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Tips on how to Do Dips for Chest Dimension and Energy

For some lifters, nothing beats the upper-body pump they get from a high-intensity chest exercise. Many of those gym-goers hope to construct a much bigger, stronger chest by specializing in the bench press, however mastering the easy and efficient body weight dip typically goes neglected.

muscular person in gym on dip bars
Credit score: Reshetnikov_art / Shuttertock

This staple motion isn’t only for gymnasts or calisthenics fans. It’s a elementary old fashioned train that’s been utilized by bodybuilders and energy athletes for many years.

Including dips to your exercise routine will goal your pecs, triceps, and shoulders for an all-around greater, fuller, stronger higher physique. Right here’s methods to use solely your physique weight to ship a deep burn and explosive pump on your chest.

Tips on how to Do Dips

Dips might be completed on devoted dip bars, at an assisted dip station, or a sturdy and secure pair of chairs. Whichever setup you’re utilizing, guarantee it’s at a top the place you’ll be able to maintain your legs and ft off the bottom when within the backside (stretched) place. It will permit a full vary of movement for optimum profit.

Step 1 — Stand up on the Bars

person exercising on parallel bars
Credit score: bbernard / Shutterstock

Step as much as the dip station and seize the bars with palms your dealing with inward. Preserve your arms straight — relying on the setup, it’s possible you’ll must sightly bounce into the locked out place. Bend your legs barely in order that your arms assist your total physique weight.

Preserve your again straight and your head trying ahead. Interact your core and glutes by squeezing them each to maintain your total physique tight.

Type tip: Ideally, your arms must be roughly shoulder-width distance. Some dip bars are angled to permit totally different grip widths. In case your arms are farther aside, shoulder-joint pressure can improve and stress in your chest muscular tissues can lower.

Step 2 — Decrease right into a Stretch

Woman performing chest exercise on bars outdoors
Credit score: Anton Romanov / Shutterstock

Slowly decrease your physique till your elbows are roughly at 90-degree angles, in case your mobility permits. Preserve a forward-looking head place, however let your higher physique angle barely ahead to extend recruitment of the chest muscular tissues.

Your elbows will naturally angle barely outwards. Keep away from excessively flaring your elbows on to the perimeters, which may improve pressure on the shoulder joints.

Type tip: Use a sluggish tempo to make sure management, most muscle stress, and increase muscle progress. (1) Take as much as three seconds to achieve the underside place.

Step 3 — Drive as much as Full Contraction

muscular person doing chest dip exercise
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Push your physique up in a managed, fluid movement. Cease when you’re again on the beginning place with almost straight arms. Briefly pause on the high to stabilize your physique and decrease any swinging.

As your physique rises, deal with feeling fixed stress contracting your chest muscular tissues. Interact the mind-muscle connection by focusing your full consideration on the pecs and visualize the muscle fibers working.

Type tip: Your physique’s path upwards ought to mirror the decreasing part. Your head and shoulders ought to arc barely in entrance of your arms on the way in which down, and your higher physique ought to return to a completely stacked place together with your elbows above your wrists.

Dip Errors to Keep away from

Dips are a basic body weight train that may add energy and dimension to your chest, arms, and shoulders. Nonetheless, poor type can result in suboptimal outcomes or potential harm, together with put on and tear in your rotator cuff tendons. (2) Luckily, the most typical errors are comparatively simple to keep away from.

Locking Your Elbows

Within the high place, keep away from locking your elbows ramrod straight. Preserve a slight bend in your arms to maintain them below fixed stress and yield optimum muscle-building outcomes. (3) Listening to your arm place at lockout reinforces utilizing a comparatively sluggish tempo whereas specializing in most muscle recruitment.

person in outdoor gym doing chest dip
Credit score: SofikoS / Shutterstock

As well as, locking your elbows places them in a probably hyperextended state, which can improve your danger of harm.

Keep away from it: As your physique approaches the highest of the motion, concentrate not solely to your chest muscular tissues contracting, however your arm place. This shall be tough to do when you use sloppy, swinging repetitions, so preserve a relentless, fluid movement all through every repetition.

Dipping Too Low

The underside, stretched place of most workouts is the place the concerned joints are below the best potential stress. Save your shoulders by paying shut consideration your depth when doing dips.

muscular person performing chest dip outdoors
Credit score: Art4star / Shutterstock

Going too low, past the purpose the place you are feeling your shoulder muscular tissues stretching, can considerably pressure the joints. Bear in mind, type is king in the case of any train. Body weight workouts, together with dips, aren’t any totally different.

Keep away from it: As you decrease your physique into the stretched place, you need to really feel each your chest muscular tissues and shoulder muscular tissues stretching. Don’t let your ego discuss you into utilizing an extreme vary of movement. If you happen to can see a mirror through the train, pay additional consideration as your elbows method a 90-degree bend. Stopping barely larger is extra acceptable than dropping too low.

Advantages of Dips

This fundamental body weight train permits you to construct muscle mass and energy in your higher physique, notably your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Mastering energy coaching train together with your body weight also can assist to diminished your total danger of harm and enhance core stabilization.

Elevated Muscle Mass and Energy

Doing dips stimulates your pecs, triceps, and core considerably. By stretching and creating stress on the complete chest muscle, dips are an environment friendly train for enhancing muscle progress. (4) Body weight workouts have additionally been proven to be similar to free weight workouts for constructing energy. (5)

Improved Joint Well being

Sustaining muscular steadiness is important for joint stability and total well being and efficiency, and body weight coaching is a extremely efficient answer. (6)

person doing dips in home gym
Credit score: Nannupa / Shutterstock

If you happen to carry out many pulling workouts or take part in actions which are pulling-intensive (e.g. coaching on rowing machines, pull-ups, many fight sports activities, and so on.), often performing dips can construct robust pushing muscular tissues to assist forestall muscular imbalances. A ten% improve in energy coaching quantity has proven to considerably decrease total harm danger. (7)

Improved Core Stabilization

Dips aren’t solely a chest train. You’ll interact your core by preserving your decrease physique secure all through the motion. Whereas your core isn’t straight educated throughout dips, it’s strongly recruited to offer total-body stability and coordinated motion as you press. Improved core stability helps to advertise total energy, well being, and harm prevention. (8)

Muscle tissue Labored by Dips

Dips are a extremely efficient train for strengthening the muscular tissues situated in and across the chest. Whereas dips primarily goal the chest itself, the triceps and shoulders are additionally straight educated, in addition to smaller stabilizers all through the higher physique.

Pectoralis Main

The pectoralis main is a thick, fan-shaped muscle that’s the biggest muscle of the entrance chest wall. The pecs have a number of capabilities controlling arm motion together with flexion and adduction (bringing the arms towards the physique’s centerline)(9)

Person in gym performing weighted exercise on dip bars
Credit score: Bojan Milinkov / Shutterstock

The pec main has two heads, the clavicular (higher chest) and the sternocostal (mid and decrease chest). When executing dips, the clavicular head is extra considerably labored as you method the high portion of the motion. The sternocostal head is extra extremely activated as you decrease into the stretched place. (9)

Triceps Brachii

The triceps encompass three separate however functionally comparable muscle heads — the lengthy, medial, and lateral. These are discovered on the again of the higher arm. The triceps are liable for straightening the arm on the elbow joint, extending the shoulder, and shifting the arm behind the torso — all of which work in sync throughout dips. (10)

Dips apply stress on all three heads of the triceps. Apparently, the medial head, particularly, is extra activated when the elbow is flexed past 90-degrees and the physique reaches a comparatively important depth. (10)

Anterior Deltoid

The anterior deltoid (entrance shoulder muscular tissues) is concerned when elevating the arm ahead, according to your physique. Extra notably, it’s engaged when shifting your arm from behind your physique to the entrance and/or overhead. Throughout dips, the anterior deltoid is activated when your higher arm strikes from the 90-degree bent place into the highest place together with your arms straight arms by your sides.

The anterior deltoids shoulder not be the first working muscle throughout dips, however they’re recruited considerably, which is why lifters with pre-existing shoulder issues might not be snug performing the train.


The abs are labored statically to manage your decrease physique and preserve a secure total-body place. Much like performing pull-ups, it’s not unusual for lifters to really feel some ab stress (and even post-workout soreness) of their abs after a number of intense units of dips.

Whereas your abs aren’t contracting by means of a major vary of movement, they’re recruited to keep up management over the hips and pelvis, and forestall any leg swinging.

Who Ought to Do Dips

Whether or not you’re pushing a lawnmower or pushing a weight overhead, having sufficient higher physique urgent energy is important. Dips might help to extend muscle mass, enhance purposeful energy, and construct better higher physique mobility.

Bodybuilders and Physique Athletes

Dips are a bodyweight-only various to the bench press or different chest urgent workouts. It permits lifters to coach the chest with excessive stress, excessive depth, and minimal gear. Dips might help to sculpt the chest by working the pecs at a singular angle, creating an efficient stimulus for progress. (11)

Energy Athletes

Any lifter targeted on shifting most weight in a urgent motion (bench press, overhead press, clear & jerk, and so on.) can profit from including dips to their accent coaching. By constructing the chest, shoulders, and triceps, you’ll be able to enhance the potential energy and energy these muscle can exert. (12) The body weight dip additionally permits an intense exercise with comparatively much less load, which may cut back cumulative stress on the joints.

Tips on how to Program Dips

Most novices will discover the dip to be difficult since you’re required to elevate nearly all of their very own physique weight, which might be too tough attributable to lack of energy. Luckily, persistence and energy will yield enchancment. Skilled lifters also can profit from the train as a coaching staple for dimension and energy.

Unweighted, Reasonable Quantity (Units and Reps)

When chasing optimum muscle good points, coaching the body weight dip with 4 to 6 units of 12 to fifteen reps, a couple of times every week might be extremely efficient. Method failure on the ultimate reps of every set to make sure acceptable depth. This whole quantity gives your chest with adequate time below stress to set off muscle progress.

Weighted or Unweighted, Low Repetition

Performing low quantity with low repetitions, resembling 4 to 5 units of three to 6 reps, is a dependable technique to construct energy. This low quantity might be achieved by suspending weight from a belt, holding a dumbbell between your ft, or from merely being unable to carry out greater than six repetitions with good type.

Performing unweighted, low repetition units steadily all through the day is one efficient technique for constructing energy and bettering approach. This is named greasing the groove and it’s a extremely efficient option to grasp any body weight train, together with dips.

Dip Variations

Dips can be utilized by lifters and athletes of any health stage to use stress to the a number of heads of the chest, triceps, and delts. Start with extra manageable variations of the dips whereas specializing in type, then add depth and quantity as you progress.

Ring Dip

Ring dips are a more difficult variation that requires important muscular coordination, steadiness, and stability. This train applies stress to the pecs by means of an extended vary of movement whereas additionally difficult the smaller stabilizers within the shoulders and higher again.

Ring dips are a well-liked train in CrossFit programming, in addition to common gymnastic-based applications, however the elevated recruitment of the higher physique stabilizers might help to enhance muscular coordination and total shoulder well being when programmed appropriately.

Triceps Dip

This very delicate variation makes use of slight changes to your arm and torso positions. These will lower emphasis on the chest and improve recruitment of the triceps, making it a well-liked and environment friendly arm-building motion.

The primary important distinction from the chest-focused dip is to keep up an upright torso through the descent moderately than leaning ahead, to scale back recruitment of the chest muscular tissues. Much more importantly, maintain your elbows close to your physique and aimed in the direction of the wall behind you. (13) Don’t permit them to flare outwards.

Dip Options

If a scarcity of shoulder mobility or pre-existing harm prevents you from executing dips, there are many various workouts you are able to do to proceed including dimension and energy to your chest.


Good ol’ push-ups. This basic train is a wonderful various to dips that also makes use of your personal body weight to use stress to the pecs and urgent muscular tissues.

Some skilled lifters contemplate push-ups to be too simple however, like dips, push-ups might be progressed with elevated quantity or exterior load to persistently problem the muscular tissues. The chest and shoulder muscular tissues aren’t put by means of a major stretch throughout push-ups, in comparison with dips, making them an excellent possibility for lifters with pre-existing joint ache.

Bench Press

The basic bench press is a wonderful substitute for dips as a result of the potential to maneuver heavy weights can carryover to dimension and energy good points. Some fitness center veterans would rank the bench press on par with dips as elementary chest-building workouts.

The flat barbell bench press is clearly important for powerlifters, as one of many aggressive lifts. Its potential to construct upper-body energy also can carryover to different energy athletes together with strongmen and strongwomen.


Are dips unhealthy for the shoulders?

Utilizing correct type and avoiding the approach errors defined above, dips will place extra stress on the pecs, triceps, and anterior deltoid muscular tissues as a substitute of the related joints. This optimum muscle recruitment can considerably cut back the danger of harm.

Nonetheless, if the train is executed with improper type or too heavy a load, dips might result in shoulder impingement, probably straining the rotator cuff tendons. (14) Basically, the rules which apply to all workouts apply to dips — do them correctly, with programming acceptable on your health stage, and also you’ll decrease potential hazards.

How ought to I program dips with different presses in a chest exercise?

Particular programming variables will rely upon plenty of elements, together with your expertise stage, coaching frequency, and targets. Usually talking, performing one to a few varied kinds of presses in a single exercise might be an efficient option to practice your chest.

Ideally, the workouts shall be numerous — such because the flat barbell bench press, dips, and incline dumbbell press. Redundant coaching — such performing the flat barbell bench press, flat dumbbell bench press, and close-grip barbell bench press in a single session— will ship extreme fatigue and minimal outcomes.

Time to Take a Dip

Shoulder accidents, poor shoulder mobility, and lack of “pushing energy” can intervene with each day life and hinder efficiency within the fitness center, on the platform, and on the sphere. Nonetheless, incorporating dips into your coaching program can pack on muscle, improve energy, cut back harm danger, and improve bodily efficiency for lifters, athletes, and weekend warriors alike.


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  5. Calatayud, J., Borreani, S., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., Tella, V., & Andersen, L. L. (2015). Bench press and push-up at comparable ranges of muscle exercise ends in comparable energy good points. Journal of energy and conditioning analysis29(1), 246–253.

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Positive Recharge
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