Ring Dips (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)

Ring Dips are one of the most effective exercises for building upper body strength. I would place them right up there with Bench Press and Pull-ups in their effectiveness in building both strength and mass.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Ring Dips including some specific coaching points and a few alternatives in case you don’t have access to rings.

How To Do Ring Dips

Equipment Needed

  • Gym Rings
  • Squat Rack or something else to safely hang your rings from*.

Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders (Anterior Delt)
  • Triceps

Step By Step Instructions

  • Set your rings up on your rack. This process will vary based on your rings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
  • Set your rings just above waist height. This will allow enough room for your feet not to hit the ground while doing reps, but not so high you feel you have to jump up into your first rep.
  • Starting position is hands on rings, arms extended, knees slightly bent and feet crossed (crossing feet is optional but does help with unwanted swinging in my experience).
  • Descend down by bending the elbows and slightly leaning forward.
  • Lower yourself under control until the triceps become parallel with the ground and then drive yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

*Need some creative options for hanging your gym rings? Here are 5 ways to hang gym rings at home.

The biggest mistake I see with dips is a poor range of motion. If someone is struggling to be able to do reps, the easiest solution is to simply not lower yourself into a full rep, but this is incorrect. If a lifter cannot perform a full rep they should switch to one of the variations listed below.

The other issue I see my athletes run into is unwanted swinging front to back while doing reps. Stay under control, keep a consistent rep path, bend the knees and cross the feet. These are all solutions that I have seen help eliminate swinging while doing Dips.

Benefits of Ring Dips

Ring Dips provide a number of benefits, including:

  1. Improved upper body strength and endurance: Ring Dips require the athlete to lift their own bodyweight, which can help to increase strength and muscle endurance in the triceps, shoulders, and chest.
  2. Improved balance and stability: Because the rings are unstable, Ring Dips require the athlete to maintain balance and control while performing the exercise. This can help to improve overall stability and balance.
  3. Greater range of motion: The rings can move freely, allowing the athlete to lower their body further down than they would be able to with bar dips. This can be beneficial for increasing shoulder flexibility and mobility.
  4. Cardiovascular benefits: Ring Dips are a high-intensity exercise that can elevate the heart rate and provide a cardiovascular workout if performed at high volume or as part of a circuit.

Overall, ring dips are a challenging and effective exercise for strengthening the upper body and improving overall fitness.

Ring Dip Variations

Dips, similar to Pull-Ups, are not easy for a beginner. On the flip side, advanced lifters may get to a point where even sets of 25 dips start to not be challenging enough. Here are a few variations for both sides of this spectrum.

Bench Dips

Bench Dips

Another alternative for Dips if you’re struggling (or if you don’t have Dip Attachment) is Bench Dips.

Use a bench (or a sturdy box), place the heels of your hands on the edge of one side of the bench and extend your legs straight out in front of you.

Start with your arms extending and then lower yourself down until your triceps become parallel to the floor. When you reach the bottom of the rep, drive yourself back to the starting position. Make sure to keep your back close to the bench throughout.


Dips (1)

If you have a dip attachment for your rack or a standalone dip station, Dips are a slightly easier version of Ring Dips that are still extremely effective.

They’re easier because a dip attachment is more stable and thus requires less balancing while doing reps. If you’re not quite ready for Ring Dips yet, but Bench Dips are way too easy – Dips should be the next progression in your development.

Weighted Dips

Weighted Dips (1)

If you don’t have rings and Dips have lost some of their challenge then it may be time to progress to Weighted Dips. There are many different ways you can add extra resistance to your Dips (Weighted Vest, Chains, etc). Choose whichever implement you have access to and are comfortable using.

Some examples are a weighted vest, squat/bench chains, holding a dumbbell between your feet or using a weight belt with a chain designed to hold weight plates.

More Links and Info

For more great exercises focusing on the biceps and triceps, check out the Arm Farm section of the Exercise Library.

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