Reliability of pull up and dip maximal strength tests

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Strength and Conditioning Association


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Originally published as: Coyne, J.O., Tran, T., Secomb, J.L., Lundgren, L., Farley, O.R., Newton, R., Sheppard, J.M. (2015). Reliability of pull up and dip maximal strength tests. Journal of Australian Strength and Conditioning. 23(4), 21 - 27. Original article available here


Upper extremity (UE) pressing and pulling strength are vital for success in many sports. Therefore, testing UE strength is considered an integral component of a complete athletic testing profile. Although open kinetic chain (OKC) UE strength tests and associated protocols are common, closed kinetic chain (CKC) UE tests are less so. Hence it is worthwhile to examine the utility of the Pull Up and Dip as CKC measures of UE maximal strength. A group of 15 adult males of mixed level (recreational to international) athletes performed a 1 RM maximum Pull Up and Dip test on 2 occasions separated by 7 days. Distinct anatomical markers and movement standards were identified to assist with the evaluation of the subjects’ performance. From the trials, the test-retest reliability, smallest worthwhile change and ratio between the Pull Up and Dip were examined. These Pull Up and Dips were measured in both absolute (105.90 ± 17.78, and 116.89 ± 23.48, respectively) and relative to body weight (1.43 ± 0.15, and 1.59 ± 0.23, respectively). Both tests demonstrate high reliability (ICC 0.96-0.99) and determined a smallest worthwhile change of 3% in relative Pull Up strength and 4% in relative Dip strength; respectively. When taking into account relative strength, the upper body musculature used for the Dip movement is 1.11 times stronger than the musculature involved in Pull Up. Strength and conditioning coaches can use these protocols to examine possible differences between higher and lower performers and correlations with performance measures in a sport.