Chest Dips – An Entire Guide With Form Tips

 

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How To: DipLearn The Differences Between Targeting Your Chest Or Triceps!

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Chest Dips Form Tips Add Weight If you can successfully complete sets of 15+ reps with bodyweight then consider adding weight. Increasing resistance is an excellent variable to adjust for continued progression and muscular overload. Chest dips are similar to tricep dips but—as you can probably guess—they work the chest muscles instead.

Whether you have your own parallel bars, a gym membership, or some furniture that you can do the motion from, chest dips are simple exercises that can create great results. Contract the abs to maintain form. Don’t lock out the elbows at the top position. Shoulder drops slightly below the elbow in bottom position. Head neutral: Don’t look up or down.

To build the chest, do full-range dips with an additional load of 50% bodyweight for 6-8 reps. Chest dips performed with a wide grip and the elbows flared to the sides, target the outer chest better than pushups, bench presses, or any other exercise. In doing so, they give you that huge, wide chest that resembles a set of stone slabs set on your chest sideways.

Chest dips give you wider chest development than the bench press. How to Perform Dips for Chest To put the focus on your chest during dips, start by using bars that place your hands outside of shoulder width. If you have access to bars that are wide on one end and narrow on the other, use the wide end for chest work. This is the dip in all its glory. One of the best exercises you can perform to build the chest, triceps and shoulders, parallel bar dips train these muscles in a completely different angle and range of motion than push-ups and bench pressing.

Unlike the push-up, parallel bar dips provide no support, so you are forced to lift your entire bodyweight. This kind of exercise makes your chest look not only bigger, but also wider. For more info see the Ultimate Chest Guide article. Functional movement The skill and strength you build with Dips will transfer to any athletic activity in which you have to master your own bodyweight.

The right form for Chest Dips Set up for Dips that target the ches. For complete chest development, 1-2 free weight pressing exercises in combination with a flye exercise is really all you need. My top picks would be the flat or decline dumbbell press and the high-to-low cable crossover for each of those movement patterns. Similarly, many lifters consider dips to be the best exercise for building up the front side of the upper body and their number one chest exercise. Going to or just below parallel on dips (upper arm parallel to the floor) will work the muscles effectively while sparing the joints.

Tricep Dips Form Tips Add Weight? If you can successfully complete sets of 15+ reps with bodyweight then consider adding weight. Increasing resistance is an excellent variable to adjust for continued progression and muscular overload.

List of related literature:

Avoid these common mistakes: using a grip that is too narrow, letting the elbows Squeeze intoo closetothebody instead of flaring out, finishing the exercise with the upper body above parallel to the floor, not arching the low back, and locking the knees.

“Natural Bodybuilding” by John Hansen
from Natural Bodybuilding
by John Hansen
Human Kinetics, 2005

I like Dips because, by bending farther forward or holding yourself straighter, you can change the way the stress hits the muscle even right in the middle of a set.

“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
from The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
Simon & Schuster, 2012

It seems so simple: You lie down on the bench, take the bar out of the rack, guide it down to your chest, and then extend your elbows.

“Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
from Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2015

For example, in the bench press and overhead press, the elbows need to be straight at the end of the concentric repetition phase.

“Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts” by William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck
from Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts
by William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck
Human Kinetics, 2007

Also, focus on keeping the elbows straight and pressing the legs slightly away to prevent the legs from coming closer toward the chest, particularly during the roll-back in step 2.

“Pilates Anatomy” by Rael Isacowitz, Karen S. Clippinger
from Pilates Anatomy
by Rael Isacowitz, Karen S. Clippinger
Human Kinetics, 2019

To recap: place the feet and grip shoulder-width apart, grip the bar like the bench press, keep the back neutral, descend straight to the clavicles, tilt the head back while looking forward, raise the bar along the same path, shift the torso forward slightly, squeeze the glutes, and lock out.

“Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body” by Michael Matthews
from Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body
by Michael Matthews
Oculus Publishers, 2019

In the beginning, feel free to focus on performing the technique correctly, making sure you have the right count, keeping your chest still, and so on.

“Your Hands Can Heal You: Pranic Healing Energy Remedies to Boost Vitality and Speed Recovery from Common Health Problems” by Master Stephen Co, Eric B. Robins, John Merryman
from Your Hands Can Heal You: Pranic Healing Energy Remedies to Boost Vitality and Speed Recovery from Common Health Problems
by Master Stephen Co, Eric B. Robins, John Merryman
Atria Books, 2004

To help maintain proper form, press your chest forward and pull your shoulders back.

“Body for Life for Women: A Woman's Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation” by Pamela Peeke
from Body for Life for Women: A Woman’s Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation
by Pamela Peeke
Rodale Books, 2009

For example, you can say, “During a seated chest press or a lying dumbbell press, you’re working your chest, so keep your elbows at 90 degrees.”

“Becoming a Personal Trainer For Dummies” by Melyssa St. Michael, Linda Formichelli
from Becoming a Personal Trainer For Dummies
by Melyssa St. Michael, Linda Formichelli
Wiley, 2004

Modify the starting position by bringing the feet closer together or drop your chest closer to the floor.

“Muscle Medicine: The Revolutionary Approach to Maintaining, Strengthening, and Repairing Your Muscles and Joints” by Rob DeStefano, Bryan Kelly, Joseph Hooper
from Muscle Medicine: The Revolutionary Approach to Maintaining, Strengthening, and Repairing Your Muscles and Joints
by Rob DeStefano, Bryan Kelly, Joseph Hooper
Atria Books, 2009

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

[email protected]

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37 comments

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  • Appreciate the explanation. I’m a beginner, and just bought a dip station, so I’m looking for proper form. My biggest concern is not getting injured. The other videos I watched on dips were overly technical and spent 90% of the video talking about what not to do or using technical terms that don’t mean anything to me. Yes, I could look up the terms, but I just want to know the correct way to do dips. You explained that, so thanks fo keeping it simple.

  • I have a question, I may not have understood well, and I hope someone can clear me.
    Even though I didn’t finish my NLP
    but my press is stuck,can i make dips to get my press up?

    And if the answer is yes,
    can the dips be made at the end of the press?

    Is that right?

    Thank you very much.

  • Very good your video.. if you speak a little slower.. so much the better for people who watch it. Greetings from Santiago de Chile

  • 5:40 In your arm hypertrophy programm you say exactly the oposite. You programm close grip dips with more upright posture to hit the triceps more. Did you even write the programm?

  • Jeff, I don’t understand your chart, it shows bodyweight dip then below it, it shows 115lb dip, is that to imply that you have 115lbs strapped to your waist?

  • You should just get straight to the point and remove unnecessary content that doesn’t need to be there. Likes and subscriptions is your bonus after that.

  • Hey Sid great video, can you tell me a bit about where the elbows should be when pressing/lowering? on a dip machine I keep them as close as possible to my body. Thanks

  • I can do all of these variations except push ups one hand. Thank you so much Simeon, your videos are very interesting and high quality!

  • That chest version will fuck your shoulders. Don’t do it. Only do the “tricep” one as it hits the full chest, inner shoulders and triceps.

  • Hey I am going through all your videos I love all the effort and knowledge put behind this it makes it really helpful for me as i started really lifting on deployment with no one really to guide me. I was just curious I’ve always wanted to do dips but it feels like my shoulders are not even? How can I over come this because instead i just feel pain in one should when i go down equally.

  • My shoulders aren’t flexible, there is no way I can lower myself so that my tricep is parallel to the floor at the bottom of the dip. Is it still worth doing them but as far as I can go down?

  • Dear Jeff,
    You probably wont notice this message but im a 39 year old who has recently suffered from the lifters elbow. I tried watching other youtubers know hows but they just pale in comparison to your choreogragphy and way of explanation. Hence it would certainly do alot of good if you could.one day address this way underwhelmed problems. Anyways love all your videos esp the one of you trying hk food
    Peace out.

  • I was doing dips like 3 months ago and fucked up my sternum. I still haven’t fully recovered and can only go light on the bench press. I have done dips in the past with no problem so I don’t know what I did wrong this time. Probably will never do them again tho, not worth the risk for me.

  • It’s easier to do dips ‘for chest’ which is why most people lean so far forwardthey’re not strong enough yet to perform tricep dips.

  • Jeff, any thoughts on why the descent for the first rep would be so much slower and put more stress on the arms than the reps after? My descent is also too slow during some bench sessions.

  • Something I can’t figure out.
    Why do I start sweating like a lot anything I do. I keep a fan on me but if I don’t stop every 10 minutes I lose a ton of water. I do drink an insane amount of it. My daily intake while on rest days is 1.5 gallon. I find myself replaceing the five gallon jug on the second day. So I’m consuming 5 gallon every 2 days on average. I just want to stop sweating. I see people in videos doing the same exercise and amount of time but only mildly sweating. How much is too much

  • I am strong at dips but I am very triceps dominant in this moovment I do dips for the 4 years and it did very little for my chest…..

  • I literally cannot go dips, I’ve been working out for months and they’re so hard to do, my shoulders hurt after doing a set so I just a stop. I need a trainer or something

  • we can see your passion throught the attention to details which makes you stand out from the other bodybuilding channels… thank you for this very appreciated. I look forward to add this exercice to my workout routine.

  • hey dude what is the point of pint yur toes I start with rings like month ago, i have a caisthenic foundation, but I used to do just one strict muscle up with false grip, I start to point my toes and in a week I have four, Im looking for a theorical answer for that:/ (im happy but I need an answer xd)

  • 1:17 crazy lats! 4:09 all right, now they look like angel wings.
    I would add the cue: squeeze your hands/arms together to activate your pectoral.
    Nice video.

  • I don’t think I’m still doing them right. I’m following the tips but I feel like my shoulders are still doing the work even when I move my chest forward and shoulders back.

  • Hey I don’t know if anybody will respond this, but when I work out on the rings I get my forearm wounded by the pressure and rugging of the ring. If someone can help me out here I would be more than thankful, I’m almost about of sore my forearm.

  • 1 thing I need to point out. Sinking into the dip can be very beneficial to the development of the muscle if you sink into your chest. Don’t sink into your shoulders, sink ito the bottom most portion of your chest. Push off with your chest and finish off with the arms

  • �� CLICK THAT NOTIFICATION BELL SO YOU NEVER MISS AN UPLOAD!

    Ever wondered why your chest got so much activation from doing dips? This is probably what was happening:-)

  • Hi Jeff, what about the leg’s position. I guess the principle of plugging energy leaks applies here, too. So do I keep my legs as straight as possible?

  • are weighted dips coupled with benching enough to build triceps or do you need to do you need to add stuff like the overhead extension?

  • IMO you go too deep (elbows way above your shoulder) putting your shoulder and elbows in a bad position and a lot of useless strain on your front delt (this muscle already gets enough work from nearly everything you do). You also go too straight, putting most of the work on the triceps short head (a tiny muscle for which there are much better exercises that also train the long head) and too little on the lower chest (the one exercise where dips excel above all else by muscle activation, studies show). In addition you show insufficient shoulder control, not having them locked retracted (back and down) like for a bench press, and even have them dip forward and up at the bottom, this increases shoulder injury risk as well as increases front delt involvement again as well as strain shoulder connective tissue/front bands which can end up permanently loose putting the capsule at risk.

    If you are looking for effective triceps exercises do lying normal, reverse and hammer grip skull crushers and forward lean single arm front bend to straight behind your back pulldown taking the tricpes trough nearly full range of motion and maximum contraction (with minor involvement of chest/lats).

  • I’ve been doing dips for years. I had gotten sloppy though -thrusting before being in a good position, funky orientation, and all kids of crap. This video guided me back onto the straight and narrow.

  • I’m short enough that i don’t even risk to touch the ground. Even with the legs totally extended. It’s okay to extend the legs in that case?

  • Dude thank you for consistently being one of the best fitness channels out there. Been subscribed for over a year now and I can always count on your content to be pro quality and full of useful info.

  • Hi, I have a sternum pain after doing ring or bar dips. I have enough strength to do 5 full range of motion ring dips. Should I continue doing them or should I stop until I’m fully recovered?

    P.S. Thanks!

  • THANK YOUUUUU! I APPRECIATE THIS, SCOTT HERMAN LOOOOOLLLLLLLL! ����������������������������������������������������������������������

  • Dude…you’re terrific! I’m officially back in the gym, so I will be working this in my plan. Thanks for the encouragement, Scott!

  • Jeff, I’m getting a sharp pain on dismount from the counter top corner in my kitchen when performing dips. The pain is specifically in the left clavicle area along the length of the clavicle itself it seems. It passed after 30s. It’s not a major issue during the reps themselves but I really have to ease my weight back on to my feet slowly on dismount. What am I missing here?

  • First like and comment!:) I’m actually just about to do 50 ring dips with a bit of weight in today’s workout, 5 sets of 10 reps… Awesome video to check my technique… Thanks!

  • i recorded my self doing ring dips and found that due to my lack of behind the back arm mobility
    to compensate i had leant forward doing more of a forward lean l sit dip than a straight dip