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Revitalizing Workout - How to make chins and dips work again???

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  • Revitalizing Workout - How to make chins and dips work again???

    I took a fair while off doing any structured workout, as I hurt myself doing OH Press (trying to lift more than I could). I have maintained my general BW exercise over this time however. But now I'm going to start back at the gym, focusing on deadlifts, squats, bench, chins, dips & rows (pretty much in that order too).

    My big problem is with my dips and chins. Being a 19yo male, I want bigger arms. Its that simple and I think every guy does, even Ronnie Coleman and that guy at you gym with the arms as big as your thighs. However, my chins and dips aren't working my arms anymore.

    When I started, doing chin ups at bodyweight, I could do 3, now I can do 10-12, depending on the day. I can't seem to get past this amount, so I have started weighting my chin ups. This seems to have worked, as I keep being able to put more weight, but still can't do more than 10-12 when I take the weight off. My biceps no longer get sore either. When I fail at chin ups, there is no pain or lactic acid, just can't physically do anymore. What can I do to make them work again???

    A similar thing is also happenign with dips. I keep hanging weight off myself, and my chest, shoulders and upper back gets sore, but my triceps don't feel anything. What can I do? I feel as though I have tried everything so I have come here.

  • #2
    Keep adding weight each workout, and eat more.

    With those lifts, and the press and some power cleans your arms will take care of themselves. Look at "starting strength" for a good lp model. If you get stronger you WILL get bigger.

    Or you could do 69 different types of curls at the squat rack while looking at yourself in the mirror...


    • #3
      Do more straight arm work, start learning how to do a front lever and a planche click the link below. Also, genetics play a big part on this, you may just not be wired for guns. Work the front lever, planche and back lever, all straight arm work will promote growth...

      Building an Olympic Body
      I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


      • #4
        Also, make sure you're working on getting collectively stronger. Do deadlifts and squat, get your deadlift up as much as you can, improving lower body helps a lot.
        I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


        • #5
          Pull-ups mainly work the adductor muscles of your shoulder (think latissimus dorsi, teres major, etc). If you consistently fail at 12 reps on pull-ups it is because that is the extent of your muscular endurance for these muscles. Just doing more pull-ups should get you past this sticking point, if that's something you want to do (try more sets, or a rest-pause strategy to get some additional reps on the last set).

          If you want bigger arms though then pull-ups aren't likely to make a big difference. If bigger arms are really your main goal (as you state), then you might as well focus on directly stimulating the biceps and triceps with some intense isolation work.

          I'd suggest heavy curls with a supinated grip (try a straight bar). Skull crushers and close-grip benching usually work well for the triceps. Use a weight that causes you to fail at 10-12 reps.


          • #6
            Ok... well my preference would be to not do too much isolation work and focus on the bigger (and more fun... except heavy squats lol) but if I have to I can add it once a week. I think another issue is that the movement has become too 'patterned' for me and as such, my body has found the easiest way to do chin ups and has allowed me to use my lats more as they have gotten stronger, while my weight has remained the same, thus less effect on arms. I find it really hard to make any 'mind-muscle' connection with chins as well.

            I did not know that straight arm work would increase muscle though? I have tried the L-sit on the floor and plank on a bench, but I am not strong enough or balanced enough yet to do them properly.

            Also, I know MDA preaches little aerobic exercise, but I feel as if my cardiovascular capacity and endurance limits me with some things (if I run, I get stiches really quickly after about 5-10mins). What are people doing to improve their cardio? Long continous running bores the hell out of me too, so that is out. I like rowing machines, but kinda doesn't fit with the whole 'primal' thing and an actual canoe or kayak cost too much $$$$.


            • #7
              Let me step out of the box and ask you why you want bigger arms.
              You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


              • #8
                If I were to be brutally honest, I want bigger arms for looks. I am not expecting or ever intend to become a bodybuilder, but my upper arms are smaller than my calves and I want them to be the same to provide me with a more symmetrical look so I don't feel like a kangaroo and get a complex.

                I have no issue with admitting that half the reason I work out is to look better.

                Also, I forgot to add that my arms are also weak at isolation exercises. I tried for s*@%s and giggles the other day and I wasn't able to straight bar curl 30kg with strict form and I cannot do very much weight with my triceps either


                • #9
                  I figured. I've never heard that biceps and calves should be the same to be in proper proportion. That seems too large to me. Big biceps became a trademark of bodybuilders because they're about the easiest muscles to show off with, but they don't do much to enhance the overall physique, which is what women go for. And it's really easy to make your biceps disproportionate and silly-looking. All you need to look good is the X look: nice legs, slim waist, and broad shoulders.

                  Are you doing pullups as well as chinups?
                  You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by robbie1512 View Post
                    I did not know that straight arm work would increase muscle though? I have tried the L-sit on the floor and plank on a bench, but I am not strong enough or balanced enough yet to do them properly.
                    Read this one too: T NATION | All Muscle, No Iron

                    T-Nation: Wait a sec, these guys with the killer biceps don't do barbell and dumbbell curls?

                    Sommer: No, not a single one! In fact, their amazing biceps development isn't the result of any kind of curling movement at all, but primarily due to the straight arm leverage work which they do on the still rings.

                    The straight-arm work is enormously difficult and puts tremendous strain on the biceps resulting in incredible growth. The key to success is being able to approach these exercises in a safe progressive manner.

                    T-Nation: What do you mean exactly by straight-arm work?

                    Sommer: By straight-arm work I'm primarily referring to the classic strength positions on the still rings (iron cross, planche, maltese, etc.) and the connecting movements between them.

                    Straight arm work basically means moving the body without the advantage of bending the joints. Essentially then, by increasing the length of the lever, we greatly magnify the intensity of the exercise.

                    A case in point would be a cross pull (basically a straight arm pull-up where the arms pull out to the sides) compared to a regular pull-up. The bodyweight is the same in both cases; however, the cross pull is several orders of magnitude harder than the pull-up, resulting in significantly higher strength and muscle gains.

                    Now consider that I had one teammate in college who could hold an iron cross with 60 pounds hanging on his feet and you begin to get an idea of the incredible strength of some of the high level gymnasts. By the way, this same gymnast had an upper body that was incredibly large and ripped!
                    Also, these movements will make you brutally strong. I'm still WAY behind on planche work, it just puts so much pressure on my shoulder girdle that I can't hold it for too long. Front lever I am much stronger at. I just slack off too much in planche training, but thanks to this thread I'm going to make sure to do more of it.

                    Also, even though Coach Sommer is talking about doing these on gymnastics rings you can get benefits from doing them on bars or parallel bars. I use a door-frame pull up bar for front lever, and I also put it on the ground and use it for planche progressions. I also do these on rings, where it's definitely much, MUCH harder. No need to go out and buy rings right away though, but they are an incredibly fun and powerful tool as well.
                    Last edited by iniQuity; 09-27-2011, 07:30 AM.
                    I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.


                    • #11
                      with dips, if you want to hit the tris more directly, keep your body straight and your elbows tucked in (don't let them flare out). That will keep your pecs from getting too involved. I've got to say, though, I feel it in my tris even when I flare out and lean forward to engage my pecs. Are you locking out at the end? That's your tris. If you're not locking out, that's why your tris aren't getting action.


                      • #12
                        Yeah I also think that having arms as big as calves is quite large, but considering that involves me building my triceps up considerably as well, I don't think it is so big as to look huge or in any way like a BB. Besides, we are kidding ourselves to think that having any part of our fitness is a necessity. It is all just a personal choice, part of which is some people aim for different things.

                        And I don't actually do forward grip pull ups, because I cannot do them properly yet. My arms stay in front of my chest instead of swinging out to the sides. I don't think my lats are ready yet.

                        Also, thanks for the tip about the straight arm gymnastics moves. I'm thinking I may just focus on trying to get stronger with more weight added to chins and dips and keep trying to do those movements on top of my strength and cardio routine. If that still doesn't work at making me grow, I will add isolation stuff. Does that sound about right?

                        How would you recommend including it into a workout routine? I was thinking something like:
                        Monday - Squat, Bench, Row, Weighted Dips - 5x5 or 3x5 depending on day and energy
                        Tuesday - Recover with a bit of light movement
                        Wednesday - BW chins, BW dips, planche attempt, l sit attempt, crunches, pushups - all to failure
                        Thursday - Sprinting intervals and kettlebell mucking around
                        Friday - Dead, Weighted chins, Cleans, light rehab shoulder work- dead 1x 5 chins 5x5 cleans 5x5
                        Saturday - walk