How To Do Dips

Stronger Triceps, Stronger Presses

Dips are a great upper body accessory movement that can help increase your bench press and overhead press. They work all the muscles of the shoulder girdle including the chest (pectoralis muscles), the shoulder (deltoid muscles) and of course, the tricep muscles.

How To Do Dips

The recommended way to set up for dips is using a squat rack dip attachment such as the Rogue Matador. You can also use parallel bars or straight bars, if that’s all you have access to. A dip attachment provides you with a stable surface, as opposed to gymnast rings, and accommodates a wide range of lifters.

First, take a grip so your hands are just outside your shoulders. Jump up to the top until your elbows are fully extended. Bend your knees and lean forward slightly. The key is to achieve vertical forearms and for the shoulder to finish just below the elbow in the lowest position of the dip (breaking parallel).

Band-Assisted Dips

If you cannot perform bodyweight dips for reps, use a resistance band to provide some assistance. Work up to sets of 8 or 10 before you decrease the resistance (and therefore the assistance) of the band or move to bodyweight reps.

You can also increase resistance of this exercise by adding a dip belt with weights or chains around your neck. Chains help facilitate leaning forward during the dip.

When To Avoid Dips

If you perform dips and experience shoulder pain, you should probably avoid dips. Instead, try the rolling dumbbell tricep extension for an alternative, and still very effective, tricep accessory exercise.

Before you learn how to do dips, first make sure you’ve already learned how to do chin-ups and are progressing them in your program. Program dips at the end of a four day split program, following your other major pressing movements (press and bench press). At the point that you can do 4 sets of 10 reps with your bodyweight, start to add weight to your dips!

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