The value of the straight arm ring fly, how to train for the MIGHTY one arm chin up & how females can get their first dip (AND MORE DIPS)……
Another month of the year has rolled around which means it’s time for another batch of questions & answers courtesy of my direct Instagram messages. The fun part about this is you never know quite what will come up! Obviously it’s going to be mostly bodyweight training based but sometimes the more general topics pop up, too.
What are your thoughts on the straight arm ring fly?
It’s a good exercise but given the choice I prefer a supine dumbbell fly on a flat bench. But I like to do it in a hollow body position for overall activation and less stability demand. There’s also the loading component to consider – weighted work allows you to control the load (and ideally overload) incrementally and is far easier to progress than the ring version, as I find with the rings it can vary wildly on the day and isn’t always a case of just lowering the rings a few inches per session.
(An action shot of the straight arm ring fly version with dumbbells)
This isn’t to say the ring fly should never be used; I actually think it’s a great conditioning exercise/pre-requisite for Iron Cross/Iron Cross training, as you’ll not see anyone with a solid cross that can’t rep out the ring fly parallel with the floor for reps, with solid technique.
Is it a good idea to remove (bi-lateral/two arm) pull ups from my training and solely focus on uni-lateral (one arm) variants when the one arm chin up is my goal? I feel like the strength from the one armed stuff just keeps your strength for the two arm stuff, no?
In my humble opinion I would keep both variants in for overall strength development. So you might train the one armed versions in one pull session then separate the next pull session by a few days and train the two armed version as well, just for raw power as well as specific power. You have to keep in mind how specific the movement pattern of a one arm chin/pull up is. It’s very tough (and rare) to just ‘fluke’ your way there and get one by default just by chinning shit loads of weight in a regular chin up.
If you find it hard doing both, another option is doing cycles of each. So for 3-4 weeks you work on uni-lateral and the next 3-4 weeks, bi-lateral, and keep repeating like so, providing you’re still progressing.
You’re quite correct though, there is something NEXT LEVEL about one arm pull up variations; they’re incredibly hard and taxing and everything else seems to feel easy in comparison. But it’s all too easy to want to boss the one arm chin up all the time and wreck your elbows! Remember how many cases of tendonitis there are thanks to excessive and moronic one arm chin up training plans.
(The One Arm Chin Up – the holy grail of upper body pulling movements)
Could you outline the general process for getting a girl to where she can do dips? I’ve seen your recent success on your stories!
It’s not as complicated as it seems at first glance, if you know how to deconstruct a process. The beauty of movements like dips, pull ups and the like is how they can be built indirectly – meaning without overdoing the movement itself.
When it comes to dips, push ups must be present otherwise it’s like trying to drive a car up a hill with the handbrake still on; you’ll get nowhere. Once the push up is present and PROFICIENT, it’s about increasing the range and complexity in conjunction with dip negatives, static holds and assisted dips. Obviously the magic is in the exact programming but the programming is, and should be, specific to your needs and weaknesses.
Frequency and consistency is a must, too. Most females don’t gain strength in the upper body nearly as fast males which means they have to be even more consistent to get somewhere. This was also key, client consistency and a hunger. She wanted to do the dip and get it and when I’d tell her she was close it made her want it more. And she celebrated getting it; it meant a lot to her. When the desire is there you’ll always do better.
Of course the dip is just another line on the achievement bullet point list and there are many more to come but a girl’s first dip is great milestone and a wonderful gateway to bigger and better things!
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