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A Casual Exploration Into Ring Dips by Tony Budding - CrossFit Journal

In CrossFit, Exercises, Videos

September 14, 2009

Video Article

A lot of ring dips look like some sort of suspended ab crunch. Are they legit? Tony Budding says they aren’t and brings in Jason Khalipa and Pat Barber to illustrate his point in this old-school video.

Proper range of motion in a ring dip means the shoulders have moved below the elbows, and the height of the hips has changed dramatically. If your hips didn’t drop, you might be doing a crunch—and your “ring dips” won’t help you much when you’re doing muscle-ups.

Along the way to a perfect ring dip, you’ll find bar dips, static holds and assisted dips with bands or boxes. Once you’ve mastered the dip, progressively adding weight will lead you up to a difficult but rewarding version of the movement now called a “One-Barber Dip.”

9min 3sec

Additional reading: The Muscle-Up by Greg Glassman, published Nov. 1, 2002.

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48 Comments on “A Casual Exploration Into Ring Dips”


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Strong guy!


wrote …

Tony, very interesting stuff-very useful...
1 Manimalogram-strong dip!


Ryan Powell wrote …

love the old-school video and a great exploration into the ring dip, many points were brought up that I had never thought of!


wrote …

one barber dip. crazy.


wrote …

khalipa = beast


wrote …

gasp! he didn't go full ROM on the negative dip!


William Davidson wrote …

That was very cool.


wrote …

i'v got lotsa respect for khalipa


wrote …

Awesome, more more more!


wrote …

Yous guys just have way too much fun, I love it.


wrote …

I love the old school video! The coaching points were helpful and the scaling progressions will be useful in helping our members improve. Regarding units of measure, would it be correct to say that "Barber" is to the ringdip that "pood" is to the kettlebell?? Just wondering... ha ha


wrote …

Ya you guys have too much fun Barber and Khalipa together are almost as funny as Sherwood's Zone Chronicles!! Awsome stuff, cant wait to meat you guys at the games and bug the crap outa you lol


wrote …

170lbs is a CRAZY dip, Khalipa is such a beast!

Great video Tonny! I love dips and use intensively with my clients, so I can testify to the effectiveness of the progressions, all of which we use constantly. Way to go on setting the record straight on legit Ring Dips. Another fun and fantastic video!


replied to comment from Jake Trahan

i agree. those 2 should have their own series. the khalipa and barber chronicals


wrote …

That was a great video. I love the ending. That is some sick strength!
Another area that is commonly cheated, but not often recognized or thought of, is "riding the straps". When you ride the straps, you are pulling the rings in tight to your body and your arms never lose contact with the straps. The result of this is that you are no longer operating in a frictionless plane. The rings cannot move freely in any direction, because you have introduced friction from the interaction of your arms and the straps. The difference between having the rings 1/2" away and pulled in tight is profound.
Another progression for working your way up to ring dips is to do ring pushups. The benefit here is that you're still doing a full-range movement in the frictionless plane, but it's about 30% easier. It is also easier to scale, since you can perform them from your knees or elevate the rings.
Awesome job, guys.



freddy camacho wrote …

that was on the edge of so wrong in so many ways :-)


wrote …

lmao. Jason "the barber" khalipa is a beast. great teaching points! and awesome point about ring push ups Tyler, thanks for the insight!


wrote …

That was awesome. You guys have too much fun. Blessed lives


replied to comment from Tyler Hass

What Freddy said.
I knew exactly what was coming when Budding said, "I know. I know".
Nice effort, Khalipa.
Good points, Tony.


I agree about "riding the straps" making the movement easier by adding some friction, but in my opinion, that's not so much cheating as it is part of a progression. Every video I can recall, and every bit of training I've ever received on a MU involved squeezing the rings tight to the body. As an athlete develops aptitude in the movement, the 1/2" you referred to could ad yet another degree of challenge.

Again, just my opinion.

I wonder what Tucker's (or any other gymnast or gymnastics coach) take is on the topic?


wrote …

Love the old school videos, Keep em coming. Straight, no chaser.


wrote …


I've heard that a slight rotation of the hands and palms (so your wrists and palms are slightly forward) is a good test for being locked out at the top. It's nearly impossible to rotate your hands when you aren't locked out. Let me know what you think.

Thanks, Kyle


wrote …

Love the back to basics video. Keep up these Old school videos!


wrote …

30 Barber dips for time!


Cody Limbaugh wrote …

I love the production that is coming out of the journal these days but this video was not only top notch coaching- it also made me long for those 'older' HQ vids! I would love to see more of this style as well as the newer 'polished' vids.
Can we get more of the old crew too? Greg A, Annie, Nichole, etc... How 'bout a 'nasty girls' reunion vid?

Thanks Tony for all the great work you do!


wrote …



replied to comment from Jonathan Brininger



wrote …

Great video!! Barber seemed to love the ride a little too much:)


replied to comment from Steven Price

Riding the straps is pretty much the standard and it won't go away any time soon. I still count them as legit, but the level of strength being developed is not the same.
I don't usually like to include incorrect techniques as part of a progression. For example, squats in a Smith machine aren't part of the progression to OL-style squats. But riding the straps is a less significant technical fault. For people that have to stay on the straps, then they probably haven't spent enough time on the rings in order to lose the shake. A lot of people jump right into muscle-ups after doing dips once or twice, so it's expected that they will be very unstable on the rings and use the straps to counteract it. Over time, it will go away, but only if they know not to do it and try to progress away from it.
The biggest technical fault I see is when people do a huge kip and then slam into the straps in a "chicken arm" support position and then fail to lock out the dip. This is pretty common and takes away everything that is advantageous about ring training.



Katrina Burton wrote …

I don't agree and here is why...

First what is the GOAL of the ring dip? Upper body strength, balance and stability.
How do we achive that goal? By bending the arm and touching the bicep to the top of the ring or making sure that the shoulder is below the elbow crease, similar to the squat.
Does leaning the body forwards, backwards, or heck even sideways change the development of upper body strength, balance, and stability? NO, but it may not be the most techniclly correct way to do it.
I look at it similar to the squat. If we bend our torso so far forwards it is still a squat as long as our hip crease is below our knee. Is it considered a GOOD squat, no but it's still a squat and meets the movement standards.
With regards to the transferance to the muscle up. I understand what Tony is saying BUT I still don't agree. The number of CrossFitters that land their muscle up at the very bottom position he is referring to is so small. Most individuals land their muscle up with their arms bent, biceps touching the top of the rings and chest forward.
If we take it one step further and use the points Tony touches on as movement standards for a CF competition, how do we get the judges to evaluate the distance the hip needs to travel for all the different heights of athletes we are going to be judging? Or make it a standard distance for all? And if so, are we then going to take it one step further and measure the length of all the athletes legs and determine how far they have to run in a running event based on how long their stride is?


wrote …

Fun video... as someone asked my opinion I see a great deal of good stuff here from Tony and the guys!

Tyler agree with all of your points here, including some of the bad tech habits we might see from time to time. Touching the straps in dips will be an issue and yet for what we do in CF WODS is still legit.

I am not a fan of the kip in this movement at all and never have been. I see it as an up and down movement period. But as time becomes the issue and CF allows such in competition then so be it. Where the swinging gets wild is a poor movement from the violent hip drive underneath the rings for most - which is why I like it to be a strict movement.

Use the rings more!!! And Tyler is spot on you will shake less. Stability comes with understanding the movements required and using them more. More use - less shakes.

Katrina - I totally see your points as well here. Goals should be considered here entirely and the result of said goal to be achieved. Meaning time in a movement vs strength in a movement. To me it looked like Barber was rounding the back more than leaning forward but he was trying to show the issue that some have by cheating the rep. You are going to have a slight lean forward as you dip but it should not preclude the hip from dropping as the shoulder drops in the movement. Get that back flat and go up and down letting the shoulder girdle break the plane of the elbow and you hit a full range of motion dip. The dip should be at least a 90 degree angle. But it is better to go below the elbow I think. Judging a hip standard is a waist of time to me. The hip drops below and lower as the upper body does its job correctly - without rounded back, or shoulders rolled forward. I tell folks to look up on the horizon as they begin using rings to train with them and not toward the ground.

As for weighted dips - I do them often and can do static ring dips up to 165 pounds one rep max. Up to 145 with sets of three building up to the max final set. I have never done weighted ring dips though and will start seeing what I can do there - it will be less fo sho!

As for bringing the rings in nice and close to the body - it certainly is the way to begin... for control and MU's Then practice turning rings out to get straps off the arm - turn outs caause lots of stability issues for newbies. But I do not do full turnouts for ring dips - especially for time. I also dont kip when time is required - but to each his own. I just think that kip is not part of the dip and does more to bastardize the movement than help it and causes us to watch the hip more closely now due to the clock being an issue.

We did JT in Ireland recently and no kip was allowed inthe HSPU's or Ring Dips... And it greatly changed the times and workout.


wrote …

Static ring dips? Do you mean bar dips, Tuck?

Doing wide arm muscle-ups is a good progression after mastering the basic non kipping version for strength. It's harder on the joints and harder because of leverage. A good progression if you ever wanted to work muscle-up to back lever or cross.


replied to comment from Tyler Hass

Thanks for the input, Tuck!


You're talking to a guy who just got his first MU roughly a month ago, so please forgive my naïveté. Also when I referred to "every bit of training," I should have ended with "for a person just learning the movement," i.e: me.

I think we're mostly in agreement, but worlds away in terms of skill in performing and coaching the movement. When you're coaching someone in your gym, you can easily spot them and position the rings for them during the movement. When I strap my rings to the underside of a set of stairs going up to a slide at my local playground, I don't have that luxury. Also, I shake like a leaf on my dips, but seing a beast like Khalipa do the same makes me feel a little better.

I have to keep those rings in tight until I build the strength (in my lats?) to open up that last degree of freedom and move the rings out 1/2". Until that happens, the only way for me to do them is pulled in tight. My other option - not doing at all because I'm to weak to do so without that fault - isn't going to get me there. I'll stick with the fault as part of my progression.

I'm curious about the MU faults you mentioned, huge kip, slam into straps, chicken-arm support. Do you have a video demonstrating these faults (preferably with some cues or drills to fix them) and comparison to a good kip?

Thanks, Tyler!

I know, I know, I should shut-up and hit a gymnastics cert. But in the mean-time, I'll just do like Tuck says and "Use the rings more!!!"


replied to comment from Steven Price

Don't worry, you're doing fine. Strap assisted dips are definitely better than no dips. Ring pushups might be a good thing to play around with, so that you can feel the frictionless plane and keep the straps off of your arms. Also, just getting into the support position and holding it for time, in good form, will help tremendously. But there is no substitute for experience. Most people aren't even aware that riding the straps is a fault, so they never progress beyond that.

As for examples of a chicken arm support, just do a YouTube search for muscle-ups and try to find a video NOT using that technique. It will be tough to find.

One way to enforce proper ROM without hip folding is to set the rings at armpit height and require a toe touch at the bottom. There's no way to cheat this.


Rob Barrese wrote …

Great video Tony, excellent suggestions. Most powerful for me was the issue of the hips during the ring dip and the translation to improving the muscle up. This is something I need to work on. Also, the suggestions in scaling the bar dip.
Excellent, very funny as well! Thanks.


wrote …

Love these types of videos. Wish we had more of them.


wrote …

Love the dialog here. A few responses.

Tyler and Tucker know a whole lot more about performance on the rings than I do. Trust what they say about turning the rings out and riding the straps.

I'm approaching the rings from a work capacity across broad time and modal domains perspective. They are fantastic tools for that. The worst thing you can do is not use them.

From this perspective, though, Katrina is simply wrong. If you bend at the hips, you are significantly reducing the amount of work being performed, and thus reducing the adaptation (upper body strength etc). It is a smaller range of motion for the body if not the shoulders and arms. This is basic physics that is easily measured, not an opinion.

I disagree with Tucker about the kip for the same reason I support all the variations of kipping pullup and the snatch competition at the Games. It's all about getting work done. But, just like the pullup, if you can only do one kind, you are not as capable as someone competent in every kind (kipping, strict, L, slow, weighted, etc). There's no doubt that developing the capacity to be slow, steady and controlled on the rings is immensely valuable, just as having a perfect snatch would be.

Please don't misunderstand me. I support CrossFitters using the kip to get more work done in less time. I think developing better skills is immensely valuable, and you can progress in that vein tremendously by following the advice of folks like Tucker and Tyler. They know what they're talking about. But as a program, we're looking for real world adaptation that carries over to everything. Worrying too much about kipping/strict, rings turned in/out, etc. can miss the key point: Get on the rings and move through a full range of motion!


wrote …

Tony - you and I are saying the same thing here. It's about goals and you described it well. I still say that a OHS has no kip and never should - and I feel the same way for the so called kip in a ring dip or HSPU. Like at the games - a kip in the HSPU was discounted and should be... If we wanna work more muscle groups in the body the next part of the work out could easily do so... Just my two cents on trying to change the world on this crazy kip stuff ;)
And I love giving you a hard time! That said, I disagree with you Tony that it is not always about getting work done - sometimes it is about being stronger in the movement. And strength being the deciding factor - like Jolie pushing out strict HSPU with no kip - very impressive display of strength in my mind and not speed. I will still buy you a gluten free beer though!

Blair - excuse me sir - I did mean static dips - meaning on bars not rings. Static is always on a set of bars for me... So If I confused you there sorry - I think I was multitasking or suffered a slight stroke... happens sometimes.

We always set the rings at pec height for newbies until they show control or good support on rings (frictionless or dymnamic plane) and progress up from there for folks who can support on rings. We go lower for folks who have control and strength issues as they will need the suport of the ground and be able to get into band assists easier that way and for safety reasons. But even if they bend there legs they can open the hip to get the same movement Tony is speaking too. Again it is about ROM in the ring dip and it needs to be as full as possible.

Great discussion - Tony!? How is my lovely girl doing Jamie!


wrote …

I think that is a great point from Tuck. Namely, about how the strength of some athletes through a range of motion GREATLY affected the outcome of the Games results...

Particularly with HeSPUs and Muscle Ups... Not being exposed to a movement means you're not going to have strength there of course (Thor's Daughter - That was still the "moment of the games" for me when she got her first MU). But we also could observe many athletes who lacked strength who HAD been exposed to those movements.

You could say the elimination of the kipping during the HSPU was a superfluous
stipulation. But it is what it is, and it definitely changed who was a winner and who was a loser.

For all the attention Strength gets with the Hybrid, Bias, Bagwell type programming a lot of athletes and affiliates are subscribing too, I would think a renewed focus on more strict work would also be enveloped into programming. Instead of coupling 3x5 squats with your short METCON, why not couple 3x5 full ROM HSPUs on paralletes. Or some other mechanically disadvantaged hold...5x5 seconds of Back Lever, 3x20seconds L-sit..etc.


replied to comment from Tony Budding

I agree with your point about developing high power output across broad time and modal domains. The counterpoint is that strict dips, clear of the straps are a modal domain. And training in the frictionless plane transfers over to other modal domains more effectively than riding the straps. Anyone who practices strict dips with proper form will have no problem doing kipping dips while riding the straps. But the converse is not true. Similarly, a person who does full squats will be able to perform just fine doing squats in a Smith machine, but the opposite is not true. That's my argument for why maximizing power output is not always the best option.


wrote …

Great video and great discussion. Wish I had more to contribute besides the kudos!


replied to comment from Tyler Hass

Tyler, my experience runs counter to your statement.

With both rings and dead hang pullups, I developed decent (over 20 dead hang pullups and repping dead hang muscleups) non-kipping strength well before I learned how to effectively kip on either pullups or rings. Such is the price of Crossfitting without effective coaching.

Kipping on rings and pullups is a skill that has to be trained. You can't merely train the strict versions and expect to also be effective and efficient at the kipping variations.

Jeff Tucker says the ring dip should be an up and down motion. The kip in a ring dip is almost always up and down, not front to back as in a pullup kip. It involves bringing the knees up quickly at the bottom of the dip, not swinging from side to side.

We don't kip our overhead squats because it's impossible, not because it would be a bad idea, if possible.

The arguments against kipping ring dips could just as well apply to kipping muscleups, and even against push presses and push jerks.

Strict ring dips have their place. However, in a workout such as Elizabeth where Crossfit's highest object is power output and NOT strict strength development, they don't make as much sense as kipping ring dips. It would be like doing strict presses in fight gone bad or dead hang pullups in Fran.


wrote …

Tucker, Tyler, we're in complete agreement. If someone has the time and inclination to practice and develop perfect non-kipping, rings-turned-out, strap-free full ROM ring dips, then that is phenomenal. Until that point, focus on the full ROM and let the rest be what it is (a pick-your-battles kind of thing).

Aushion, you're totally right. The girls (especially) who only practiced kipping HSPU were at a major disadvantage. The same would be true for kipping ring dips or kipping pullups if there was no capacity outside the kip.

And, just for the record, the non-kipping HSPU was just the standard for this year's Games. Last year we required chest to bar pullups and this year we just did chin over the bar pullups. Next year we might require L-pullups. The standards for any given competition may or may not be the right standards for training or any other competition.

Tucker, my wife still calls your name out at inappropriate times, but I'm getting used to it finally.


wrote …

russ - agreed... to be more clear here is that i feel you need to train it strict and then if the standard allows the kip (and that is entirely up to the programmers of CFHQ) then kip your arse off! i was clowning a bit on the a OHS kipping movement.

i feel you should train it both ways - strict first and kip later... as for MU - i have folks in my certs and at GSX that train them strictly and with kips. some can do 30 MU's for time under 5 or 4 minutes with a strict movement only and no kip... and when they do kip - they blow it out of the water for time...

TONY! Tell Jamie I said Howdy! ;)


wrote …

This conversation is definitely smoke and mirrors dissenting, sounds like everyone is on the same page. I do however feel that maximal upper body strength training (primarily gained from Ring Strength training) is an unexplored area in most people's programming. Except for the overhead (pressing/pulling) plane.


wrote …

we killed this horse... but i love beating a dead horse Aush! I agree with you totally as I see it at every cert I go too and teach at...

much love all,



Daniel Schmieding wrote …

I think it's important to remember that the "kip" was derived from the moment of desperation in a pull-up that all gymnasts and most fitness enthusiasts are familiar with: you're 3/4 up and your arms are tanked; your legs fire, likely lacking coordination; finally you're propelled over the bar.

Ask somebody unfamiliar with CrossFit to do 20 pull-ups and they may very well get to 12 and then "buck" or "kip" the rest up without ever really knowing what they're doing. For many that coordination may not even occur on a dip!

It doesn't typically work the other way around. This stuff is more important to do under worst-possible conditions (strict, L, bad grip, etc), only to derive more efficient methods to achieve proficiency across other time and modal domains later.

Great discussion!


Daniel Kallen wrote …

Please, more videos like this!


wrote …

What is the name of that damn song used in this vid? Awesome and can't find it anywhere

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