The ring dip is a fundamental bodyweight movement seen in competitive fitness events, gymnastics, and bodywight training. Performing dips on rings forces the body to create tension, stability, and increase body control to properly (and safely) perform the movement.
In the below ring dip progressions guide, we detail out the 10 exercises you should master in order to learn how to do strict ring dips properly and safely.
Ring Dip Disclaimer
It important to note that the ring dip referred throughout this article is the strict ring dip, NOT kipping. Failure to demonstrate control and strength in strict gymnastic versions prior to kipping movement can result in injury, joint and connective tissue stress, and poor technique.
Additionally, individuals with shoulder injuries should be cautious when performing this movement, especially in unstable and kipping situations. Failure to properly demonstrate mobility, joint control, and strength can result in injury.
Ring Dip Progression Guide
Below is a systematic approach the learning, coaching, and developing a safe and strong ring dip (strict).
1. Push Up
The push up is one of the most fundamental bodyweight exercises out there. It teaches body control, upper body strength, core stability, and can be easily transitioning into more complex bodyweight movements. Below is a video demonstration on how to perform a perfect push up.
2. Ring Push Up
Once you have mastered the floor push up, it is time to transition you onto the rings. This transition will force you to become stability in the shoulder complex, find body awareness, core stability, and learn how to move and grip the rings. Below is a video demonstration on how to perform the the ring push up.
3. Strict Bar Dip
Learning the dip movement on fixed, stable bars is key to developing proper joint mechanics, muscle hypertrophy, and strength in the upper body (triceps, chest, shoulders, back).
4. Tempo Bar Dip
This is a more controlled variation of a bar dip, one that has the lifter remain in control on a cadence both in the eccentric and concentric portions of the lift. Furthermore, you can have the lifter pause at various position (bottom, half way, top) to acquire angular specific strength and stability which will be needed at later stages in the progression.
5. Kipping Bar Dip
While we are looking to learn the strict ring dip, kipping on a bar can have its benefits. For starters, it makes the movement happen quicker, forcing the lifters to learn to control momentum and the speed of the movement, all while establishing a better relationship with the body/bar. The increased loading on the joints and tissues due to the more violent kip and eccentric component (assuming the down portion is faster) can also help to overload this dip movement.
6. Ring Support Holds (Bottom Position)
Learning how to stabilize the body on the rings in the bottom of the dip is critical to pectoral (chest) and shoulder (tissues and joints) health. Failure to find control, strength, and stability at the end range of motion can often result in injury to the connective tissues and ligaments in the shoulder, as well as improper joint tracking and alignment.
7. Ring Support Holds (Top Position)
Learning how to support oneself at the top of the dip is just as critical as learning at the bottom. Too often lifters will resort to supporting oneself on shrugged shoulders, internally rotated joints, and sub-optimal pectoral and triceps involvement. Learning how to use the core, pectorals, triceps, and upper back to stabilize is key to injury prevention and learning the ring drip.
8. Band Assisted Ring Dip
The band assisted ring dip is a regressed/modified version of the ring dip, similar to using a band in the assisted pull/chin up exercise. By placing a band, you manipulate a lifter’s bodyweight, typically making is easier at the bottom of the dip and vice versa. This can help weaker lifters learn the mechanics and slowly develop proper technique and muscle mass necessary for the strict ring dip.
9. Tempo Band Assisted Ring Dip
Similar to the tempo bar dip, the tempo ring dip is a slowly controlled ring dip done to specific cadences. Learning how to control the smaller muscle and motor unit is key to maximizing muscular control and hypertrophy in this movement.
10. Ring Dip
At this point, you should have learned proper body positioning, stability and control, and develop the muscle memory strength to apply force throughout the entire range of motion in the dip. Below is a video demonstration on the ring dip (strict).
Learn More About Ring Dips
This isn’t the first article we ran on ring dips, and it surely won’t be the last! Check out these previous articles and guides on ring movements and other bodyweight classics.
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