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  1. #1
    Registered User AbbieDerasmo23's Avatar
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    Can I gain muscle with dips and pull ups? (Female)

    I am a 5’8 133 pound female and my gym has recently shut down due to covid once l again :/ I just invested in a pull up bar and have only gotten 4 reps for pull ups/chin ups. I usually do like 5x4 and pause at the bottom. Same goes with dips. Since these two compound exercises are pretty still hard for me, is it possible that I can gain some muscle if I continue to progress with these movements? I am also stuck with a 70 pound adjustable barbell and a set of 20 pound dumbbells that I’ve been using high amounts of reps for. (15-25 range)
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  2. #2
    All Star faithbrah's Avatar
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    yes you can
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  3. #3
    Registered User Brandon2576's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    yes you can
    ^^^
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  4. #4
    OCB Pro smokinal's Avatar
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    Sure; Do some forced reps with your pull ups/chins. When you've exhausted your own strength, use your foot and slightly jump back up (being careful not to hit your head on the bar) into a contracted position and slowly lower yourself for a few more reps. If your bar is high enough that you have to jump up to grab it, just use a small stool to stand on so your feet will touch when lowered.

    For you DB movements, make those 20's work harder for you. Slow your movement down, don't pause, use ultra strict form, use time under tension, focus on contraction and muscle engagement, etc....
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  5. #5
    Registered User Casca's Avatar
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    Absolutely. Just about all I do is calisthenics. For pull ups and dips, you can do it assisted by using a band or just self assist by keeping one foot on the ground to support a % of your weight ( I don't mean just stand on one foot, I mean the one foot is just supporting 5-XX pounds of your bodyweight).
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  6. #6
    Formerly grouchyjarhead GrouchyUSMC's Avatar
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    Check out the development of female gymnasts - that is pretty much all they do.
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    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Yes and i concur with all the above.
    GrouchyUSMC beat me to it that if you take a look a most gymnasts they have very good development from basically bar or ring work.
    I think the key would be to try different ways to do them for overall development.
    You might also consider strap exercises like TRX or lifeline jungle XT.
    These open up several more training options.
    I have the lifeline brand and really like them.
    They hook up in a door frame with no issues to it.
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  8. #8
    Registered User BeginnerGainz's Avatar
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    Yes, yes you can
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  9. #9
    Formerly grouchyjarhead GrouchyUSMC's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    Yes and i concur with all the above.
    GrouchyUSMC beat me to it that if you take a look a most gymnasts they have very good development from basically bar or ring work.
    I think the key would be to try different ways to do them for overall development.
    You might also consider strap exercises like TRX or lifeline jungle XT.
    These open up several more training options.
    I have the lifeline brand and really like them.
    They hook up in a door frame with no issues to it.
    A TRX knock off was legitimately the best piece of gear I have purchased in a long time.
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  10. #10
    Registered User Casca's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GrouchyUSMC View Post
    A TRX knock off was legitimately the best piece of gear I have purchased in a long time.
    I started out with a TRX knockoff as well. I actually think they were better than TRX, because they were two separate straps and not one strap that V's off into the handles. I tried doing dips on TRX and couldn't because the straps get in the way. Have since switch to Olympic rings and I don't understand why the Navy SEAL guy "invented" TRX instead of just using rings. TRX is just a knockoff of rings, but with a crappy handle that limits what you can do. I could do dips with my knockoff straps, but the handles aren't very good for doing stuff like that.

    Regarding gymnast builds, a good deal of it is because of straight arm static holds and bent arm static holds. Really hardcore static holds for time. You can build muscle with push ups, dips and pull ups, but it only takes you so far. Look at male gymnast with huge biceps. They don't do arm curls and very rare "rest day for the muscles to grow". They workout full body every time they workout, arms get savaged, every time they workout. Some of their arm size is because of all the pulling up and dip type moves, but I think even more of it is because of straight arm static holds for time.

    I didn't really think you could build biceps with straight arm holds. My arms are big from doing a lot of pull ups, push ups and dips, but I didn't really have peaks on my biceps. Before getting really deep on my planche leans, I doubted gymnast with huge biceps don't do arm curls. Planche; basically upper push up position, arms straight and lean forward till feet come off the ground and stay there for time. I didn't feel it in my biceps, core and quads till a month ago when my leans are deep to the point if I had the core strength, my feet would be off the ground. And ya, now my biceps are peaked and look like I spent a lot of time doing bicep curls. I don't work arms directly at all, zero bicep curls except for pull ups. And also I now believe straight arm full planche will work biceps a lot more than pull ups. There was actually a former gymnast that went pro bodybuilding and did a full planche on stage and ended up with a bicep tear.
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  11. #11
    Registered User klbbr's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinal View Post
    For you DB movements, make those 20's work harder for you. Slow your movement down, don't pause, use ultra strict form, use time under tension, focus on contraction and muscle engagement, etc....
    This.

    I've been working out for couple years, but started this recently, and wish I had from the get-go. AbbieDerasmo23. Do slow reps. Get a good squeeze, mind-body and all that jazz. You get less injuries and more fun.

    Do watch out for taking too many reps. I've had a home gym for a long time, and over-trained for a long time. According to a Jeremy Ethier video I saw science says high reps or low reps, it doesn't matter, it builds the same amount of muscle—when done to exhaustion. So I did. And surely overtrained following that regime, so be careful if you stick to high rep sets. Best of luck going forward!
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  12. #12
    Registered User ClaudeSpeed22's Avatar
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    Yes, of course. You can gain tons of muscle and strenght by peforming dips. It is a compound excercise and you can do many reps before you get stuck. Also, you can add weight with a heavy bag to increase the challenge.
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  13. #13
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    If you don't have access to the barbell, dips, pullups, pushups and other bodyweight exercises work very well to build muscle and strength sometimes even a better body than just weights alone.
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