Tip: Master the Russian Dip

Build your core and triceps strength, and work your way up to a muscle-up, with this unique exercise.

A Russian dip is more commonly seen on the parallel bars in gymnastics. Its main purpose is to build strength in the transition phase of a muscle-up, which brings you from underneath the bar to above. The Russian dip is basically the missing link of the muscle up. If you can do 100 pull-ups and dips it won't matter if you lack the strength through the middle.

Not only does it make you look like a badass, but the constant tension you're under when performing sets of Russian dips is phenomenal for stimulating growth and strength in the arms through a full range of motion. It promotes great shoulder extension, which is an area that's often left out when performing dips due to partial reps.

Because the Russian dip requires you to maintain a strong core and manipulate your entire bodyweight, it basically becomes a full-body exercise and helps to increase your proprioceptive awareness.

Six sets of eight reps as slow as possible will be enough to make you wince every time you try to straighten your arms for the next two days. Depending on your level, you could use them as a drop set after weighted dips, or if you want to really step it up, a finisher of elevated push-ups after your Russian dips will really leave you not knowing where to put your guns.

How To Do It

  1. Set up two boxes (or benches if you have no boxes) shoulder-width apart. Ideally, stack them to shoulder height so your feet are off the floor. To scale, simply reduce the height and use your feet to take weight off of your arms.
  2. Put your weight onto your forearms, depress your shoulders, keep your neck long, keep your abs tight, and lean back away from your hands.
  3. Transfer your weight towards your hands and lift your elbows so that you're in the bottom of a dip position.
  4. Keep your elbows in close to your body and press out of the bottom until your elbows are locked out straight.
  5. Lower back down to the bottom of the dip and GENTLY lower your elbows back down to the starting position.

Don't forget to do a thorough warm-up before performing the Russian box dip, especially for your shoulders and your wrists.

Tom Morrison is a British weightlifting coach, martial artist, and CrossFit trainer and competitor. Tom works with athletes on prerequisite movement capabilities for optimal strength, performance, and reduced risk of injury.  Follow Tom Morrison on Facebook