Antagonistic Bodyweight Supersets - Chin-Ups and Dips

By Nick Nilsson
Author of Mad Scientist Muscle

 

If you want to target just about everything in your upper body in one superset combo, this is a great combination to do it with.

It'll give you a complete killer upper bodyweight workout in a very short period of time.

This training framework of "countdown sets" can absolutely be applied to other exercises if you can't do chins and/or dips.

You'll be using two bodyweight exercises in a very unique rack-based setup (side note, you don't necessarily need the rack to do it, if you have a dip station and chin-up bar close enough together).

 



 

For this method, you're going to be going rapidly back and forth between dips and neutral-grip chin-ups.

You're going to set two barbells on the rails of a power rack, load the ends with a couple of 45 lb plates to counterbalance your bodyweight.

For height, I recommend having the bars about level with the upper chest.

Get into position on the ends of the bars to do dips.

Two Barbell Rack Dips

Come down into the bottom position. For targeting chest, you'll want to flare your elbows wide to the sides and bring your legs a bit forward so you're almost in a half-moon body position. For tricep focus, you'd keep the body vertical and tuck your elbows in close to your sides.

Two Barbell Rack Dips

Perform 5 reps of the dip.

Now, one of the advantages this setup has over normal dip bars is that they ROLL. As you come down into the bottom, you can rotate the bar ends outwards. Then as you push back up, you can rotate the bar ends INWARDS, increasing the contraction on the pecs as you come up.

So in that respect, this version has advantages over regular bar dips.

Now, after you've done 5 reps (we're not going to failure here), drop down and change your grip on the bars to do neutral-grip chins.

The only issue here is height...you probably won't be able to do fully extend the arms at the bottom and you'll have to keep your legs up off the floor (which is actually great core work as well).

Two Barbell Rack Chins

Do 5 reps of the chins.

Two Barbell Rack Chins

Now, the other benefit of this setup is if you can't do 5 reps of chins (or ANY reps, for that matter), you can just leave your feet on the floor and use your legs to spot yourself.

Immediately go back to the dips for another 5 reps. As I mentioned, this setup allows for VERY fast changes in the exercises.

The way I like to do this superset is basically a continuous type of superset, where I'll just keep doing 5 rep sets in rapid succession until I can't get 5 reps on either exercise.

This take 1 minute rest, then go again using 4 rep sets. Then 1 minute rest then again using 3 rep sets. Then 2 reps, then 1 rep sets.

Then you're done!

By the time you've finished all these reverse-countdown sets, your upper body will be very thoroughly worked.

 

It's a great combination bodyweight training technique that covers your ENTIRE upper body and will challenge even strong trainers.

It's also important to note, you can do this back-and-forth technique with reps with other exercises as well, as long as you can bounce back and forth very very quickly between exercises (zero rest, pretty much).

Now try Antagonistic In-Set Supersets for your back and chest.

 

 


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