The ring dip seems like a simple movement, but it’s simply not. Both veteran and rookie Crossfitters alike struggle with this partially because they didn’t build the strength and mobility to allow themselves to progress the proper way. Ring dips require great strength, stability and range of motion. Using the rings will target your lats and your chest, although it’s your shoulders that will reap most of the vanity. Your coach will guide you with the modifications, but here are a few ways to start moving forward.
Start with the basics. If you aren’t ready to get on a set of rings yet, don’t fret. Doing dips on a bench or a box is the perfect way to get those muscles moving. Keep in mind, the straighter your legs are out in front of you, the more challenging it will be. Be sure you are using your upper body as opposed to pushing yourself up and down with your feet and legs.
Consider a band. When you’re ready for the rings, consider using a resistance band. Find a band that assists you but is still challenging. There are two ways to use the band. One is to drape each end of the band over each ring, holding the band in place with your hands. Once you feel comfortable, place your knees on the band and try to limit your swinging. If you feel more comfortable, keep one foot on the ground. Try to push yourself up so your arms are fully extended. As you lower yourself down visualize your hands coming from your pockets to your armpits while holding the rings close to your body. Make sure you keep your knees in front of you as this helps with your overall balance.
The second way to use a band is to sit on it. You’ll place the band the same way on the rings but this time you’ll sit on it rather than placing your knees on it. Your legs should be extended on the floor in front of you just as you would on a box. With your arms in close, you’ll lower your butt down until your elbows reach a 90 degree angle and then push up. The benefit of doing it on the rings vs the box is that it will help you develop your stability and range of motion on the rings.
Then lose it. Once you feel the band is too easy, lower the resistance until you are completely band free. Plan for that day to take a bit longer than you may expect, simply because ring dips aren’t something you’ll do every day. If you want to speed up the process, add push ups into your daily routine to help strengthen those specific muscles.
Now focus on ROM. When you are ready to do an unassisted ring dip know this…ring dips are not ab crunches. Having a proper range of motion in a ring dip means that the the shoulders have to move below the elbow and your hips have to actually drop down as well. If you are only moving your arms and your hips aren’t moving, then you are doing a “crunch,” not a dip. This will happen if you get fatigued or if you are simply not ready to go unassisted. Doing improper ring dips may get you through your WOD, but they won’t help you get to your ultimate goal of a completing a muscle up!
Don’t ever be embarrassed to modify any movement no matter how many WOD’s you have under your belt. These are your workouts so concentrate on doing you. Move through the progressions, be consistent, and you’ll be amazed at where you’ll end up.