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Squats + Dips + Chin Ups Enough?

Has anyone on this site actually run this program? What do you think of it?

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eehhh… for just general over all health it would be alright short time IMO.


Ya, for just general fitness it looks pretty good on paper.

*assuming some sort of progression/overload is used I can see it working for a while.

**If you throw in something for the posterior chain it could be a great minimalistic approach.

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Far better than nothing. You could do worse.


Depending on the person it could be more than adequate.

If your a fatty like me the shoulders and elbows might balk at dips all the time.

Well technically everthing is getting hit a little bit right…

This would be a good start for someone who is really out of shape and is unable to perform a proper workout for a full 30-60min, that being said this kind of person would probably have to do assisted dips and chin-ups which takes a lot of the little muscles out!

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Yeah, it really depends on what they would like to achieve with the program. I did a minimalist type program for a few months when I didn’t have much time to train or access to much equipment. I used those three lifts plus presses and high pulls from the floor. I actually got pretty good results from it. I’d personally recommend adding two lifts like that (overhead lift and big posterior chain lift) and it would be a pretty complete program.

That reminded of this video:

Basically add deadlifts and you’re all good. Then you just play around with the parameters weightsxsets depending on your goals and your progresssion/program. He also said to use front squat but not sureif that’s more efficient.

I think overhead pressing is quite important too, but Bill Starr recommended doing weighted dips along with OHP to develop the OHP… maybe one would be ok doing heavy dips only for general fitness ?

What program? That’s just three big basic exercises.

Depending on the actual programming, it could be solid for quite a while, especially if the goal is “to stay fit”. You could even play around with things to prioritize one lift per day. Day 1 - Squats, then superset dips and chins. Day 2 - Dips, then superset squats and chins. Day 3 - Chins, then superset squats and dips.

Charles Poliquin has talked about the German Body Composition plan:
"I simply challenged them to do 3 circuits of the following:

12 squats (at 12RM)
Rest 60 seconds
12 chins (at 12RM)
Rest 60 seconds
12 deadlifts (at 12 RM)
Rest 60 seconds
12 dips (at 12 RM)"

Not doing deads would, in theory, make it easier (and slightly less effective), but the principles are still there.

Also, the old school 20-rep squat routine had an abbreviated version that Dr. Strossen recommended.

3 Days a Week:
Bench press 2x12
Squat 1x20
Chest pull (kinda like a pullover) 1x20
Bent over row 2x15

That’s not that far off from squats, dips, and chins arranged a certain way.

It’s not like there’s anything wrong with the program itself, but I always doubt the level of commitment from people who want to do shit like this.

I mean let’s face it - the only reason you’d want to do this is because it’s easier than doing a proper routine. Folk who want to do the minimum aren’t likely to stick with it.

It’s like when people want to get lean so they just cut carbs like that’ll do something magical all by itself. They want to believe all it takes is one small change and that’ll be enough.

The program would get you in shape, but I think that if you’re the sort of person who’s looking for an easy fix like that you’ll just crap out anyway, regardless of the routine


Get out of my head.


I think it largely depends on how good your friend is at those movements (especially dips & p’ups)…same goes with push-ups only work-outs etc really…if your friend can already do 20+ dips etc this kind of routine isn’t going to be great, if he can only do 5 or 6 + he switches to weighted p’ups etc after her can hit 20 reps it could work really well for quite some time.

Of course, if this had been posted specifically in the bbing section my response would be a lil different.

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I don’t get why you would want to limit yourself to just this. I understand just doing barbell compounds and body weight, (in the even you only have a squat stand, a bar, and weight) but I always think articles like this are made for people who do too much and have no clue what they’re doing. Kind of like when wendler started triumvirate style assistance. He just wanted you to think more critically and not focus on minutia. Just do your main work, hit some accessory work, and leave. It’ll work, sure, but I don’t get why you’d do it for a long period of time.


I agree with a lot of what you have said here, but saying all that I think its not a bad thing to strive for “maximum results with the least amount of work”.

Most of us don’t make money from lifting and have busy lives to contend with. Recently I have been playing around with ideas to get the maximum results from minimum work.

For example if you could choose one of the two following scenarios to fit in with your current lifestyle , I think most would choose option B:

Option A: 12 hours of gym and food prep etc, giving you 90% of a “particular result”.


Option B: 8 hours of gym and food prep etc, to achieve 80% of a particular result.

nb: Im not saying that these hours correspond to the results achieved, but I am using this as an a example of how I am looking at training at the moment.


I totally agree with you, Birdy, but I think we’re talking about different things. I probably wasn’t clear enough.

Wanting your training to be as time efficient as possible is something I think we all strive for, but what I find with people looking for as minimalist an approach as this is they’re really just trying to find an excuse to do very little, and so don’t really have the mindset to do shit like this long term.

I don’t know the dude the OP is talking about, so I could very easily be wrong, but it has always been my experience that the “only” guys don’t stick with it. Like, I only need to do squats, dips and chins; I only need to cut carbs; etc.

Don’t get me wrong - I would love to be able to come into the gym to just do 3 exercises and that get me where I want to go, but it won’t, so I don’t.

How many guys off the street can do 10 perfect form dips and chins? Not many

How many can do a selection of random exercises with weights they felt comfortable with? Pretty much all of them.

To get the best out of the chin and dips program mentioned you would need to be proficient at chin and dips. Those who are not would very likely get frustrated and quit before they could get any benefit.

I would say though that if you did chins dips and squats only but applied good form, progression and could get past the boredom you would build a great physique.

I’d say, it depends on the goal and expectations.
If you program it with some brain and incorporate some kind of progressive overload, it can work for “a long time” (< for most people’s standard) and give results, I think.
Aim for a full body routine, 3/week, squat / dip / chin every day rotating with volume and intensity, pushing each day one exercise, keeping another “medium” and the third one toned down.
For chins and dips, ideally he should manage to get to the point where he can do them weighted for less volume once a week, then bodyweight with higher reps the other two times a week, to pack volume.

It’s not the kind of thing that will turn him into a fitness model or prepare him for a powerlifting meet, but for the average person with the generic goal in mind (being more fit, staying healthy, burning some fat and such) it’s something that can work for months or years if he likes it, especially if he starts out of shape and doesn’t workout like an asshole trying to kill himself.
It’s three exercises, hope he takes the minimal time required to learn technique and do them safely. If he’s training at home he can easily add in leg raises, kettlebell swings and band pull aparts (ideally, supersetting them with main work) once he has a solid base.

So just for reference my co-worker is in pretty good shape. He’s not huge, but he definitely has that athletic look. Tight shirts that abs poke thru type athletic lol.

The only reason I think it would work is if you look at some of those groups such as Bar Stars or whatever they all seem to have developed really muscular upper bodies with just dips, chins/pulls, push ups and all their variations. Usually what those guys are missing are legs lol. But high bar back squats take care of that in a hurry.

Overhead instead of dips, or just add overhead work.

Or if someone was wanting to program those 3 exercises as their heavy work, and maybe add in conditioning or lighter movements that includes other muscle groups.

If someone pushed a big weights for 8-20 reps in dips, chins, and squats, they would probably be quite strong and have a impressive physique.

This. With overhead work, and maybe one single leg exercise, you’d probably be good to go.