Tip: 200 Reps for a Complete Upper Body

Superset these two exercises to build your back, chest, and arms. It's actually a pretty fun and challenging workout!

Most guys want a big chest, a wide back, and defined arms. Some fall short. Why? They add too much "fluff" to their workouts.

If you're natural and dedicate more than half of your exercises to isolation movements like chest flyes, curls, or tricep extensions, you're doing a lot of extra work without a whole lot of benefit.

If you're willing to put in the effort, you can achieve your goal upper-body with just two movements: ring dips and ring pull-ups. Using rings allows for more rotational force to be applied to your muscles as you go through a full range of motion. This "torque" will activate more musculature and give you more bang for your buck on each rep.

Another benefit is that your body will be able to move through a more natural range of motion. A straight bar or dip bar puts you in more of a "fixed" position which might lead to shoulder impingement.

Ring Dips

  • For ring dips, keep your elbows in tight. Think of pulling the rings in towards your body. This will prevent your arms from going wide and injuring your shoulder.
  • For extra chest work, turn your palms outward (supinate) at the top of your dip. This gives you the torque which will allow you to get an extra squeeze on the inner pecs.
  • No matter how strong you are, your arms will shake! You'll feel like you're having a seizure when you attempt your first-ever dip from the rings. It's a learned skill so be patient and take your time on each rep.

Ring Pull-Ups

  • To get the most muscle activation, begin in full extension with internal rotation of the shoulder.
  • As you pull yourself up, pull your elbows in tight towards the body. Engage your core by keeping your ribcage pulled down.
  • As you pull up, rotate your palms inward so they face you. This portion of the pull-up gives you more torque which will give you a stronger contraction in your lats and biceps.
  • Begin and end with full extension on each rep to get full lat activation.

A Complete Workout

You can make a complete workout out of these two movements by supersetting since dips and pull-ups are opposites of one another. This will allow you to get more work done in less time, and will give you one awesome pump. Doing this workout twice per week is a great start.

Just superset dips and pull-ups each set. Take about 2 minutes to rest between sets. Once you can complete all reps with good form, move on to the next classification (see below).

Sets and Reps

  • Beginner: 4 x 4 (16 dips, 16 pull-ups)
  • Intermediate: 6 x 6, (36 dips, 36 pull-ups)
  • Advanced: 8 x 8 (64 dips, 64 pull-ups)
  • Elite: 10 x 10 (100 dips, 100 pull-ups)
TJ Kuster is a certified athletic trainer (ATC) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), specializing in mobility and injury prevention. He coaches at Method Sports Performance in Bloomington, IL.