Warm up with some shoulder dislocates. 5 – 10 reps in each direction.
Next practice the top position: Jump up on the bars and lock your arms straight, (if your elbows hyper-extend you may experience elbow discomfort when locking your arms under load. In which case tense your biceps to slightly move the elbow joint to a straighter position). Whilst holding this position push your shoulders down away from your ears. Try this a few times.
- From the top position externally rotate your shoulders, ‘Break the Bar‘. You should feel your lats engage. Maintain this tension throughout.
- Assume the ‘hollow body position’. Tense your abs and glutes, bringing your feet slightly forward, squeezing your legs together and point your chest slightly down, plantar-flex your ankle (point your toes down).
- Keep your head in line with your spine throughout, you will be looking slightly down.
- Breath in then lower your chest forward whilst keeping tension in all of the areas already described. Lower at a controlled speed, 3-5 seconds is fine to start off with.
- When your shoulder are slightly below your elbows, pause and push back up, exhaling with a hissing sound. Maintain tension as described. In particular do not move your head back or arch your back (Sea-Horsing).
Dips on rings present a further challenge due to the instability of the rings. Return to working on the top position as it is considerably more difficult on rings than on bars.
- Jump up on to the rings so that you are supporting your weight on straight arms.
- Push your shoulders down away from your ears.
- Externally rotate the shoulder as you have in press ups and bar dips. Turn your hands out slightly.
Once you are stable in the top position you can perform dips on the rings.
A note on form
It is not essential to use the hollow body position when performing dips. Some people prefer a ‘hinged’ position. Whichever you chose the purpose is to hold your body in a tight position that strongly activates the working muscles and reduces momentum or any other ‘cheats’. To perform hinged dips replace point 2 above with the following:
- Lean your chest forward over your hands, by hinging at the waste. Do not bend or flex the spine.
- Tense your abs, tense your glutes, lift your kneecaps up to tense your quads, dorsi-flex your ankle (lift your toes upward).