(This article was featured at Muscle and Strength)
What would you say if I told you that two moves could drastically change the way your upper body looks and feels?
What if I told you that these two moves have been around since the dawn of training and offer excellent results?
You would probably think it sounds like the standard “results in 30 days” fitness pitch but, what I am about to tell you is definitely 100% true: Chin-Ups and Dips are the keys to building a complete upper body.
Prioritizing Chins and Dips
In today’s get fit quick society, no one wants to put in the hard effort to become what they desire to become.
Many males desire to have a full and ripped upper body. The problem is that many of these same men want to take shortcuts to try to achieve that goal.
Lame workout design, too much training volume, and avoiding progressive overload are the three biggest causes for concern.
The typical meathead routine of flat bench, incline bench, decline bench, horizontal machine press, dumbbell fly, and cable crossover all in the same day with a ridiculous amount of volume is not the answer for the complete upper body.
When you add in way too many drop sets and then forced reps into oblivion, you have the recipe for total disaster!
I know many folks who perform this routine weekly and have nothing but a wide, unsculpted chest to show for it. It is absolutely appalling.
Success Leaves Clues
I love to study other disciplines in the world of athletics. Every sport has a body part that stands out due to the training used in that field.
Sprinters have the greatest hamstrings and glutes on the planet while speed skaters and sprint cyclists have quads that put some bodybuilders to shame.
When you think of the upper body, you must look to male gymnasts as they have supreme,superhero-likee upper bodies!
These guys are doing a lot of upper body pushing and pulling namely a great amount of chinning and dipping variations utilizing not only the parallel bars but also the rings. This is what makes chins and dips are the ultimate moves for the upper body.
Chins and Dips have always been a staple of my training but in the past, they were just a part of a training session.
The new thought in my brain early in 2013 was what if I dedicated a separate day to only chins and dips? The mere thought of this had me fired up like Ray Lewis during the pre-game speech.
The results were astounding. Performing chins and dips as a separate day would lead me to develop a thicker and more muscular upper body.
Hitting chins and dips with heavy weight offset with high volume forced me to grow. A thicker chest, a much wider back, and larger arms were all a result of this programming change.
The frequency of doing them as a separate day combined with my RP-21 training system had my upper body growing like Rocky’s beard in Russia. I also noticed that as my chins and dips became stronger, my other pressing and pulling moves were getting stronger too.
A lot of phony fads in the iron game today promise you some unbelievable results in a very limited block of time. 4-week Abs, 60 days to a Massive Chest or similar gimmicks. I am not about that and do not stand for it as real results require time and effort.
What I will promise you is this; If you follow my Chins and Dips training program, you will be stronger and more muscular in your upper body at the end of 18 weeks.
Those who stay committed to the program and eat accordingly will have even better results.
You will perform your chins and dips as a separate day each week for 18 weeks. On that day you will only perform chins and dips. The overall training scheme will be a basic Legs-Push-Pull split. Your training week will look like this:
Monday-Chins and Dips
Thursday-Upper Body (Push Emphasis)
Saturday-Upper Body (Pull Emphasis) and Sprints
You will need to purchase a dip belt. Order it now.
Progressive overload is a very important key to making great gains. We are not doing all of the difficult movements that gymnasts perform daily so our challenge has to be adding more weight or working faster.
Once you can complete the whole day without a missed rep, it is time to move up in weight. Doing bodyweight dips for 3×10 for three weeks when you have already completed the series without a missed rep is lazy. You do not want to be the run of the mill, stagnant lifter.
For the first three weeks, you will use a basic 5×5 training scheme for your chins and dips.
With 5×5 you have two options. You can increase the weight slightly each set, or use the same weight for each round even if it starts off as bodyweight. For the second three weeks, you will use more volume and use a basic 5×10 scheme.
Again you can increase the weight slightly each set, or use the same weight for each round even if it is bodyweight. You will also be performing the moves as a superset but with a slightly longer rest than a typical superset.
For the 5×5, after you start with your chins, you will rest 1 minute before performing the dips and then rest 90 seconds before starting the rounds over again.
For the 5×10 you will rest 45 seconds before performing the dips and then rest 90 seconds before starting the rounds over again.
The third scheme of the phase will be performing the chins and dips RP-21 style with the 7×3 and 6×5 schemes. Please refer to my article on RP-21 for a detailed explanation of the training system.
Week 1-3– 5×5 Chins and Dips, rest 1 minute between moves and 2 minutes between sets
Week 4-6– 5×10 Chins and Dips, rest 30-45 seconds between moves and 60-90 seconds between sets
Week 7-9– RP-21 Chins and Dips, use the 7×3 and the 6×5 scheme on the same day. Perform the Chins 7×3, rest 2-3 minutes and then perform the Dips 7×3.
After the dips rest 2-3 more minutes before performing the 6×5 chins. Rest 2-3 minutes and then perform the 6×5 dips. Please refer to my RP-21 training scheme for the details of the 7×3 and 6×5 sets.
Week 10-12– Repeat week 1-3, but with heavier loads
Week 13-15– Repeat week 4-6, but with heavier loads
Week 16-18- Repeat week 7-9, but with heavier loads
Note: You can superset the RP-21 sets. Rest 30 seconds between moves and 1 minute between rounds.
Simplicity is the key to life. When things are made supremely complex, it is natural human nature is to lose focus and eventually quit.
With this simple scheme, all you need to do is simply record your weights/reps and stay committed. If you train hard and consistent enough, you too may develop that superhero upper body.