In MMA you can see that the top fighters all have amazing upper body strength and endurance.

Developing overall upper body strength is key to having more power and being effective in the clinch, while on the ground grappling, pushing your opponent away from you or grabbing and holding them to apply the fight winning submission.

Two exercises that are must have in your strength and conditioning training is the parallel dip and pull-up.  I usually end of every training session with sets of body-weight pull ups and dips to help increase my upper body strength. 

I posted 2 videos (a little dated) but they never grow old. And don’t mention anything about the beard.

It is key to condition your body to get comfortable moving its own weight and using bodyweight exercises like these two will help.  Once you get better and more advanced, make sure to add weight, which will help you to develop more power.

Add these exercises to your workout sessions and watch your rapid improvement in MMA, BJJ, Grappling, Muay Thai or any Combat Sport.

Watch the videos, read the posts and please leave your comments or post other variations of dips and pull ups






The parallel dip could be my all-time favourite exercise. ALL TIME!

I remember going to a Fitness Expo in Toronto, where they had a Dip Contest. The person who could muster up the most dips would win prizes from a supplement company. I knew 3 weeks ahead of time about this, so I trained. Up to that point, I could only perform about 25 dips max. Every day for 3 weeks I dipped after my workouts.

Finally it was Expo day. When I entered, I dashed to the booth that housed the Dip Contest.

Now up to this point, the record was 29, keep in mind it was Friday evening. The attendant had me jump onto the bars and away I went.

He counted. One, two, three, four, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty. “You have the record now” he said. Forty, fifty, sixty, sixty eight…sixty nine…SEVENTY! I performed 70 dips in a row. That’s right 70. The look on everyone’s face was of amazement… “Are you serious, you didn’t just do seventy dips?” He said.

That was 3 weeks of dips after every workout, just to win a t-shirt, gym bag and water bottle

But for me it was more than that. It was the satisfaction of setting a goal and overachieving. Also without really noticing, my arms were bigger and I had more strength.

When you train and have a goal, it is amazing what other nuggets come out of it. Things you don’t even think of start to surface. You may be training to lose weight, and with doing a program you also gain muscle definition and better heart cardio.

The parallel dip works the bottom edge of the pecs and gives size on the triceps. With this exercise you want to prop up on the dipping bars and then slowly lower yourself to a point where your arms are at 90 angles. You then explode back up, all the time keeping your breathing on pace with the movement. Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up. Try to blast out 5-10 without the assist. You will soon see that after practice, because that is what it is, you will be able to blast out 15-20.

The key is no matter what you do, when dips are performed before or after every workout, you will see an improvement in all of your workouts.


When you are engaging your upper body in recreation or a sports event, rarely do you activate one muscle at a time. Instead, your movements will include back, shoulder and arm muscles working together. Perhaps you don’t have a particular sport but you want a great upper body or to lift that 1 yr old.

One of the best upper body exercises is the medium/wide grip pull up. Pull-ups (or chins) provide an excellent way to stress most of the muscles in the middle and upper back, shoulders, chest and arms and therefore, it’s an outstanding upper body exercise. I like to perform this exercise before each workout. It gives me a nice warm up and helps with increasing my strength.

This exercise is effective and will improve your athletic output whether you are going after a rebound in a weekend pick up, spiking the ball past the block or out for a leisurely canoe trip in the wilds.


Use a pull up bar or assisted pull-up machine. Using a wide grip or a medium grip, grasp the bar with a pronated grip (palms away from your body) and hang with your elbows fully extended. Pull your body up until your collarbone reached the bar. Return to the starting position and repeat. Use a spotter or assist machine if you can’t do 10 reps.

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