Level 1 – Ring Dip

In level 1 we will be working on building up some of your basic dip strength. We’ll be using a set of parallettes. If you don’t have a pair you can use chairs, benches, or something else along those lines. For the purposes of this post, I’ll be using the term parallettes even if you are using another apparatus.

We will be using very specific progressions and specific rep ranges. For example, the first workout has 8-12 parallettes dips. If you go over 12 on each set then you will move to the next most difficult progression. Let’s say you are doing knees bent dips and that becomes too easy. On the next workout where dips come up, you will extend your legs out further or all the way till they are straight.

This sort of ‘micro-progression’ can be referenced below for parallette dips, push-ups, and static holds.


Is elevating your feet too difficult? Not to worry. Use any of the progressions below and gradually work your way up to it.

  1. Knees bent. Gradually get to the point where your legs are fully extended. Demo.
  2. Straight legs dip with heels on the ground. Demo.
  3. Straight legs dip with heels elevated. Demo.
  4. Straight legs dip with heels elevated + weight on thighs.

The following progressions are used for push-ups. Both standard and close grip.

  1. Standing with hands on a tall box.
  2. On knees with 2 abmats under your chest.
  3. On knees with 1 abmat under your chest.
  4. On knees with chest touching floor.
  5. On knees with weight on your back.
  6. No knees on the way down. Knees on the way up. Can add abmat if lowering is difficult.
  7. Standard push-up.
  8. Standard push-up + feet elevated.

The static dip hold is an isometric exercise intended to build the stabilizing structures that will be used in level 2 where your goal is to get a bodyweight dip. For each of the following progressions, you should have your elbows extended and your shoulders pulled back so that are not in-caved. The parallettes should be set 1 cubit apart – i.e. the distance from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger.

  1. Parallettes – feet extended straight with heels on the ground.
  2. Parallettes – feet extended straight with heels on a bench or box.
  3. Parallettes – tuck sit with 1 foot on the ground. Gradually take the weight off the foot until you can support yourself with no ground contact.
  4. Parallettes – tuck sit.
  5. Static dip holds on dip bars.
  6. Static dip holds on rings.
  7. Static dip holds on rings + weight.

Level 1 instructions

  • Current ability: 1-10 parallette dips with feet on the ground. Bent or straight leg.
  • Goal: 8-10 parallette dips with legs on the bench. 25lb for women and 45lb on laps for men. Move to level 2 when this is complete.
  • Objective: Strengthening for structures involved in the dip. Primarily focus on triceps and shoulder hypertrophy.
  • How to: 3 workouts a week with at 1-2 rest days between each.
WARM-UP3 sets of 8-12 bench dips. If you go over 12 reps move to a more difficult progression. 3 sets of 3-5 close grip push-ups. If you go over 5 reps move to a more difficult progression. 4 sets 4-7 bench dips at a progression slightly more difficult than day 1.
5-10 minutes practice of strict false grip ring pull-ups in hollow rock position. Go as high as possible.
COOL DOWN3 sets of 8-12 standard push-ups at most difficult progression. 3 sets 8-12 of lying dumbbell tricep extensions. 3 sets 10-20 second static dip holds.
COOL DOWNAccumulate 40 band tricep extensions. Add 5/week while in level 1. Accumulate 40 band tricep extensions. Add 5/week while in level 1.