What is a chest dip?
The chest dip (not to be confused with tricep dip) is a bodyweight exercise performed on two parallel bars or a dip machine. It's difficult to master, but well worth doing so. In addition to working out your chest, triceps, and shoulders, this compound exercise recruits and strengthens stabilising muscles in the core, making it an excellent exercise to build functional strength and mobility as well as mass.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CHEST DIPS
Dips are one of the best exercises you can do to increase the size and strength of your chest. They activate the outer portion of your pectorals to a greater degree than the bench press, which helps to build a wider chest.
Chest dips are safe when done with the correct form. Sticking within a safe range of motion, maintain the correct upper body position, and keep your elbows from flaring, will help to prevent injuries.
Chest dips are hard to master, and you'll need a certain level of strength to be able to perform them. If you're unable to do a chest dip, try assisted chest dips and negative dips - these will allow you to work your way up to an unassisted dip. Push ups and bench press will also help to build up your chest strength.
Both chest dips and push ups are great bodyweight exercises for working the chest and upper body. Dips are better for building strength and size, but push ups are more versatile and can be easily modified to suit all strength levels. Both can have a place in a workout routine.
Chest dip exercise tips
- Keep your shoulders pushed down and chest raised throughout the movement.
- The more you lean forward, the more the dip targets the chest instead of the triceps. Aim to keep your upper body leaning forward between 20 to 30 degrees.
- Don't dip too far down. Aim to get your elbows slightly below 90 degrees before pushing back up.
How to do chest dips
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Equipment: Dip station
- Stand in between the two bars and grip the bars, palms facing inward, with your hands under your shoulders.
- Extend your arms so that you are holding your body above the bars.
- Bend your knees back so that they are at a 90 degree angle and your feet are pointing behind you.
- Lean forward so your upper body is angled at around 20 to 30 degrees, making sure to keep your spine straight.
- Engage your abs and slowly lower your body, stopping when your elbow bends just below 90 degrees and your shoulders are below your elbows. You should feel a slight stretch in your chest muscles.
- At the bottom part of the movement, your elbows should be flared slightly wider than the shoulders.
- Push back up, focusing on using the chest muscles to drive the movement. Stop just before you lock out your elbows.
How to do weighted dips
Equipment: Dip station, dip belt and plates, weighted vest, dumbbell
Once you've mastered the chest dip, you can add in weights to make the exercise more challenging.
- If you're using a weighted vest, put this on and perform a dip as above.
- If using a dip belt, you will need to wrap the belt around your waist and then loop the chain through the weight plate before clipping it back to the belt. Once this is secure, you can perform a dip.
- You can also perform weighted dips by holding a dumbbell between both your feet.
If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.