Many people ignore the dips bars installed in the gym and do not give them the same relevance as other equipment. However, the potential benefits of dips should never be underestimated especially for those who want to develop their upper body mass and strength.
They also offer perfect opportunity to mix up top-body workout instead of just relying of weights, dumbbells and pushups. Just like other gym equipment, there are various variations you can learn and complete with dips.
You can maneuver weighted dips, use a dip belt or simply perform a couple of dips exercise to target specific muscles.
What does it look like?
Dips are simply horizontal poles protruding/extending from a solid wall much like pull-up bars, only that they are installed to reach your mid-abs section rather than on top.
Using dips bars involves pulling your lower body up and down using your upper body in a dip as opposed to pulling up on a pull-up bar. While old school, dips are very effective and can even be brutal since they only use up your upper body energy.
What muscles do dips target?
Dips essentially target the upper body, particularly the chest, biceps and triceps. You can also use dips to strengthen your shoulders and torso. There are many variations of dips and each of them emphasizes more on given muscles than others.
Nevertheless, they all work towards improving your upper body muscles including the back of your shoulders.
What variations can you do?
For beginners, dips usually start with the body weight where you lift your own weight up and down to build stronger arms and chest. However, you will soon outgrow your body’s weight and push to advanced levels and maneuvers. Popular variations include;
- Weighted dips:
Like the name suggests, this involves adding weights to your legs to increase the strain your arm goes through when lifting and “dipping.” This can be done by holding dumbbells between your legs or wearing weight backpacks.
- Using a dip belt:
Another popular way to lift weighted dips is through using a dip belt to add weight to your body. You can find weight belt for dips from any gym store or order one online.
- Bench dips:
The conventional dips exercise entails pulling your weight (or belted weights) using your arms only with your legs hanging as part of the weight being pulled. Bench dips on the other hand allows you to support your legs. The position focuses on triceps and shoulder muscles as you face up with your arms pulling the weight and your legs resting on a bench, the same level as your hands.
- Parallel, straight and ring bar dips:
Parallel dips are at the basic level and involve two bars running parallel with you in the middle lifting your entire weight up and down. Straight bar dips use only one bar with you facing either direction as you attempt to maintain stability while lifting your body up and down. Ring bars take dips to another level and require advanced trainees to accomplish.
There are other variations you can pick up from professionals, but these are the popular ones used in building chest and arm muscles.
When to add weights to dips.
While it is common for most beginners to progress into adding weights to their dips, there is no specific rule that has this requirement. It is simply something you do if you want. Moreover, there is always the opportunity to do more reps and push yourself to the limit using your own bodyweight.
However, lifting weighted dips can have quick benefits just like progressing to heavier deadlifts. As a rule of thumb,
you should be ready to start adding weights to your dips once you can effortlessly perform 12-15 weightless dip reps. This will push you to the next level and help your muscles grow bigger and stronger.
It is advisable to incorporate some dips into your regular workout program as it has several benefits and can become a perfect alternative you throw into the mix. Dips exercise can become compound and intensive especially when needed to target particular muscles.
The workout generally builds shoulders, biceps, triceps and upper torso. Professionals however know how to tweak their positions and achieve incredible results in strengthening the abdomen and back muscles.
If you are just starting out, make sure to pick some skills and techniques from a professional trainer to avoid accidents and muscle injury.