Last Sunday, I and my woman went to the gym in the morning.
I was tired and out of gas. Why? I’m on a hard cut at the moment. I eat no carbohydrates at all.
And boy, I can feel that when it comes to energy. I don’t have the same pumps or strength.
I still performed 3 repetitions of dips.
(With an extra 50 kg / 110 lbs hanging from my waist)
That is 10 kilograms and 2 repetitions over the elite level of strength. At least based on the lifting statistics of 285,000 people.
I’ll bang out a couple of reps on +60 kg in a few weeks. What I did this Sunday is nothing special. No world record.
But the thing I just realized was…
I have only trained dips for two months!
To become so strong in an exercise — within 2 months — is extraordinary. So why not tell you a few secrets I discovered during this period?
1. You have to like an exercise to become good at it
I’m friends with powerlifters with walls covered with medals from the IPF World Championships.
I’ve talked to bodybuilders who lift insane weights in a humble basement gym.
And you know what I’ve noticed about them?
The exercises they’re excellent at… are those they like.
You may think this is stupid and simple, but hear me out:
When you walk into the gym, in a good mood and looking forward to the exercise you’re about to do…
Everything will fall into place.
You’ll be more consistent in performing the exercise. You’re more likely to improve your technique and find the best movement for you.
You’ll push yourself to the max!
This is why a lot of bodybuilders are strong in the bench press but weak in squats.
They love bench pressing and do it several times a week to build those pecs.
But squats… they’re so hard. Lifters weak in the squat always opt for leg presses and hamstring curls.
This is why your best lift is your favorite exercise..
But here’s the issue:
You have to like an exercise to become good at it. But to like an exercise, you often have to be good at it.
A contradiction, right? Chicken and the egg, which comes first?
Because let’s face it:
You’re not hyped if your entire workout is exercises you’re weak in. Exercises that don’t feel good.
How can you solve this?
That leads me to the next point, keep reading.
2. A Simple Hack For The Catch-22
You can become good at an exercise, even if you don’t like it right now.
The magic is to do it all at the same time.
Learn how to like it, and improve at it.
Start doing the exercise. Dedicate yourself to it.
Every chest and shoulder day you should perform dips.
Start your workout with that exercise.
Do dips when you’ve got the most energy.
If I do bench presses and military presses before I do dips… I’m too exhausted to progress in dips.
Learn how to perform dips in an optimal way for your body.
2 months ago I’d never trained dips. Because every time I tried them, my elbows and shoulders would hurt like hell.
Of course, you don’t like an exercise which hurts you. Because of that, you won’t make a habit of performing it.
Learn how to do dips that feel good to your body.
Doing dips was hurtful at first.
But I experimented with grip width, the angle of my upper body and placement of my legs. I found a technique that’s perfect for me.
3. Do it a lot
One reason you have to like an exercise to become good at it is because you want to do it more.
More is more when it comes to becoming strong like a god.
That’s why elite athletes train two times a day.
Do dips as often you can. As many sets and reps as you can. With as much weight you can handle.
Focus less on assistance exercises and aim 90% of your energy on becoming a champion on dips.
4. Fuel yourself
In bodybuilding and the health industry… carbohydrates have taken a big hit.
I understand that. Carbs bloat you. You get brain fog and unstable blood sugar.
But when you want to lift really heavy… when performance is your #1 goal…
You want to eat carbs. A LOT OF THEM!
You get a bit bloated from them. That’s a good thing when lifting heavy. They lubricate your joints and make them feel smoother.
This is an important point since we talk about dips. Lifters whine that it’s a rough exercise on your shoulders and elbows, but if you’re a healthy man who eats enough carbs… you will be fine.
Carbs are an excellent source of energy.
If you’re an inactive fat ass, or trying to cut down on body fat, don’t eat them. But to become strong like a beast, you want to have a moderate or high carb intake.
Truth is… you want to eat a lot of everything!
Why do you think the world’s strongest powerlifters and strongmen are fat? Because more energy from food gives you more fuel for the gym!
Lifting heavy is simple!
5. Start with bodyweight only, do many reps
When I first started doing dips, I did them with only my bodyweight.
Some days I’d do 10 reps every minute until I had done 200.
Other days I did 5 sets to failure.
When I could do 30 dips was the moment I started adding extra weight.
5. Then you can go heavy
You should go light and do many repetitions to drill in the movement. It should be second nature.
When you can do 30 bodyweight dips, you want to add weight. Get a dip belt, a weight west or hang a heavy chain over your neck.
What rep range you stay in with added weight is flexible. I do anything between single repetitions to 10.
All that matters is that when you can do 10 dips with a weight, pump those numbers up. Increase the weight or do 11 reps next time.
The key is to not be a pussy. Don’t chicken out on increasing your load. It doesn’t matter if you fail that last repetition. Nobody cares about you. Just do it.
Until next time,
— Alexander Contrarian