Whether you’re training for freestyle calisthenics,  gymnastic strength, or just looking fantastic, the dip is a key exercise.

As one of the most effective ways of strengthening the chest, shoulders, and triceps, you’ll want to get good at dips. That’s why we’ve put this article together!

Combining dips with pull-ups also provides the fastest way to train your whole upper body, and even builds mobility through the shoulders.

Today we’re going to help you understand what you need to dip well, and how to build it through progressions. Simple and easy – in 5 minutes, you’ll be on your way to effective dips.

Starting Out: What a Dip Takes

You need to know what you’re aiming for – here are the key factors that make for a good dip.

1.      Flexibility

This is obvious: if you don’t have the flexibility to perform a full-range dip then you shouldn’t be doing them.

The demand on the shoulders is rather tough for beginners, so it makes sense to focus on this while you’re getting stronger.

There are a few key ways to build flexibility and mobility:

Image result for pull up mate dip

2.      Control

This isn’t just about gaining shoulder and chest control. The dip is supported by the muscles of the wrist, core, and upper back.

A good dip means these are stable and reliable during the dipping movement. You need to build full-joint strength and control throughout.

The best way to build control is through a progression of similar lowering and pressing movements. As ever, we start simple and get more complicated over time:

  • Push-ups: key to building shoulder strength and control for beginners
  • Hand-release push-up: great for learning how to control the upper back while pushing with the chest/triceps.
  • Ring push-ups: a great way of building the stability and control for dips, when controlled throughout.
  • Slow-eccentric ring push-ups: same as before, but with far more control and demand on the alignment of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
  • Foot-elevated dip: a great way to practice the dip without stressing the shoulders too much. Let the feet take your weight until you can perform the dip properly!
  • Banded dips: we don’t normally use bands for calisthenics workouts, but they can be a great way to feel the dip movement without too much stress, if you’re still struggling with the bottom position.

If you can get through these exercises, you’re probably ready to dip safely!

Image result for pull up mate dip

3.      Building Strength for Better Dips

The last progression is going to take you to being able to do a few dips. This section is about getting the most from your dips using progressions and getting stronger muscles.

Simply, these exercises are aimed at building strength and taking you from a few dips to being able to bang out sets of 10+ or add weight.

  • Decline push-ups: a simple way of building strength and range through the chest. The decline makes everything tougher.
  • Maltese push-ups: a wider, lower grip with externally rotated shoulders transfers great to the dip. This strengthens the bottom position and keeps the chest ready for more.
  • Decline ring push-ups: ring push-ups are great, and the decline version is fantastic for overall strength and stability. If you can do these, you can dip effectively!
  • “Bench” dips: this isn’t as challenging as the decline ring push up, but it is specific to the dip, conditions the shoulders, and is a great finisher for a massive muscle pump. Everyone wants to be jacked.

If you can progress through the first 2 sections of this guide – and add in exercises from section 3 once you can do a few dips – you’re well on your way to massive dips.

Image result for pull up mate dip

This is an exercise that has to be treated with respect: dips are a challenge and put you in some positions that might be unfamiliar.

Getting the most from dips, and any form of calisthenics, is about using the right progressions. Now you’ve got the info, we’re excited to see how your dip comes along!