Build Shoulder Strength and Stability [20 Second Reps]

The lovely mailman recently delivered these to my house:


And I used them for the first time yesterday.

I went out to a local playground and attached them to this cargo net style apparatus that kids climb up because it was the highest anchor point where I could hang and do my thing.

A few kids who were playing looked at me for a second then got bored and resumed their running around and acting like animals, while I caught the moms either sneaking glances at me or making sure I wasn’t going to steal their kids.

I suspect the latter.

So I messed around with some inversions, feeble attempts at front levers, and did a bunch of pullups and dips.

Dips are a whole other story on the rings.

In fact, I was still feeling some delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from doing dips on a TRX (before I got these rings) on Saturday.

All I did were 3 sets of 2 reps, but the key was that each rep took about 20 seconds – 10 seconds for both the eccentric (down) and concentric (up).

The reason why I’m doing these super slow reps right now is because the limiting factor is not strength in this movement pattern, since I can do 20+ Dips on parallel bars, but shoulder stability.

Here’s a vid I shot when I did them on Saturday:

You can do this for many different exercises including but not limited to: Dips, Pushups, Bench Press, Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Chinups, Pullups, etc… Avoid doing Deadlifts if you don’t want your low back to explode.

Pick an exercise, put a stopwatch down where you can see it or just count “1001, 1002…” to ensure you’re going nice and slow.

With Ring Dips, the instability of the platform really jacks up the stabilization requirement needed from your shoulders, which you will definitely feel if you give them a go.

I’m feeling soreness in upper-mid back muscles now – something I’ve never gotten from traditional dips on a parallel bar.

Another benefit to 20 second reps is that it will illuminate any weak/sticking points in your range of motion, so you can identify areas that might be holding you back.

TECHNIQUE TIPS: make sure whatever exercise you do, direct your attention to breathing, keeping a “poker face” and of course, proper form.

You may find that the slow tempo is a lot harder than you think, even with exercises you’re very strong in.

Going forward, I’ll be working in more and more of these types of exercises into my routines to test them out.

In fact, I’m going to do a pretty drastic experiment on myself, one that I believe will be an EVOLUTION in my fitness and programming.

We’ll talk about this more in the New Year.

Till then, enjoy some 20 second reps.



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4 years ago

Nice post. I’ve sort of been doing this but with only 12 total; I’ll have to increase it to 20. I’ve noticed an increase in my shoulder ROM, stability and strength, then when I get on regular dip bars bangin out 20-30 dips is so easy.

have you tried the push ups with the rings? Awesome for grip strength and core stability––great for grapplers.

4 years ago

love watching correct form and explanation. get similar at the gym from STRIVE trainer. my group is over 55+. instructor tells us we have too much fun. one hour class split between machine, weights and cardio and floor. I do not feel I’m doing enough weight wise but because my thighs will not release contraction it is difficult to do as much as I want, Again, you just keep getting better with everything.