Chest Dips are on one of my favorite exercises.
Unfortunately many people do them incorrectly, or at least are not OPTIMIZING their effectiveness.
The major mistake made is doing a combo of both tricep and chest dips in the same movement, which results in working both sub-maximally. These are 2 different movements and need to be treated as such.
If you’ve never incorporated chest dips into your chest training, I suggest you do so A.S.A.P.
However, watch this video and read the notes first to ensure that what you’re doing will end up producing the desired result: bigger, more defined pecs!
I much prefer to use a belt for weighted dipping. It’s more comfortable and allows me to concentrate solely on getting the job done, not trying to hold a dumbbell between my legs. Besides, you’ll soon have to use heavy weights, and a heavy-ass dumbbell is just awkward to hold. Check out the vid first…
Get into position by supporting your body on fully extended arms (elbows locked)
In order to balance the body correctly throughout the exercise, bend the knees about 90 degrees and cross your feet behind you
Lower the body by bending the elbows
To make this a CHEST dip as opposed to a TRICEP dip, lean forward into the movement as you lower your body and allow your elbows to flare out wide
Only by doing so you can get into a very deep position and achieve a good stretch across the chest
Now push up but do NOT return to the starting position i.e. arms fully extended
For a chest dip you want to stop a few inches before the top. Why?
Those last inches of the rep are all taken on the triceps, not the chest. So don’t work in this range. Stop short and start the negative/lowering again
Including those last few inches would ensure that you fatigued the triceps and almost certainly mean that the set would terminate at failure of the triceps, not the chest
So the range of motion for a chest dip is a little smaller than you might think. But ensure that you are dipping as deeply as possible.
Dip in the above manner for MAXIMUM impact! If this form is new to you, be prepared for a sore chest!
Get back to me and let me know how you get on with this one.
And if you want any further clarification on form, let me know below!
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Awesome! Can’t wait to try these. Thanks!
Negative impact on shoulders by dipping that deep and pressing out of it without stability?
I’m thinking of doing a couple of sets of these tonight on my off day as I didn’t get a chance to do my chest burnout last night. Always did them straight up as triceps – never done them purely for chest before. Thanks Mark!
@Mr. Lowe. Enjoy!
@meh. Zilch. But it will be a good anterior deltoid workout.
@Adam. Throw these in at the end of a chest workout. That goes for everyone. Because of the stretch involved here, you would definitely want to do these AFTER you’ve finished benching.
Mark I have always done these with legs out in front of body with toes pointed out, is there a major difference between your form and the one I mentioned?
Will be adding dips to the end of chest day!! Your cable tricep workout left my tri’s sore for 2 days. Awesome!! Also, add my e-mail to your new membership site if you would. Your progress pics were Total Motivation For Me!!! Thanks For All You Do Mark McManus!!!!
Nice write-up. I too use a belt and body angle does make a difference. Do you have a favorite machine? Reason I ask is I’ve used the Lifefitness dip combo pull-up machine to do these and absolutely hate it!
I’ve found that opening up my hands (not putting a death grip) on the bar has made me focus more on the muscles involved vs. my grip. Don’t try this with sweaty palms or a slippery setup.
@stickupkid. I’m assuming your hips are flexed i.e. your thighs are almost touching your abdomen? I would think this would be fatiguing. Try it my way and assess the difference. If there is none, go back to your method if it feels more comfortable.
@Mike Huber. Thanks, buddy. I’ll add your email.
@Marc. I like the York Dip Station I’m using. Haven’t tried many different machines to compare it with. Mine could do with being more stable as it shakes just a little when employing heavier weights. I’ll try out that grip tip, buddy. Thanks!
I’m gonna give these a go at the end of my chest workout next week. I did chest yesterday and it’s really sore today. The only problem is my gym does’t have a dipping frame but I think I’ll be able to use the hand rails on the running machine, They’re sturdy enough but quite a width apart, but this will just give me extra benefit on the chest.
Keep the form tips and vids coming because they’re a good reminder of the exercises I can factor in to my workouts!
i like this one it great i do them but not like this i will give it a go tommoro and i will get back to you
Yesterday i did chest press and believe me my triceps look hard,first time in 2 year i have done chest press,it would be grate if you tell us the benefits of the chest press.very good exercise for triceps..
Dips by far has been a big helper in increasing my bench and strengthening the entire shoulder girdle for stability. However, I do not go that deep due to shoulder surgery. However, if tweaked and done at a slower pace I get just as much from them. Thanks for pointing this out about DIPS! Like you said, guys if you’re not doing them, ADD them next workout!
I don’t have dip belt. So if i do more reps without weight, is it same as doing weighted dip?
@thi ha. No it won’t be the same. You’re doing this to build muscle. Doing high reps with no weight becomes more of an aerobic workout. It will still work for beginners, but in an exercise like this, you want to make sure you reach positive failure before the 12th rep or so at a maximum.
I see. Thanks. Any alternative for people like me who don’t have any dip belt?