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Bro Basics: The Dip

Welcome back to Bro Basics, a series that covers exercises which might be popular and could be useful but are sometimes done inadequately and shows the exercises’ broader function and how one can perform them accurately.



Are you seeking to get a much bigger upper body and improve your bench and shoulder press? 

Then let me introduce you to a supplemental body weight exercise it is advisable start incorporating into your training: the dip.

What Muscles Do Dips Work?

The dip works several key muscles in your upper body, particularly ones involved within the bench press, making it an amazing supplemental movement to enhance that lift.

The dip primarily works the chest/pecs. 

It also hits your triceps, shoulders, and back muscles.

The quantity of labor a muscle group receives throughout the dip is dependent upon your body’s position as you perform the movement. If you happen to lean forward more, you’ll hit your pec and shoulder muscles more; in the event you maintain a more upright position, you’ll work your triceps more.

Why Do Dips?

Dips contribute on to the important barbell lifts, particularly the bench press. If you desire to improve your bench press, the dip can make it easier to with that. As discussed above, the dip primarily works the muscles involved within the bench press: pecs, triceps, and shoulders. 

Besides the bench press, dips may contribute to increased performance on the shoulder press.

Helps construct big guns. Many dudes think that in the event you want big arms, you need to spend all of your time doing bicep curls. While bicep curls can contribute to arm size, working your triceps actually gives you more bang in your buck, for the reason that triceps make up most of your arms’ girth. The dip is an awesome movement for beefing up your triceps. 

It may possibly be used for conditioning. I typically include dips as a part of a conditioning circuit I do after bench pressing. (Don’t neglect your conditioning!) It’s an awesome option to get each stronger and sweaty.

You’ll be able to do them outside the gym. Standard dips are performed on a set of parallel bars. But in the event you don’t have access to those, you possibly can improvise and perform a dip variation on a park bench or chair. This variation is handy to drag out when exercising away from home. Incorporate dips right into a circuit together with air squats and push-ups, and also you’ve got yourself a fast and effective body weight workout.

The Big Downside of Dips

While dips include many advantages, the exercise does have a downside: if performed improperly, it may possibly tear your rotator cuff. 

Back in my twenties, I injured my shoulder doing dips. I went down too deep and too fast throughout the descent. While I didn’t tear my rotator cuff, I sprained it and needed to take it easy for a couple of weeks while my shoulder healed. 

If you have got bad shoulders or are older, you need to probably skip the dips. My barbell coach, Matt Reynolds, has a straightforward rule regarding dips: “If you happen to do a dip, and it bothers your shoulders, don’t do dips.”

Instead of dips, do one other accessory exercise that works the triceps like a tricep rolling extension.

Find out how to Do a Dip

To perform dips, you’ll need two parallel bars.

These parallel bars can are available in the shape of two dip bars — freestanding, upside-down U-shaped apparatuses that could be moved around. 

You may as well do dips at a pull-up/dip station. The dip bars at these stations are sometimes angled in order that the space between them is narrower toward the bar on which they’re mounted, and wider apart as they move out. This enables the dip station to accommodate different-sized individuals. If you happen to’re smaller, you’ll need to grip the bars closer to the mount; in the event you’re larger, you’ll grip the bars closer to their ends. 

If you have got a house gym, you possibly can buy a dip attachment in your squat rack.

If you happen to’re just starting out, avoid using gymnast rings in your dips. They’re unstable and increase the chance of tearing your rotator cuff while dipping.

Grab the bars. Your grip needs to be wide enough that your hands are only outside your shoulders. Going wider than that may increase your risk of injury.

Get in the beginning position. Jump up until your arms and elbows are fully prolonged. Bend your knees and lean forward barely.

Lower your body. Brace your abs and lower yourself in a controlled manner while keeping your forearms vertical and your body in a slight forward lean. Lower yourself until your shoulder goes just under your elbow. This gives you probably the most range of motion without going so deep that you just injure yourself.

Push yourself back as much as the beginning position. You simply did a dip.

What If You Can’t Do a Dip?

If you happen to can’t do a single body weight dip, place a resistance band across the dip bars. Put the burden of your knees on the bands. This gives you some assistance throughout the movement. As you get stronger, decrease the resistance level of the band until you possibly can do a full, unassisted dip.

Increasing Weight with Dips

If you happen to can crank out greater than ten reps of body weight dips with ease, it’s time so as to add weight. 

You’ll be able to try this with a dip belt. It’s a leather or nylon belt with a series attached. So as to add weight to your dips, you thread the chain’s free-hanging end through a barbell plate and hook it to your belt.

One other way you possibly can add weight to your dips is by putting heavy weightlifting chains around your neck. You actually feel like a badass adding weight to your dips this manner.

Bench Dip Variation

If you happen to don’t have access to parallel bars, you possibly can still work your triceps by doing a modified dip using a weight bench, a park bench, or a chair.

Position yourself as in the event you’re going to take a seat down on the bench, but place your butt just off the bench’s edge with hands shoulder-width apart, gripping the sting. Adopt the correct bench dip posture: keep knees at 90 degrees; attract and brace the abs; lock the shoulder blades back and down.

Slowly lower your body by bending on the elbows and shoulders until your forearms create a 90-degree angle. Maintain good posture throughout.

To extend the problem of this exercise, extend your legs out straight. 

Programming Dips

As mentioned, dips are an awesome accessory exercise for the bench press and shoulder press. Matt typically programs dips for me on the times I do my upper-body workout. He’ll often mix them with pull-ups. 

So my workout would look something like

  • Bench press
  • Shoulder press
  • Pull-ups
  • Dips

If you happen to’re just starting out with dips, you’ll have to slowly work your way as much as 4 sets of 10 reps. Start off with 4 sets of as many as you possibly can. This could possibly be just 2 or 3 reps. Each week add a rep. When you possibly can do 4 sets of 10 body weight dips, it’s time so as to add some weight with a dip belt or chains. Look so as to add 5 to 10 kilos at a time.

Tags: Bro Basics, Exercises

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