Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Dip

The dip is one of the oldest exercises. Not older than the push-up but still old. Parallel bars and pull-up bars have been built in many schools, parks, playgrounds...etc. The main reason for the popularity of the dip is the cheap equipment required for it and its effectiveness. 

The dips is a compound exercise for your chest, triceps and deltoids
The Basic Dip

In order to perform the basic dip you will need parallel bars or two chairs (not recommended). If you are going to perform dips on regular parallel bars the steps are:

1. Grip the bars with each hand and jump in order to get in position. Lean forward just a touch.

2. Keep your body very tense - abs, glutes, grip...etc and lower yourself until your elbow and shoulder are in one line. You may go deeper if your shoulders allow you.

There are three reason why you may be experiencing shoulder pain when doing dips:

- going too low; 
- being too weak;
- your shoulders reject doing dips no matter what;

It sucks but some pair shoulders just can't tolerate dips due to the extreme stretch at the bottom of the exercise and sometimes even getting stronger using other pushing exercises such as push-ups, bench press...etc still does not solve the issue. With that being sad I believe a lot of people out there who are currently experiencing shoulder pain during dips will be able to perform the exercise after improving their active flexibility and get stronger. 

3. Push yourself back up without using too much swinging.


- Use sturdy and secure bars/equipment in order to avoid injuries;

- Lower yourself under control - don't simply drop yourself and bounce back-up;

- Keep your core very tight during the movement - you will feel stronger;

- Don't go too low if you are not ready - parallel is good enough;

- Don't look up - look straight forward or slightly down;

- Don't hold your breath during the exercise but also don't let all your air go out. Stay tight, breathe shallow. Exhale slightly on the way up - that way you are stronger.

- Don't scream during the exercise;

- Warm-up your shoulders before attempting this movement;


Parallel Bar Dips

When you Can do about 20 dips add some weight using a backpack, dip belt...etc. Be patient and don't rush lifting big weights - your shoulders will thank you.

V-bar Dips

You can also perform dips on the v-bar. The main advantage is that you will able to choose the grip width according to your needs. This variation also works your chest a little harder. 

Gironda Dips

This variation is supposed to make your chest wider by focusing on the outer lower part. Needless to say your shoulders will get murdered. I recommend that you avoid it.

Ring Dips

Ring dips are very hard. 20 Parallel bar dips equal 4-5 dips on the rings. The stabilization required to perform a ring dip is just so demading. If you want to excel in ring exercises you can visit: gymnasticbodies.com (no need to buy the products just use the forum - it's all there.)

Triceps Bench Dips

This variation is designed to murder your triceps and it does. You can even add additional weight as shown in the picture. However I do NOT recommend this variation because the shoulder stress is higher compared to a free standing dip. 

Chest Dips

Chest dips are regular dips with a little forward lean in order to shift the stress to the chest muscles.

Russian Dips

This dip variation is designed to make you stronger for the muscle-up - it's hard.

Korean Dips

Korean dips are performed on a straight bar. The exercise is very advancedand requires a ton of shoulder flexibility. If you are goal are bodybuilding realted it offers no benefits compared to other safer variations. However if you want to be a "bad ass motherfucker on parallel bars and upload bad ass videos on youtube" it's a good movement.

Straight Bar Dips

Straight bar dips are a good movement to do when training towards a muscle-up. This movement is less stressfull on the shoulders due to the smaller range of motion and extreme forward lean required in order to stay balanced.

More variations


Q: Dips vs. Push-ups?

A: I wrote a post on this subject.

Q: What progression do you recommend if I can't do dips ?

A: I recommend that you do weighted push-ups on chairs - they will prepare your pushing musculature and joints for the dip. On top that it's actually a quite decent exercise itself.

Q: Do you recommend that I do clapping dips?

A: No. Too risky. If you won't to build explosive upper body just use clapping push-ups, speed bench press...etc.

Q: Is it true that my chest will look like man breast if I do too much dips?

A: No, dips develop the whole chest. The only way to have man boobs is to get fat as hell or abuse steroids and get gynecomastia.