stand using your hips to get up. You’re already being helped, so why cheat it? Here is how to use the assisted machine and the band to help. I wouldn’t recommend using a partner. There’s just too much in the way of leeway for cheating. Set yourself so you have to work to get better, and once you do progress to less resistance. If you can do 10 reps at the assistance level you’re at, then use less assistance until you get to a point where it’s all you.
Scenario 2: You can do dips and want to get better.
Well just like the others, my favorite way to program dips is to take ½ your PR and perform 4 sets. This is the same as what you’ll find in the Programming the Pull Up article. The next week, add a rep, and on week 3 and 4 repeat this with 5 pounds hanging off a dip belt. Over the 5 weeks of training you will add 5 pounds per week until you have 20 pounds hanging off your waist. We have seen huge improvement in numbers doing this, so give it a shot. It’s big time. This is a chart to show you the progression:
We also program this as a “Race to 100” with a partner. This is a great way to compete and get the athletes to work at a high volume. Don’t cheat though. No one wants to race someone who’s going to cut corners. All that does is prove you’re a jerk.
Maybe you want to up the intensity. If this is the case, add some weight to build muscle and get bigger. You can use anything from dumbbells and plates on a dip belt, chains over your shoulders, or even bands anchored to you and the ground. We have, in the past, worked up to a heavy 5 (so think about doing 5 sets total that builds up to your 5 rep max), and done chain drop sets. If you want to hit heavy 5’s and 3’s check out the Pull Up Programming article for how to cycle that. Check out the video for a few examples of how to add resistance here and go big with it!
Get after it and be creative, but don’t be a moron with this. This is a great exercise for developing strength and size in the upper body, but a lot of torque on your shoulders is never a good thing. So remember what Jay told you, in all these situations, better to be smarter than dumb.
To maximize your muscle and strength gains with this dip program 1R would recommend the following supplements: