T Nation

Counterbalance Machines (Dips/Chins)


#1

I've read before that these aren't very good to use at all... If one can't do chin-ups without support and can't do a respectable set of dips, wouldn't this perhaps be the training wheels to move toward doing these movements independently.

FYI, I'm completely uneducated on this, but I don't see why the hate...


#2

Why would you not use them… They only other alternative is a pull down which in my opinion do not train the Lats like a pull up. The only other way to do a pull up is assisted with bands or partner assisted and those are essentially the exact same thing without a decent way to measure progress. What is the logic behind not using it.


#3

Counterbalance machines are just a tool like every other exercise/machine. There is a time and place for this tool, just like there is a time and place for the barbells or dumbbells.

If you are using this tool as the main component of your lifting program, then it is probably not a good idea. If you are using it as a tool to progress to body-weight dips without assistance, then yes it’s a great tool and great decision.


#4

You can also use bands for bodyweight dips. What I personally did was just use a low box behind me that I rested my feet on, and used them for assistance.

For pullups, you can do something similar, giving partial assistance with your feet off a box. You can also jump and practice slow eccentrics.


#5

I’d prefer using a band instead of a counter balance machine. The reason, without getting too complicated, is that a band follows the strength curve (more help at the bottom, less at the top) and a machine gives the same amount of help throughout the movement.

If you try chins with a band vs a machine you can see that a band feels a lot more natural than the machine does.


#6

Thanks fellas… As for asking why not use them, I suppose that was my question. I see the value of using them along with the band assisted.

Just want to become proficient, and I have enjoyed the volume that counter-balanced has allowed me to complete without completely taxing myself. I will definitely ween myself off, but I just need a starting point.

John