When Should I Add Weight To Chin-ups and Dips? You can't build the first floor without a foundation.

The straightforward way to make chin-ups, pull-ups and dips harder is to add weight with the help of a belt, a backpack, a weight vest…etc.

The extra weight makes the exercises very scalable and can produce some serious pulling and pushing strength. However, some requirements have to be covered before engaging in a weighted madness.

You can’t build the first floor without a foundation

You can’t have a stable first floor without a stable foundation. Adding weight to your pull-ups and dips before you are ready will result in a poor progress and injuries such as tendinitis.


Before adding weight to your dips and pull-ups, you need to complete the following:

2 sets of 20 dips
2 sets of 15  pull-ups

Note: The rest between the sets is up to you. You can rest 5 hours if you want to.

To some of you, the high numbers above may look unnecessary, but there is a reason for the madness. High reps reinforce proper mechanics which is very helpful for beginners who are still trying to find their “groove”.

Technically, you can add weight to your pull-ups, chin-ups and dips even if you can only do 5 reps. I’ve even heard of people adding weight after their first pull-up.

A guy wrote the following on the forum of Starting Strength:

“Add weight as soon as it’s possible, if you really want to get strong at dipping. Doesn’t matter if you add weight and do only low rep sets. Add weight. For instance years ago I had a terrible time doing even 1 chin.

So I started adding weight doing just 1 chin. After quite a few months I was doing 10 sets of 1 chin with 100lbs around my waist. After that I was able to perform fairly high rep sets. The same thing will work with dips, especially since you are able to do more than the one rep I was limited to. {more}”

This method may work for some, but the better approach would be to rely on a solid foundation.

If a beginner implements the method above before establishing a solid technique, the problem is only going to get bigger.

Eventually, a critical moment will be reached.

As they say:

when-to-add-weight-to-chin-ups-and-dips-1

Why is the requirement for dips 2×20 and only 2×15 for pull-ups?

Because the pull-up is more joint-friendly. The dip puts a significant stress on the shoulders, and therefore, it’s better to prepare the body with even more reps. On the other hand, the pull-up, especially when done on rings, is more natural and places less stress on the joints.

Can I reach my genetic potential by just doing weighted dips and pull-ups?

You can definitely reach the potential of your lats and chest, but a complete physique will require more exercises. For instance, neither the pull-up nor the dip works the spinal erectors.

How long will it take to reach those numbers?

It depends on many factors. If you are overweight, you will first have to lose weight before expecting miracles. Once you are in a decent condition, you can go from 1 to 15 pull-ups comfortably in less than a year. However, it will be harder for girls.

If you are someone who can already do a few pull-ups, you won’t need more than 6 months.

Will there be a visual difference?

Yes. Going from 1 dip to 20 for 2 sets will build some muscle. However, don’t expect miracles.

Why not increase the numbers even further? 40 dips and 35 pull-ups?

Technically, you could, but it’s not required. The goal is to become proficient. If you keep going, you will find yourself at the point of diminishing returns.

Who’s more prepared to do weighted chin-ups? The guy that can do 15 reps or the guy that can do 25 reps? They both are. Moreover, ultra-high reps cook the central nervous system.

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