Tips for Dips

Once, awhile back, when I was a true gym rookie longing for gains, (we all start somewhere) I asked a regular I’d seen around, for some tips on improving my bench press. He summed up his advice with this, “You should be able to bench your body weight.” It stuck with me. After all, who doesn’t want a well defined chest? (Insert Tarzan yell)



Body weight exercises are effective muscle and strength builders for a number of reasons. Mainly, they utilize multiple muscle groups putting them in the category of compound exercises. Working the chest, the shoulders, and the triceps, the dip is to the upper body what the mighty squat is to the lower.

No gym?

Dips are one of those exercises that can be performed anywhere, anytime. (Even your office.) Like pushups, there is no need for stack slamming, or sophisticated broscience – just do them.


Body weight exercises also target muscle groups extremely well. Unlike a machine, (no, I do not hate on machines) which tend to force you into a position, body weight exercises utilize both primary and secondary muscles, stimulating all those fibers down deep. Booyah – Gains.

“It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a habit of performing such actions.” – Aristotle 

5 Tips for Dips 

1. Activate the Lat’s. This is like posing. Once you activate the muscles, and “feel” it, it becomes second nature. The lattisimus dorsi help support the upper body.

2. Don’t over-extend. As with any exercise, proper form is essential. Hyper-extending puts unnessary stress on the shoulder joints. “Going lower” isn’t going to make the difference. Stay at a 45° degree angle at the bottom.

3. Chin up. “Keep your chin up” has been a phrase I’ve been told my whole life. For good reason, too. Here, Keep your head level, with eyes focused and straight ahead. The form will follow.

4. Keep elbows close to side. Again, form is key. This helps to target all muscle groups, and as well as reduces stress to the shoulders.

5. Slow and controlled. Trying to pushout as many as possible in an effort to feel like a beast isn’t going to help achieve the gains faster. Execute these controlled and in a methodical fashion.

There are all sorts of “variations on a theme” but the biggest tip of all – start small, master the basics, and build.


For more on dips, body weight workouts, and ways to keep your chin up;

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