Tip: 3 Steps to the Ultimate Bodyweight Push

Use these pushing progressions to work up to the most challenging exercise. You'll build a bigger chest in the process.


Ring dips are hard and most lifters lack the patience to build the foundational upper-body strength they require. They rush and skip steps. Don't be one of them unless you want to get injured and halt your progress.

Work your way through this simple progression to build elite upper-body strength and finally master the ring dip.

Step One: Perfect Your Push-Up

Be able to do 5 sets of 15 reps.

They must be unbroken and done with strict form. If you can't do 5x15 push-ups in 15 minutes or less, you have no business trying to learn any kind of bodyweight dips.

Master this first. Strict push-ups lay the foundation for bodyweight pushing strength. It's that simple. Avoid cheating reps by keeping your elbows slightly out and away from your body. Maintain constant tension on the pecs, triceps, and front delts.

Step Two: Perfect Your Bar Dip

Be able to do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Strict dips – even if you're only using your bodyweight – are significantly harder than strict push-ups. But if you've built the requisite strength by mastering push-ups first, you should have no issue completing 3 sets of 3-5 perfect bar dips.

If you struggle, then do more sets of low reps before even attempting the 10-rep sets. Make sure you're lowering yourself to at least 90-degrees each rep. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 perfect reps to 90 degrees, move to the next progression.

Step Three: Perfect Your Parallel Bar or Box Dip

Be able to do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Now do dips with parallel bars or boxes. Remember, strength is only gained in the range that it's trained. So it's important that your shoulder passes well below the elbow every rep for 3 sets of 10 perfect, full ROM reps.

Nail this before moving onto the ring dip.

Now You're Ready

The ring dip is by far the most advanced version of bodyweight dips because of the instability. However, if you've mastered the progressions, you should have the ability to overcome their unstable nature. Like any other bodyweight dip, emphasize full range of motion.

Once you're strong enough, increase the challenge by keeping the rings pinned at your hips and turning your thumbs out at the top of the rep.

Why You Need Ring Dips

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Tanner Shuck is a former Division 1A football player and accomplished CrossFit athlete. He specializes in competitive fitness, with emphasis on training absolute and relative strength. Tanner is an online coach and personal trainer based out of Dubai, UAE. Follow on Instagram