Using a dip bar for its intended purpose—triceps dips, naturally—isn’t the easiest. Even holding your body weight up on your arms with solid shoulder form is difficult for a lot of guys.

But when you manipulate the distribution of that weight while forcing your abs to contract and hold a position? Now you’ve reached a whole ‘nother level of gym...nastics. That's what the dip bar pike-up challenges you to do.

What is the dip bar pike-up?

This is a little less challenging on elevated dip bars, because your body can hang freely beneath you, so start with those. Turn it into a serious pike hold challenge by using short dip bars or parallettes—they're harder to get into and hold thanks to seated starting position.

  1. Put your hands on the bars and hold yourself up in a "front support" position (arms along sides, weight on hands on bars), so there’s nothing in your way in front of you.
  2. Press your shoulder blades firmly down your back to pop your chest up proud. (If you can’t hold yourself for at least 10-15 seconds without your shoulders collapsing up to your ears, then work on that position for a while first.)
  3. From here, brace through your abs to raise your legs together up in front of you while simultaneously leaning back slightly, coming into a piked body position. Hold it if you want, or slowly lower your legs to go for reps.

What's so great about the dip bar pike-up?

Abs—So. Much. Abs—not to mention shoulder stability, core integration, quads, glutes… yeah, it's the definition of a full-body exercise. There's a reason gymnasts are so jacked.

How can you use it?

The dip bar pike up is an especially tough total-body core move that requires serious strength and control, especially in the oblique muscles, which tend to be under-developed with traditional ab training exercises. It's a good complement to shoulder day or ab day, or a great way to simply enhance your isometric strength.