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Coach Sommer

Bulgarian Ring Dips

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Coach Sommer

Bulgarian dips on the Xtreme Rings are a mainstay of my athlete's ring strength training. They promote a much greater degree of strength acquisition than standard ring dips through extending the range of instability accessed during the exercise. Bulgarian dips allow the shoulder girdle and chest to develop a solid preparatory foundation prior to beginning serious iron cross training. And unlike iron cross training, this is done without the risk of perhaps prematurely exposing the elbows to the rigors of full bodyweight straight arm work.To perform a Bulgarian dip, begin by assuming a standard support position on the rings. As a reminder, a correct support position will have the chest elevated, the back flat (no hunching!), the elbows locked and the rings turned outward slightly. bulgarian%20dips.jpgFrom this position, start the descent by allowing the rings to begin turning inward to a parallel position while simultaneously pressing the rings outward. Continue the descent until a pair of 90 degree angles have been achieved; a 90 degree bend in the elbows and a 90 degree angle between the upper arms and the torso. When you have reached the correct depth of descent; in addition to the pair of 90 degree angles hopefully attained, the upper arms will also be parallel with the floor.It should also be noted that during the descent the torso should have remained completely upright with the chest directly between the hands.To ascend, press upward while pulling the rings back in closer to the body, as well as turning them out once again. Continue to make certain that the torso remains upright at all times. This constitutes one repetition.If descending to such a depth is beyond your current capacities (whether due to a lack of strength or a lack of flexibility), it is completely acceptable to initially descend to less than 90 degrees. Simply strive to increase the depth and width of your repetitions over time.Yours in Fitness,Coach SommerThe Xtreme Rings which have been responsible for building a great deal of this athlete's strength are available here.

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Guest Brusi

Bulgaria rocks !

Thank you for the nice exercise Coach Sommer.

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John Sapinoso

Would you say that there is any added difficulty advantage performing the dips with the turn out at the top, after support is reached?

As opposed to when I do these, I hit the bottom with palms facing each other and turn them out as I dip up.

Thanks.

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Coach Sommer

Additional Bulgarian Dip Details

Palms facing each other is only half of the rotation that I require of my athletes; however you will find that turning the rings in further at the bottom will not be an issue. The rings are turned inward at the bottom to facilitate the elbows being able to come forward and outward into line with the torso; this cannot be accomplished with the palms facing each other. This sought after elbow forward position significantly increases the load on the shoulders and chest compared to a standard ring dip.

The goal is to arrive in what is essentially a bent arm iron cross with the upper arms directly in line with the shoulder girdle and the hands directly under the elbows.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Paul

I did these today and really enjoyed them so thanks Coach for posting another great exercise. I added a 5 second static hold at the bottom of each dip and did around 5 sets of 3 reps. Can still feel it in my shoulders now a few hours later.

Paul.

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David Picó García

This is how i perform dips as is the way Jordan Jovtchev do them at a Ring DVD i have (wait a moment... he is from bulgaria!!! :P ).

Would you say that there is any added difficulty advantage performing the dips with the turn out at the top, after support is reached?

I think so, in fact in my last reps just blocking the elbows and turning out the rings become the hardest part of the movement. And as we all know just doing support on rings is not the same as in a dip station or parallels bar so there no rest in locking elbows in this dip but a hard work of the pecs stabilizing.

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Guest Valentin

Where did that name "Bulgarian Dips" come from Coach Sommer or did you just make it up, cause of the Jordan Jovtchev DVD? haha.. I ask cause i am Bulgarian, and find it interesting when i read something like this, never knew Bulgarians invented an actual exercise haha.

Have you ever tied doing the dip, then extending out to an Iron Cross, then back to dip (as in 90deg position in video), and back up? I could see that been a pretty tough exercise... i would try it, but my Iron Cross hasn't seen the light of day in a while..ohh wait it was never really all that good anyways haha.

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Alex
This is how i perform dips as is the way Jordan Jovtchev do them at a Ring DVD i have (wait a moment... he is from bulgaria!!! :P ).

Yea thats where I first saw them.

Thanks for extra details Coach.

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Coach Sommer

How did Bulgarian Dips get Their Name?

Actually I named them Bulgarian dips as my friend, Krasimir Dounev - 1996 Olympic silver medalist on Horizontal Bar, is the one who first showed me a variation of this movement years ago.

No, I do not recommend extending out into a cross from the bottom of the dip. I severely injured a forearm/elbow doing a reduced weight variation of what is essentially a "snap cross" some years ago. The injury took over 9 months to fully heal :x. The pressure on the elbows is extreme and the leverage during the transition from bent to straight is practically non-existent. I'm sure that there are super human mutants who can train the element with no negative effects; I was simply not one of them, nor do I believe that the benefits of the movement outweigh the potential risks for most people.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Guest Free Man

Coach Sommer, would you train a weak guy differently than a strong guy?

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Coach Sommer

I begin all of my athletes on the same basic program. How far they progress through my program will be entirely dependent upon their work ethic and natural native ability.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Guest Valentin

Ah ok so that is how they got the name.

On this "snap" cross fair enough, i understand what you mean. Shame about your injury (glad its healed at least), but on the other hand thanks for testing it out and saving others from it haha.

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User24

Here is a question in regard to the video:

Back up in the support position, palms outward, there is a wide gap between his hands and the trunk of his body. When I keep this same gap distance, my elbows hurt afterwards. Is it correct form to keep the hands away from the body? Or is keeping the hands close to the body correct as well, in order to keep the elbows from aching aftewards?

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Coach Sommer

Width of Support Hold on Rings

How wide you are comfortable holding the rings out, will depend entirely on the level of support strength which you currently possess. The athlete in question from the Bulgarian Dip demonstration video has an iron cross, so he is obviously very strong in the support position.

In terms of a general support position on the rings, you will progress through the following stages of support strength:

1) Arms bent with the rings turn in

2) Arm straight (elbows completely locked), but the rings are still turned in

3) Arms straight with the thumbs turned outward until the straps are completely clear of the forearms.

4) Arms straight and the thumbs turned with the rings pressed slightly outward from the side of the body.

Be patient here and enjoy the process. Building strength is a journey; not a destination. There is no hurry, with regular practice your support strength is going to increase at a fairly fast rate anyway. Forcing yourself to perform a support position for which you are not yet strong enough may cause an overuse injury to the elbows.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Kamali Downey

Coach,

I have a question regarding dips on the rings.

I currently do two types of dips on the rings

1.) I do the Bulgarian ring dips like demonstrated in your youtube video library (this seems to hit the chest more) and would seem to prepare me for crosses and cross pulls like you said.

2.) another type of dip i try to do is one that focuses on my triceps more with my elbows glued to my sides. ( i dont know what to call these but they seem like they would help prepare me for malteses and/or the dynamic versions)

my question is, in version #2 with regards to form, should my hands be completely turned out the entire time with a supinated grip?

in a regular triceps dip on parallel bars they would be facing each other but that doesn't seem right, because it causes too much friction with the straps on my arms.

any help would be appreciated....

p.s. I looked for videos trying to demonstrate what I am talking about. Here is the closest thing I found:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=cd9mJohCXVI

You can see after about 10 seconds in, he has complete turnout the entire time and his palms face completely out

thanks

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Coach Sommer

Another Dip Variation Question

I have never found that dip variation (the hands turned very far out and the arms close to the sides) particularly useful and choose not use it with my own athletes. I realize that others may feel differently, however that is my own personal assessment of that movement. I would recommend that you experiment with it and then decide for yourself.

Also in regards to your maltese question, I do not believe that the dip variation in question will provide any significant assistance in preparing for a maltese.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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sghetti

A little more than half way into my second year of college taking third year courses is a little more than overwhelming. Sleep, school, study, church, and homework is what most of my week consists of, and fitting a workout into all this can be difficult.

After a horrible day of hours of inconclusive studying and leading to being burned out right before lecture, I decided I had to start working out again. Maybe it will pick up my mood and lead me to more efficient study time. I just got done with a couple of sets of reverse cranks, front lever pulls, cranks, HSPU Bulgarians, and a burnout set of ring rows for prehab.

As far as the HSPU Bulgarians, I try to shrug into the top portion of the movement, if that makes sense, and I feel most of it on my chest and traps. They're handstand pushups, so I feel like I should feel most of it on my shoulders. Am I doing them wrong?

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Coach Sommer

Bulgarian HSPUs are a HSPU Variation

It should always be remembered that the Bulgarian HSPU are indeed a HSPU variation and as such should be felt primarily in the shoulder girdle and arms.

Adding the shoulder shrug to the top of these, as well as other HSPU variations, is an excellent way to increase the intensity of the movement and to promote some serious strength gains. Probably 12 years ago, overhead shrugs were a movement that I decided to place a primary focus on within my own workouts. 2-3 times a week for 2-3 sets of 30 seconds each. I utilized a smith machine when I did overhead shrugs as I had approximately 1.5 times bodyweight on the bar. When I performed the overhead shrugs, the majority of the movement was in the shoulder girdle with only an inch or two of movement in the elbows. Please also note that at that time I was doing no gymnastics type conditioning at all.

To make a long story short, one day a few months into this type of training, I engaged in a handstand contest with one of my older athletes and held a nearly two minute free balancing handstand without having done any handstand training for quite some time. I remember being quite surprised at how easy and stable the handstand position felt.

The key when using this type of movement is to concentrate on time, or the duration of the set, rather than the actual repetitions themselves.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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rambo5501
Bulgarian HSPUs are a HSPU Variation

It should always be remembered that the Bulgarian HSPU are indeed a HSPU variation and as such should be felt primarily in the shoulder girdle and arms.

Adding the shoulder shrug to the top of these, as well as other HSPU variations, is an excellent way to increase the intensity of the movement and to promote some serious strength gains. Probably 12 years ago, overhead shrugs were a movement that I decided to place a primary focus on within my own workouts. 2-3 times a week for 2-3 sets of 30 seconds each. I utilized a smith machine when I did overhead shrugs as I had approximately 1.5 times bodyweight on the bar. When I performed the overhead shrugs, the majority of the movement was in the shoulder girdle with only an inch or two of movement in the elbows. Please also note that at that time I was doing no gymnastics type conditioning at all.

To make a long story short, one day a few months into this type of training, I engaged in a handstand contest with one of my older athletes and held a nearly two minute free balancing handstand without having done any handstand training for quite some time. I remember being quite surprised at how easy and stable the handstand position felt.

The key when using this type of movement is to concentrate on time, or the duration of the set, rather than the actual repetitions themselves.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Nice to know.

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Blairbob

hmm, interesting.

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Scotty Hagnas

I've been doing Bulgarian Dips in sets of 5 reps, adding weight as I am able. Is this an appropriate progression to prepare for cross work, or would working to increase reps be better at this point? What is a good benchmark to shoot for with these?

Coupled with half presses, these seem to be very effective.

Thanks!

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Kamali Downey
I begin all of my athletes on the same basic program. How far they progress through my program will be entirely dependent upon their work ethic and natural native ability.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Coach,

I was re-reading this again and noticed this part.

is this basic program outlined in the book? I'm trying to fiugre out what exactly your "beginner program" would entail?

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Coach Sommer

The Components of the Gymnastic Bodies Program

The Gymnastic Bodies program is comprised of five different components; each of which has at least one book detailing the correct training and development of that component. The five components are maximal strength (which is further sub-divided into basic strength and advanced ring strength), joint preparation/active flexibility, handstand work and dynamic strength.

The first book, Building the Gymnastic Body, is solely concerned with establishing a solid foundation of basic strength.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Kamali Downey

Thanks for the reply Coach. Much appreciated.

This type of training has brought a heightened awareness of my entire body and helped me realize how everything is connected and all works together.

I'm finding through my weekly workouts that it seems like joint preparation/active flexibility work specifically is synergistic in building a basic foundation of strength.

For example, in my weekly planche progression work, it now seems that my wrist flexibility is the limiting factor to my progress.

Ditto for my shoulder flexibility with regards to my beginning handstand work.

IOW, what I'm saying is, wouldn't it be better to develop these two qualities at the same time?

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