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Bodyweight Dip Progression


Okay so i have a friend who was really into bodybuilding in college but he slowly stopped lifting and and then eventually stopped all together. After i moved back into town 3 years ago and expressed an interest in it he took me under his wing and taught me the basics. But its been a long time since he's even touched a barbell and unfortunately he is really really out of shape.

Now that its three years later i know more than him and he comes to me for advice lol. But seriously this guy is like a father to me and i really wanna help so i help with his diet and training but he has a vey limited amount of equipment ie. two benches, an O barbell with plates dumbells a parrelel bar an ez curl bar and a dip/pull up station. I wanna include dips into his workouts but he cant do them. So does anyone have a good progression system i could employ?

Much appreciated,


why cant he do them? Is he just not strong enough to do a BW dip?

He could start out by doing bench dips. once those get really easy have him elevate his feet. once those get really easy add a plate or two onto his lap. once those get really easy he should be able to get a few BW dips.

^^Thats a possible solution if he doesnt want to buy any more equipment. If he is ok with buying stuff he could get a few sets of bands and do band assisted dips, lessening the resistance level of the bands until he no longer needs them.

hopefully this helps


Probably starting with bench dips would help. Also static holds on bars. Once he can do 3 - 5 dips on bars then "Greasing the groove" is the way to go imo.

EDIT: Also what bug said lol.


Same as pull ups. Negatives until he can do one full rep


I tied that lol he cant even do negatives.


Then dips isnt something he needs to be worrying about. If you cant perform a few decent reps in the form of negatives with Just bodyweight, then there's an issue. EVen if you could squeeze out a couple, im sure the form in said situation would just be awful. Without an assisted Dip machine, id say your best bet is to just actually build a chest for a few months with him, develop some strength, and THEN give negatives a shot.


just needs to get stronger chest and tris first. Dips not necessary anyway


No point in forcing it. Close grip bench, chest-tris work, and dropping some weight.

When I saw the thread's title I first thought: "hmm progress in bw dips = gaining 10 kg-s". Yet, it seems, perhaps the opposite would help in this case. :o)


Thanks guys i figured it would just be best to avoid them and build a good foundation but its always good to get more than one opinion.


Hummm, sounds like witchcraft to me.....


As people have said, work the chest/tri for now, but also work on getting his BW down a bit. You can normally drop 10 pounds of fat far faster than you can add 10 pounds to your CGBP/Dip (especially if he is as out of shape as you say).


I'd recommend against bench dips, they totally destroy my shoulders. And I think they have minimal carry over, last time I did bench dips it was with my feet elevated and 75kg on my lap yet I am truly shit at parallel bar dips of they really had a lot of carry over shouldn't a good bench dip mean I would be good at dips?

Plus my shoulder still hurt from it lol.


If he specifically wants to build up his dips that you could try:

1) Place a box, step, or other sturdy raise surface in the pull-up/dip station high enough so that he can stand on it with his arms fully extended (like he's at the top of a dip). Then have him perform the dipping motion, but use his legs to assist him in completing his reps. Also, have him really focus on form here and make sure that he's trying to perform his dips exactly like he would without the assistance of his legs.

These could also be combined with dip supports, where he would just pick up his feet (if using a box,step, etc...) or jump up into a dip and try to hold the top support position for time. I'd suggest using about 50% of his max hold time for as many sets at it takes to reach 60 total seconds of hold time. This will help to strengthen up his connective tissues in his elbows/wrists and get him used to supporting his weight. Hold off on these though until he can hold the support position for at least 15 seconds.

At first he may need to use his legs a fair bit for assistance, but with time he'll need to use them less and less. Once he needs minimum assistance move on to

2) Negative BW dips. Probably familiar with these, but if not have him jump to the top of a dip and then try to slowly lower himself to the bottom of a dip. At this point he'll put his feet down to catch himself and then repeat for the desired number of reps. He should eventually strive to be able to lower himself under complete control for a full range of motion in about 5 seconds.

Once he can do say 3 sets of 5 negative dips with a 5 second negative, have him move on to

3) Bodyweight dips. He may only be able to do 2-3 at first, but with continued practice his rep numbers will improve.

Once bodyweight dips become fairly easy he can

1) add weight
2) move on to more difficult versions of bodyweight dips

Good luck


So he used to be a bodybuilder you used to look up to, and he cant even do one BW dip?
Whats wrong with him?



He's 48 years old and hasnt trained seriously in like 15 years...that and his diet is terrible so he packed on alot of fat


Lol i dont even know what to say to that.


Thats a lot of good info thanks man.


when he goes to do a dip, stand behind him and have him bend his knees so that you can hold his ankles and the can use his legs slightly to help push him up, get it?


I tried that already but his dipping station is too low...thats how i have him do pull ups.