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How to Do Assisted Pull-ups and Dips

Exercises for the Upper Body

By

Updated April 30, 2014

A pull-up (or chin-up) is an exercise for working the back and arm muscles. Pull-ups require you to lift your body up by the arms so that your chin is approximately level with a bar previously above your head. The "assisted" pull-up uses a gym machine that assists you by providing counterweight upward pressure during the lift. Dips are an exercise for the triceps muscle at the back of the upper arm. Assisted dips use the same machine but with different hand positions for the dip exercise.

Find out more about weight training exercise description if you need background information before you try this exercise.

1. How to Do the Assisted Pull-up

Assisted pullups
Image: (c) TrainerClipArt.com
  1. Doing repetition pull-ups can be a real challenge if you have poor upper-body strength or excessive lower-body weight. Assisted pull-ups provide a means of developing strength before transitioning to the unassisted pull-up.
  2. Stand on the bottom step and grasp the angled handles at the top.
  3. Kneel on the pad while grasping the high handles to test the pad pressure.
  4. Adjust the upward pressure on the pad (more weight equals more assistance) to the point where you can do a set of pull-ups including at least 8 repetitions.
  5. As you get stronger over time, gradually decrease the support you set for the knee pad until you can do one or more pull-ups without assistance.
  6. Your goal should be to eventually do up to 8 pull-ups in a set with no assistance.

2. How to Do the Assisted Dip

Assisted dips
Image: (c) TrainerClipArt.com
  1. The assisted dip is an exercise mostly for the triceps muscle at the rear of the upper arm, including a little shoulder and chest work as well.
  2. Stand on the bottom step and grasp the handles half-way up the frame with an overhand grip.
  3. Kneel on the pad while grasping the handles to test the pad pressure.
  4. Adjust the upward pressure (more weight equals more assistance) on the pad to the point where you can do a set of at least 8 to 12 repetitions.
  5. As you get stronger, decrease the upward support gradually until you can do 8 to 12 dips in a set with decreasing support.
  6. Your goal will be to do 3 sets of 8 to 12 exercises unassisted.

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