Chains in chest workouts aren’t just for bench-press lockouts. Branch Warren popularized another purpose: weighting down his dips. The Texan had long been known for barbarically hardcore workouts, but once photos of him dipping with three giant chains swallowing his head hit the bodybuilding world, his take-no-prisoners training style reached legendary status. Since then, people have been dipping with iron around their necks instead of dangling from their waists.

A “necklace” has advantages over a belt. First, it’s easier to get on and off. This is a boon during dropsets—you can merely shed a chain and keep dipping without a pause. Second, a weight draped over your traps makes it easier to lean into reps and target your pecs. In contrast, a weight dangling between your legs pulls you straight down, so it’s harder to lean forward—a plus when doing triceps dips, but a minus on chest day.

Oh, and knocking out dips the Warren way looks really badass.

Chain Dip Tip Sheet

■ Most chains weigh 30–60 pounds. Use one you can get at least eight full reps with.

■ If you can get more than 15 reps, use a heavier chain or add a second one.

■ Make your final set a dropset. Get as many reps as you can, shed the chain, then keep going weight-free.

■ If you’re strong enough, you can do multiple drops, shedding a chain each time you reach failure, before ending with only your body weight

Warren’s Chest Routine

Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Press 3 8-10
Bench Press 3 8-10
Dumbell Bench Press 3 8-10
Cable Crossover 3 12-15
Chain Dip 3 20-25

Warren’s Career Highs

2011-12: Two-time Arnold Classic champ

2009: Mr. Olympia, 2nd place

7: Pro shows won