Bodyweight Strength Training Video Series: Dips and Inverted Rows

Bodyweight Strength Training Series

Today I am going to bring you a Bodyweight Strength Training video series focusing on 2 of the top upper body exercises, the dip and the inverted row. Below you will find many videos on how to perform the movements, ways to scale them, home equipment options (no gym needed!) and even how to make your own for less money!

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Dips and Inverted Rows

Dips are often called the “upper body squat” in how effective it is in building a strong chest, shoulders and arms. Along with the pushup, it delivers a strong workout response (in a sense it is a similar “pushing” motion to the pushup, just vertical rather than horizontal).

The inverted row (or also know as a body row to some) is an excellent “pulling” exercise to help strengthen your back (which often gets neglected with an emphasis on doing too many pushing exercises).

Since it will be easier to show you than explain it all, let’s begin!

The Disclaimer:

Anything you see, make or do from the videos below is do/use at your own risk! We are not responsible if you make something and then fall on your head because it wasn’t sturdy enough! If you have any doubts you can always buy equipment to use.

Video #1

Here is a good intro video from Ultimate Body Press to demonstrate the movements for the dip and inverted rows. Note how it also shows to scale/modify the movements by using “leg assistance” for dips with a foot on the ground and moving the feet closer for the inverted rows. You can modify your movements to best suit your ability and build up your strength from there.

Video #2

Here is another piece of equipment called the Equalizers that you can also use. Similar to the bars above, these are 2 separate ones you can move around. In the video Mark also adds in some more creative ways to use the 2 stands.

Video #3

If you want to spend even less money, well check out this creative solution. Time to hit the garage sales for some walkers! (not sure I would go look for these personally, but just something to keep in mind at the next garage sale)

Video #4

Still want another cheap solution? Well Matt over at the Strength Shop (who is one strong dude!) shows us how to make a dip/inverted row station out of PVC.

Video #5

An even more creative version is using chairs that you can do some deep pushups, dips and a creative way to use a broom stick with the chairs (later on in the video) for the inverted rows. You better have some sturdy chairs. I would also suggest finding a way to secure the broomstick so it doesn’t slide off.

Video #6

You could also just head over to the local playground’s bars and see if you can pull off some of these dips, rows and other moves as demonstrated by the Calisthenics Kingz’s.

Video #7

You can also use some bodyweight straps (also known as a suspension trainer) as well for your dip and inverted rows (note you will have to have something sturdy overhead to attach them to). Gymnastic rings work for this as well. The straps are pretty high in this video, but you can always lower them so you can use “leg resistance” when needed for your ability.

Videos #8 & 9

Lastly if you don’t want to buy a set of straps/rings, you can always make them yourself cheaper from things you can get from Home Depot as demonstrated in the 2 videos below.

and another DIY (do it yourself) suspension trainer video

Wrap Up

So there you have it, as a wrap up here are the finer points:

  • Dips and inverted rows are 2 of the top upper-body bodyweight exercises that you can do (along with pushups and pullups)
  • Doing simple circuits with these exercises 2-3x/week, will get you stronger and build muscle (which also helps to burn that fat)
  • You can buy a pre-made dips stand (which you can also do rows on) and/or bodyweight straps (also known as a suspension trainer)/rings.
  • You can make your own dips stand or suspension trainer if you think you are handy/creative enough, or find something to use at the local playground
  • Safety first! Make sure what ever you use is secure and sturdy for your weight and movements (aka don’t get injured in the process!)
  • To scale the movements to make easier, just use more “leg assistance” as demonstrated above. This is easily done with the dip stands and for suspension trainers you would just have to lower the handles to allow more use of your legs.
  • To scale the movements to make harder you can either increase the volume (# of sets and reps) and/or increase the resistance/bodyweight with a weight vest (or a backpack full of something heavy). Remember to make sure your equipment is sturdy enough to handle the additional load.
  • Make it a challenge like getting to 100 reps (or 10 sets of 10 reps) of each. Do alternating sets in a circuit (as the benefit is you will rest the “pushing” muscles as you use the “pulling” ones (and visa versa), while still keeping a high overall workout intensity (short rest periods). Similar to what we did with the 100 rep pushup challenge (and you can use the “grease the groove” strategy here as well).

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