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When you ask people about their opinion on the best chest exercise, you will mostly hear the bench press. This is surely the best known exercise and great for building a big chest. But is it the best exercise? What about dips? Dips are highly underrated, but are dips the best chest exercise? Let’s find out!
What are Dips?
Dips are a great compound exercise for targeting your chest, shoulders and triceps. It is done by holding on to dip bars and lowering your body. It is considered to be quite a heavy exercise because you are actually pushing up your whole bodyweight. As with pull-ups, this means it requires sufficient strength to perform them. However, once you master this exercise, you can use it to build a bigger chest, boulder shoulders and bigger triceps.
The Benefits of Dips
Let’s be honest; many people, who do the bench press, don’t really feel this exercise in their chest. We will show you how the bench press is done correctly for optimal growth in a later blog. And as such, this means that for many people, their arms and shoulders typically give out before the chest is fully targeted and trained. We also noticed that many people who can perform many heavy bench presses, don’t really build that big barrel chest.
This is where the dips come in. They are perfect for targeting the whole chest and activate the muscles in the lower, mid and upper chest to create that big, full looking chest. The outer chest is also well targeted during this exercise, to aid in giving you that broad-look.
The dip also causes you to use many other synergistic muscle groups in your body. As you are pushing yourself up, you require stabilisation to keep your body straight. This stabilisation effect is provided by several secondary muscle groups.
One last benefit of dips is that you don’t require a lot of expensive equipment. All you need is a dip station. We have listed several great ones here:
How to Perform a Dip
Dips can be done to either target the chest more, or to push the focus on the triceps more. This has to do with the angle of your body. When you want to target the triceps mainly, stay as straight up as possible. However, if you want target the chest more, all you need to do is lean forward slightly with your upper body.
Grip the dip bars and prop yourself up vertically with your arms, with your knees bent. Lean forward a bit with your upper body and move your knees slightly forward as well. Your feet should be pointing backwards and your elbows should be slightly wider than shoulder width.
Now as you lower your body, squeeze your abs and keep your head in line with your back. Move down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. From here, push yourself up again to where your arms are almost stretched. Squeeze your chest at the top. This is one rep!
Some important notes on performing dips:
- Your shoulders should be locked in place and slightly squeeze your scapula backwards. Do not move your shoulders with the rest of your body as this will put a lot of strain on the rotator cuffs and shoulder muscles.
- Do not lock your elbows at the highest point of the exercise. Keep a slight angle in your arms.
- Keep your body stable during the exercise. Especially when you are starting with this exercise, you may be prone to swinging your body. This is not what you want to do. Keep your body as stable as possible.
How to Make Dips Harder
Are you getting the hang of dips and feel like you need a bit more of a challenge? No worries! We have some tips for you to increase the difficulty and stress your muscles more!
- Get yourself a weighted vest or a weight belt. This allows you to go beyond your own bodyweight and thus make the exercise a lot harder.
- Slow down. By slowing down, your will definitely feel your muscles go sore quicker.
- Pause the exercise while you are at the lowest point. Yes; stay hanging for a few seconds and experience how tough this exercise can be!
Are Dips the Best Chest Exercise?
As you might have noticed, we are fans of dips. They truly are a great versatile exercise for your chest. They will surely make the muscles in your chest burn and grow! You can easily do this exercise at home. You can use dip handles, a dip station or even two solid closets.
Are dips the best chest exercise? Well, even though it is a superb exercise, that nobody should pass up on during their chest workout, your chest isn’t built by doing just one exercise. We always recommend doing multiple exercises to really focus on every part of your chest and get maximum results. Dips are definitely one of the best exercises and when combined with the bench press, you will be amazed by the results! Dips can help you gain muscle and improve your general strength as well. This in turn will make you bench heavier and grow even more!
So it is hard to say which exercise is the best, but dips are at the top of our list for sure.
What is your preferred chest exercise? How do you rate dips? Let us know in the comments below.
If you have any questions about dips, or other exercises, please let us know. Our team is ready to help you where we can!