CrossFit Ring Dip Progression Guide

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re you struggling to get your first Ring Dip? This post will guide you step-by-step CrossFit Ring Dip progression with drills and programming to get you your rep.

I spent 6-years as an instructor at CrossFit One World in the Bay Area. During that time I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of clients in our classes over the years. We also hosted dozens of seminars and I was able to see observe and talk to those people as well. In that time, I had the opportunity to pick up a thing or two on the ring dip progression.

I learned so much in that time and one of the themes I observed is this. Many people know how to progress with barbell training. This is because it’s intuitive and linear. Less is know how to progress in gymnastic movements. This is especially true for beginners athletes who have never been on the rings.

The purpose of this guide and the RX CrossFit Gymnastics program is to help people progress through these bodyweight movements as intuitively as they would barbell movements. In this guide, I’ll walk you through a simple ring dip progression. By the end, you’ll be able to knock out 20-30 kipping ring kips in a row.

What I want is to progress you to the point where if a workout like Elizabeth came up (21-15-9 of cleans and ring dips) you can do the dips unbroken. Furthermore, getting to level 3 for ring dips will later be a pre-requisite to level 1 of the muscle up progression.

Do you offer other progressions?

I do! This post is part a five-part series that covers the foundational bodyweight movements in CrossFit. You can access up to Level 1 in any of the blog posts. The full programs contain levels 1-5 for each of the gymnastic exercises. Additionally, there are movement videos, weekly templates, and a progress tracker to help you along the way.

What is a CrossFit Ring Dips?

In CrossFit, you’ll come across many different variations of the dip. We have parallette dips, static dips, elevated dips, weighted dips, and ring dips. For this progression, we’ll be using all of them and more but the end goal will be proficiency with ring dips.

In the most basic sense, a dip is when you are ‘on’ something, lower yourself down, and push back up. There are many ways to adjust the difficulty of a dip to make it suitable for your strength level. For example, her is one version of an assisted ring dip.

Assisted Dip Example

  1. I am on the rings in a support position with my feet touching the box.
  2. I lower myself as much as I can with my upper body while getting assistance from the legs.
  3. I then push up with my upper body as much as possible with assistance from my legs.

Standard Ring Dip

Here is a quick demo of a standard ring dip.

Intro to the Ring Dip Progression Guide

How does someone move from zero to 20-30 ring dips in a systematic progression? Any

That is too ambiguous for my liking. It assumed that that technique is the primary driver to get people to do muscle ups. I believe that conquering muscle ups is first and foremost about strength development. Once you have the muscle up specific strength, then a more significant focus on technique should be developed. The muscle-up is a simple movement. Strength development is generally going to take longer than technique development.

When it comes to the Muscle Up, an athlete needs to have baseline strength first. In my CrossFit programs that have Muscle Ups, I don’t start training towards an MU until the trainee can perform chest to bar strict pull-ups and also strict ring dips.

Why would anyone attempt a muscle up without that baseline? Strength first. Then skill when it comes to MU progressions is my rule of thumb.

The Level Up Method for Ring Dips

The ring dip progression uses my Level Up method. The Level Up method is a framework to organize each of the RX CrossFit programs.

There are five levels. Each level has a goal to move to the next level. Each level is designed and programmed to fit the needs of athletes within that level. Once someone graduates to a new level the programming is adjusted to help reach the goal of the next level.

How to get started with the CrossFit Rind Dip Progression Guide?

It is simple to get started on the muscle up progressions. There are five levels below. Each level has a Current Ability section.

First, you should locate your current ability. For example, let’s say that you cannot do a ring muscle up right now. That means you start right at level 1.

Second, once you locate you’re level, you simply read the coaching notes and follow the workouts. Once you can complete the Goal for that level then you can move to the next level. You do this all the way through level 5.

Level 1: CrossFit Ring Dip Progression

In level 1 we will be working on building up some of your fundamental 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 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 challenging 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 until they are straight.

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

Bench or Paralette dip progression Instructions 

Is elevating your feet too tricky? Not to worry because you can use any of the progressions below and gradually work your way up to it

  1. Knees bent. Slowly get to the point where your legs are fully extended. Demo.
  2. Straight legs dip with heels on the ground. Demo.
  3. Straight leg dip with heels elevated. Demo.
  4. Straight leg dip with heels elevated + weight on thighs.
Push up progression for standard and close grip – Demo

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 abmats 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
Static dip hold progression

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

  1. Parallette’s – feet extended straight with heels on the ground.
  2. Parallette’s – feet extended straight with heels on a bench or box.
  3. Parallette’s – 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. Parallette’s – tuck sit
  5. Static dip hold on dip bars
  6. Static dip hold on rings
  7. Static dip hold 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. 10b for women and 25lb on lap for me. Move to level 2 when you can do this.
  • Objective: Strengthening for structures involved in the dip. Primarily focus on triceps and shoulder hypertrophy.
  • How: 3 workouts a week with at 1-2 rest days between each.
WHENDAY 1DAY 2DAY 3
VOLUMEASSISTANCEINTENSITY
WARMUP3 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.
COOLDOWN3 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.
COOLDOWNAccumulate 40 band tricep extensions. Add 5/week while in level 1. Accumulate 40 band tricep extensions. Add 5/week while in level 1.

Demo Videos for Level 1 Ring Dip

Level 2: CrossFit Ring Dip Progression

In level 2 we start to move away from parallette dips and up to static dips. Static dips follow the same movement pattern as dips but on a different apparatus. They are easier because you do not need to stabilize your body across a 36o plane on two rings.

Static dips will be the main focus we will start on the rings in level 2. The reason why is to get you accustomed to holding on yourself on the rings, which is a skill in of itself.

At first, you likely won’t be able to hold yourself unassisted. What I recommend is to lower the rings down to thigh level. This will allow you to hold yourself on the rings while your feet are on the ground. Once situated you can slowly start bearing more weight on your hands on the rings and less on your feet on the ground. This is done by moving to your tiptoes on both feet. Once that becomes too easy then only your tiptoes on one foot. Eventually, you will be able to lift that off the ground and support yourself.

Self-assisted static dip progression

The self-assisted dip should be performed on a static dip mount. If your gym does not have one, you can put two GHD’s close together and use the handles.

  1. Slow (3-4 seconds) and assistance on the way up and down. Gradually use your legs less to make it more difficult.
  2. Slow (3-4 seconds) and no assistance on the way down. Assistance on the way up.
  3. Slow (3-4 seconds) and no assistance on the way down with 1-3 second pause at the bottom before using your legs to help you get back up.
  4. Normal pace down (1-2 seconds) and back up with no assistance.
  5. Bodyweight dip + weight. Only start adding weight once you can do 5 strict bodyweight dips. Move up in 2.5lb or 5lb increments.
Level 2 instructions
  • Current ability: 8-10 parallette dips with legs on the bench. 10lb for women and 25lb on lap for men
  • Goal: 3-5 static strict dips. Once you can consistently hit this goal move to level 3.
  • Objective: Accumulation phase. Every week do more total dips than the last.
  • How: 3 workouts a week with at 1-2 rest days between each.

The programming for this Level is in the Crossfit Gymnastics Program.

Level 3: CrossFit Ring Dip Progression

  • Current ability: 3-5 strict dips.
  • Goal: 5 strict ring dips. Move to level 4 once you can do this consistently.
  • Objective: Build ring dip strength and start practicing dip technique. This will be a pre-requisite for Muscle Ups.
  • How: 3 workouts a week with at 1-2 rest days between each.

The programming for this Level is in the Crossfit Gymnastics Program.

Level 4: CrossFit Ring Dip Progression

  • Current ability: 5 strict ring dips
  • Goal: 8-10 strict ring dips and 15-20 kipping ring dips. Move to level 5 once you can complete this goal consistently.
  • Objective: Ring dip capacity.

The programming for this Level is in the Crossfit Gymnastics Program.

Level 5: CrossFit Ring Dip Progression

  • Current ability: 8-10 strict ring dips and 15-20 kipping ring dips.
  • Goal: Men 30+ / Women 20+ kipping ring dips
  • Objective: Build and maintain ring dip capacity.
  • How to: At this point, you should do 1-4 dip specific workouts a month. Ring dips do not come up very often in CrossFit programming and with a finite amount of gym time should go to working on things that have a higher rate of return. Instead, your focus should turn to Muscle Ups. A caveat is if your focus is local comps or regionals and you have difficulty with high rep muscle ups than I would recommend 4-8 days a month until your around 4:00-5:00 minutes for something like 30 muscle ups for time.

The programming for this Level is in the Crossfit Gymnastics Program.