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Dips are a great exercise that works the pecs and also stretches and helps the flexibility of the shoulder. The first thing you need to do, is raise yourself on two dip bars with straight arms. You are going to lower your body until your shoulders are below your elbows. Then push yourself up until your arms are straight again.

Dips work your arm muscles, back, chest and shoulders. The proper Dip form is key to avoid severe shoulder and chest pain. Do not let your shoulders roll forward. Make sure to keep your shoulders back and down. You want to lower yourself until your shoulders are below your elbows, but don’t go lower than that. It’s best to do Dips on fixed parallel bars instead of Ring Dips. You don’t need them to gain strength and muscle. If you want to emphasize your arms and want to add another exercise to your routine, you can add Dips to your workout. Dips are mostly for gaining overall strength and muscle. Here is the guide to the proper form on Dips.

Start with two Dip bars. These bars should be parallel, fixed and stable. Most gyms have a Dip station that is also used for pull ups and hanging knee raises. You don’t want to do Dips on Rings or between benches, both can hurt your shoulders and are not very stable. Use the parallel bars instead.

Here’s how to do Dips with proper form in five simple steps:

  1. Grab the bars and jump up. You want to balance yourself with locked elbows.
  2. Lower your body by bending your arms and leaning your torso slightly forward.
  3. Go down until your shoulders are below your elbows at the bottom.
  4. Rise Up. You will lift your body back up to the starting position by straightening your arms out.
  5. Balance yourself with your shoulders over your hands. Lock your elbows.

If you are not able to do a full dip skip the way up for now and only do the way down until you’re stronger.

Here are some tips on how to do the downward:

  1. Grab the dip bars.
  2. Jump up and straighten your arms.
  3. Lower yourself slowly until your shoulders are below your elbows.
  4. Then put your feet on the floor and jump back on the dip bars with straight arms.

When you are able to do 10 negatives with proper form, you’re ready to do a Dip.

To keep proper, form remember and follow these guidelines and tips:

  • Your hands should be under your shoulders and right outside your hips.
  • Use a full grip and make sure to squeeze the bars.
  • Keep your forearms vertical from all angles both on the way down and on your way up.
  • Lock your elbows at the top. You want to tuck 45° at the bottom.
  • Raise your chest up before lowering yourself. Also, you want to raise your chest between reps when you get to the top.
  • Push your shoulders back and down. You don’t want to shrug or let them roll forward.
  • It is important to keep your head inline with your torso. Don’t look at the ceiling, instead focus on the floor in front of you.
  • You torso must be at a slight incline for balance. Leaning slightly forward while you lower yourself.
  • Don’t over-arch your lower back. Stay neutral. You need a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  • Bend your knees and cross your feet. If you have high bars you can keep your legs.
  • Keep your shoulders down and rise up by straightening out your arms. Don’t look up.
  • Inhale at the top and hold it on the way down and exhale.


-Terry Asher

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