One-Arm Chin-Dips

This is a bodyweight exercise that targets the ENTIRE upper body in one movement.

And I'm not kidding about that. You'll hit your back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders AND core in one exercise.

It's a combination of a one-arm chin-up and a one-arm dip, put together and done at the same time.

This gives you not only the benefits of BOTH exercises, it also gives you a couple of other significant synergistic benefits over and above what you get from just the exercises themselves taken separately. And even beyond the increased muscle activation benefits of doing closed-chain bodyweight exercises like chins and dips.

Yep, it's not just a freakshow exercise...it's WAY better than that.

 

1. Contralateral Antagonistic Neuromuscular Activation

This is a complicated way of saying that when you work one muscle, your nervous system actually activates/potentiates the opposing muscle on the opposite side of your body.

For example, if you work the bicep on your left arm, the tricep on your right arm can be up to 10% stronger IF you work it at the same time (there's an exercise called "Scapjacks" that does this with a one-arm pushdown and a dumbbell curl done at the same time).

The practical upshot is, by performing a dip (chest and triceps) and a chin-up (back and biceps) simultaneously, like we're going to do, you'll be a bit stronger at BOTH.

 

2. One movement is always stronger than the other

This means that when you start to fatigue on one of the movements, the OTHER stronger movement will help you push that weaker movement harder. Conversely, as you fatigue in that weaker movement, it will put more load on the STRONGER movement, working THAT one harder as well.

Essentially, it's going to allow you to really push your entire upper body HARD.


In addition to those two major benefits, you're also going to hit the core with some nice cross-tension. It's not a tremendous amount because neither are weight bearing exercises, but because you're utilizing a push and a pull at the same time, some cross-tension will absolutely happen.

And, of course, it's fun! (not only doing it but watching the looks on other peoples faces as you do it)...

 



 

How To Set Up and Perform One-Arm Chin/Dips

First off, you should be able to perform at least 8 to 10 chins and 20+ bodyweight dips before trying this one. It's not an easy exercise and does require some good base strength to start with.

To do this one, you'll need a power rack that has a chin-up bar on it and an Olympic bar. If your rack doesn't have a chin-up bar, you can also just set another O bar on top of the rack and use that instead of a chin-up bar. It'll be the same thing.

Set the safety rails in the rack to about chest height and set the bar on them in the middle of the rack. There will be some adjustments required for your rack, your height and your limb length, so definitely mess around with the setup to get what's best for you.

Reach up and grab the chin-up bar with a neutral grip. Set your other hand on the bar in the rack. Take your feet off the ground.

Now do a chin with one arm and a dip with the other. I'll tell you right up front, it's a strange feeling when you do this one for the first time...and it's addictive...

One-Arm Chin/DipsOne-Arm Chin/Dips

Perform as many reps as you can.

And as I mentioned above, as your weaker exercise fades out, the stronger exercise will kick in to help, allowing you to really push yourself.

You can then either turn around and work the other direction or take a rest and do so on the next set. You'll be stronger if you take a rest, just FYI.

One-Arm Chin/DipsOne-Arm Chin/Dips

Again, do as many reps as you can.

 

If you've been looking for a unique bodyweight exercise to target the entire upper body at once...back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and core...look no further.

This exercise will do it for you.

And, of course, as you get stronger at it, you can add additional resistance in the form a weight belt or dumbbell between the feet to push your entire upper body even HARDER.

Hand-Over-Hand Chin-Ups are another excellent variation of the chin-up movement pattern that you can try.

 

 


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