Dip Progression

An anatomical drawing of the muscles worked when performing dips.

Dips are a great upper body strength builder for wrestlers.

Additionally, they are fantastic at measuring relative (bodyweight) strength.

As you know, relative strength is a top predictor of strength for wrestlers.

And it makes sense, right?

The stronger your pound for pound strength is, generally speaking, the more effective you will be on the mat.

Anyway, even though it’s a great strength builder, Dips require a good amount of strength.

So, for that reason, I’d like to go through a quick progression so that no matter where you’re at in your strength development, you’ll be able to add them to your program.

Progression 1

The first progression is for those who aren’t able to perform Bodyweight Dips.

As a result, assistance will have to be used.

Here’s my preferred way to build your strength on the road to performing Bodyweight Dips.

Try to get your Triceps to a parallel position to the ground. In the video I go a little lower than this, which is fine as long as it doesn’t bother your shoulders.

Make sure you lock each rep out like I demonstrate in the video.

Anyway, the reason I like using bands is because you can easily measure your progress.

For instance, say in Week 1 of a program, I can do 5 Dips with a thick band assisting me.

Then, in Week 4, I’m able to do 5 Dips with a much thinner band, or 10 Dips with the same thick band.

That means I’m getting stronger, right?

I prefer this a lot more than having someone hold one or both of your feet simply because it’s easier to measure.

Oh, by the way, don’t have a partner hold both of your feet. Always leave one free in case you need to bail quickly. If your partner is holding both of your feet, you’re going to face plant.

Progression 2

The second progression is to simply perform the exercise with bodyweight.

If you’re only able to a few clean bodyweight reps, one way to continue to increase the volume is to perform X reps with bodyweight and then perform X reps with band assistance.

So, say you can do 5 bodyweight reps.

But your program calls for 10 reps.

You could perform 5 bodyweight reps and then 5 band assisted reps.

Make sense?

Progression 3

The final progression is for once you’ve developed a good level of bodyweight strength with the Dip.

I would say once you’re able to do 15-20 good, clean reps, you should look to start adding weight.

You can do so by using chains:

Or by adding plates to a belt like this:

An image of a shirtless guy performing dips using plates held by a belt with a chain for added resistance.

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.


Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.


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