Chest dips are one of the most advanced bodyweight exercises you can do to develop your pectorals, shoulders, triceps, and core. The goal of the movement is to grab a dip bar and support yourself without letting your feet touch the floor. Once in position, you have to use your upper body musculature to lower yourself (dip) and push back to the starting position.
The chest dip is beneficial because it allows you to leverage your body for resistance instead of external weights. As such, dips are fantastic to do on the road, at the local park, or in a crowded gym.
Changing the angle of your torso allows you to place more emphasis on your chest or triceps. A more upright torso shifts the focus to the triceps, whereas leaning forward works the chest more effectively.
We recommend doing the movement early in your training, preferably as a first or second exercise. Dips are challenging, so it’s best to perform them while you’re fresh and strong.
Chest Dip Overview
“Chest dips effectively hit the lower region of the pec, similarly to the decline bench press. However, it follows a vertical pressing movement pattern, which provides a unique stimulus for the muscles of the chest”.
It is best to master the bodyweight variation of this exercise prior to adding weight via weighted vests, belts, or chains.
- Step up on the dip station (if possible) and position your hands with a neutral grip.
- Initiate the dip by unlocking the elbows and slowly lowering the body until the forearms are almost parallel with the floor.
- Control the descent to parallel and then drive back to the starting position by pushing through the palms.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
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Chest Dip Tips
- Technically there are two ways to perform dips – neither is wrong, just different movements with different purposes:
- Staying upright and keeping the elbows in close to increase tricep recruitment.
- Leaning forward with elbows wider to increase chest recruitment.
- If possible, keep the legs straight down while bracing the glutes and abs to limit excessive spinal movement.
- If no dip station with steps is available, position a box underneath the handles to boost yourself up to the bars.
- If no box is available, then jump into position.
- Don’t allow the head to jut forward during the descent.
- Ensure the elbows stay just short of lockout to keep tension on the triceps.
- Experiment with a false grip by wrapping the thumb over the bar as this may be more comfortable for some.
- Chest/Biceps: What’s The Real Difference Between “Chest Dips Vs. Triceps Dips”?
- The 4 Best Exercises To Build “A Massive Well-Shaped, Defined, And Lower Chest”
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