Get a Bigger Chest from Dips (AVOID THESE!)
How to Do Dips
Dips, or tricep dips, are a strength training exercise that requires you to lift your body weight with your triceps, deltoids, pecs and rhomboid muscles. You must train these muscles extensively with partial weight in order to do a true dip. Start with assisted dips at the gym, then move on to bench dips and full dips.
Doing Assisted Dips
Find an assisted pull-up/dip machine at the gym.Most gyms with extensive weight sections will have this piece of equipment. It has a platform where you place your knees or feet and weights that can be adjusted to counterbalance your body weight.
Ask for assistance from a gym employee or personal trainer the first time you use this machine.If you are a first time weight lifter, assistance will reduce the likelihood of injury.
Set the weight to approximately two-thirds of your body weight the first time you do a dip.The more weight you use, the less of a challenge the exercise will be. Try out this easier setting while you learn proper form.
- Make sure the weight is locked into place before getting onto the platform. Weight machine vary greatly in operation.
Let your arms hang down at your sides and grasp the handles on the dips bars on either side of your torso.The handles are usually covered in rubber for traction. Wrap your fingers around the outside and keep your thumbs on the inside.
- Your wrists will need to be at a slight angle behind you to allow your elbows to bend backwards. Try to keep your wrists in line with your forearms to avoid wrist injury.
Kneel on the platform.If the platform is on the ground, rather than at knee height, it is likely a standing platform.
Form a plank with your body.Imagine you are doing a pushup and you have one straight line from the top of your head to the knees. Lift and flex your stomach muscles inward to keep this strong position during the duration of the exercise.
- You will move straight up and down, as if you are sliding up and down a wall. Don’t lean forward as you complete a dip.
Relax your shoulders.They should be as far from your ears as possible. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders.
Bend your elbows directly behind you.As you do this, the platform will lower slightly. Bend them until your elbows are parallel with your shoulders, at a 90 degree angle from your forearms.
- Inhale as you dip down.
Pause, and then push your weight into your hands to straighten your arms all the way.Repeat eight to ten times with two to three sets. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
- Exhale as you lift your body up.
- Give your body a day to rest between arm strength training days.
Adjust your weight setting as you get stronger.Reduce the amount of weight by 5 to 10 lbs. as the exercise gets easier. When the amount of weight you use is one-half or less of your body weight, you can move on to bench dips.
Doing Bench Dips
Place two weight benches parallel to each other.Try to get them as close together as possible, while leaving a space slightly wider than your body between them. If other people are using these weight benches, you will need to move them back immediately after you are finished.
- If you can’t find two weight benches, two very sturdy chairs can work. Make sure they are heavy and stable enough to support your weight.
- If you have injured wrists, avoid bench dips. Use the assisted dip machine until you are able to do the dip without a counterbalance.
Sit down in between the two benches.Bend your knees, keeping them in a low bend and wide angle to the ground. Make sure you are wearing athletic shoes with good traction.
Place your right palm on the bench to your right and your left palm on the bench to your left.
Lift your butt off the ground.Your body should be straight, as if you are against a wall. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle to your torso and your shins.
Keep your shoulders relaxed, with your hands directly below them.
Bend your elbows directly behind you.Lower yourself until your elbows are parallel to your shoulders.
Straighten your arms slowly until you reach the original position.Adjust your posture if you start to slip or your hands become sweaty.
Work up to three sets of 15 bench dips before you are ready to do a true dip.
Doing True Dips
Find parallel dip bars.They are common at gyms with weight machines. They may also be set up in parks, gymnastic centers or recreation areas.
Set your body between the dip bars.Grasp onto a bar with each hand. Keep in mind that you have to have a lot of upper body strength to complete even one true dip.
Hoist yourself up so that your entire body weight is resting on your arms.Bend your knees and keep them bent at a 90-degree angle. Some people prefer to cross their knees to keep the legs steady as they do a set of dips.
Contract your abs and keep your shoulders relaxed far below your ears.Focus on creating a straight line between your knees and the top of your head. Look straight forward.
Bend your elbows straight back.Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. This portion of the exercise is the same with assisted, bench and true dips.
- Your torso may lean slightly forward when you are lifting your full body weight. However, you shouldn’t bend at the waist.
Pause, and then straighten your arms.Stop just before they are completely straight and repeat the exercise as many times as you can while remaining in proper form. Avoid using momentum to dip down and up.
- If you start to rock back and forth, lower yourself to the ground and start again.
Work up to three sets of 15 dips.If you are able to complete them comfortably, add a weighted vest to increase the resistance.
- Breathe deeply and evenly as you complete the exercise to keep your blood pressure steady.
- Talk to your doctor before doing bodyweight exercises if you are at risk for high blood pressure or stroke. Push-ups, planks and dips can increase your blood pressure.
Things You'll Need
Assisted pull up machine
Sources and Citations
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