How To Do Dips With Proper Form

by Caleb Lee on December 4, 2008

This article will teach you how to do dips. The dip is an important athletic movement, it’s a vertical pressing motion and it works similar muscle groups as the pushup.

But the dip is actually better than the “old standby” pushup because you can more easily add weight to your body and you’re actually moving your body through the air and you have to stabilize it.

The dip is a great strength building move and that’s why it’s part of the DoubleYourGains’ 3-5 Program.

What Is A Dip?

Put your hands on something parallel to each other, lower your body between those two things until your shoulder is slightly below parallel with your elbow and you’ve just performed a dip. There’s lots of variations though:

  • Bar dips – when you put your hands on two bars parallel to each other and dip in between (most gyms have something like this)
  • Chair dips - turn around two chairs so the backs are facing each other, grab them by the top, one in each hand and dip in between (you’ll have to bend your knees and make sure they’re sturdy enough to hold you)
  • Ring dips - like you see gymnasts do between two rings, extra hard because you have to stabilize your body more.
  • Bench dips - you can use a chair or a bench, or anything flat, just put your hands behind you on the flat surface, feet out front and dip down. This can be hard on your shoulders, try the other variations first.

This article is going to focus on the basic parallel bar dips because that’s the most common variation.

Why You Should Do Dips

It’s important to be able to press your own bodyweight, control it and move it through space. And of course…

  • Build pressing strength – in the same manner as bench presses and overhead presses
  • Build muscle - like you would with the other presses, plus you can easily add weight to yourself to make dips harder…
  • Shoulder health - dips strengthen your shoulders in a different manner than bench presses, so if you injured your shoulders with benches, dips can be good rehab…

Setting Up The Dip

  • Grip - grab the two bars tight, use your thumbs and squeeze them…
  • Torso - you may not be able to lean forward much because it hurts your sternum or shoulders, if so keep your torso more upright…
  • Breathe - take a deep breath and…
  • Chest - puff it out like you would with deadlifts, squats and other exercises…
  • Curl Your feet - up towards your butt, this will activate your glutes and give you more strength (check…

Going Down (Eccentric Phase)

  • Let yourself down – under control until you’re..
  • Below Parallel – with your shoulders being below your elbows just slightly (going too low will hurt, you’ll quickly find out)…
  • Stay tight - flex your abs, squeeze the bar, keep your feet to your butt and…

Going Up (Concentric Phase)…

  • Press down – think of pressing your hands down through the bars your holding on to and your body will come up naturally…
  • Keep your chest up - and your shoulders up…
  • Lock it out – at the top with straight elbows, to make sure you’re building connective strength in your joints…

What To Do If You Can’t Do 1 Dip

You have to start somewhere, and for some it may be not even one rep. Here’s what to do:

  • Partner - get a spotter to either grab you by the waist, or legs and gently take some of the weight off
  • Rubber bands – if you have rubber bands you can hang from the bars, and put your feet in them to take some of the weight off
  • Negatives - jump yourself up to full lockout and then lower yourself slowly down to the bottom position. The key is slow, controlled movement and you’ll build strength this way until you can do a full rep.

Try the ideas above and you’ll be doing a good dip or two in less than a month.

Make Sure You Don’t Do This

People screw up dips like they screw up squats and bench presses:

  • Parallel - people don’t go all the way down with their shoulders lower than their elbows. You gotta break parallel each rep.
  • Partials - make sure you lockout your elbows at the top of every rep.

Video Examples:

I picked this video because this guy says he was 325 pounds. There’s a lot of guys that say “I’m too big to do pullups or dips, so that’s why I can’t do 1… or as many as you”. Whatever. Start doing dips, get strong like this guy:

And that’s how you do dips.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

cwxwwwxdfvwwxwx December 26, 2008 at 12:17 am

well, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch ;)

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