5 Reasons Why Dips are One of the Best Upper Body Exercises Ever

While the world of fitness is overflown with exercises who undeservedly boast their status of classic moves, the basic dip is certainly not one of them. In fact, there are not many exercises who deserve this status as much as the dip. It’s effectiveness has been time proven throughout the whole history of fitness. As a bonus, it requires so little equipment that it can be practiced virtually anywhere.


If there are some of you still unconvinced in the upper-body building powers of this classic exercise, we offer you five reasons why you should include the dips in your program, provided that you are serious about building your muscle mass and strength.



According to many professionals out there, the dips will help you progress on bench press. If your goal is to successfully bench press 395 lbs, but you constantly fail short of the target, try including them in the routine, and you’ll soon realize that your bench press are also improving. However, for this purpose you won’t get far doing strictly bodyweight dips. We recommend start adding weight. Begin with one plate, and slowly build up until you are able to dip with three plates hanging at your waist.




Although dips do offer a total upper-body muscle activation, the focus of the load can be shifted from the triceps to the chest, depending on your form of execution. You can make the chest take on the bulk of the work if you lean the torso slightly forward at almost 45 degree angle and let the elbows flair out. On the other hand, by remaining upright with elbows close to your body, the focus is shifted to the triceps.



While some exercises are more effective when performed with lower reps, others are better when done with high reps. With dips, you get the same results both ways. For example, if you perform this exercise at the beginning of your chest or triceps routine, then remain in the lower rep range of 4 to 7 reps using weight. Then again, you can also use the dips to get your blood rushing into the muscles finishing your session with a high-rep set of this exercise performed only with your bodyweight.


According to many studies performing exercises with free torso movement in space recruits more muscle fibers with greater intensity, than the exercises where you keep your torso static. This the reason why performing squats are more efficient than leg presses, while pull-ups will always beat pull-downs. The dip falls in this same category.



One of the greatest advantages of the dips is that it doesn’t require a visit to the gym to perform it, and it will still not lose on its effectiveness. All you need to perform this bodyweight exercise are to parallel bars, or two stable objects with identical height that are close together. You want make sure that the bars (or whatever objects you are using) are firmly fixed before starting the exercise.

If you are used to performing the exercise with weights, you can stimulate the increased resistance by slowing down the reps. Try performing the downward portion of the rep over a 4 to 6 seconds period, with two to three seconds to raise back up.

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