HomeFitness8 Dip Mistakes That'll Sabotage Your Chest & Triceps Growth

8 Dip Mistakes That’ll Sabotage Your Chest & Triceps Growth

The Down Low On Dips...


The dip is an excellent exercise for adding mass to both the chest and the triceps, there's a few different variation of dip which although look quite similar a few small changes In your positioning make a big change in what muscle group you're primarily hitting.
Dips are in my top 3 exercises for both chest and triceps, and the progression on dips is constant - With the ability to assisted dips, negatives, bodyweight dips, and heavy weighted dips as your chest and triceps grow stronger.
Unlike many other chest and triceps exercise which merely relying on your pushing and lowering a barbell or a pair of Dumbbells the dip is slightly more technical - shoulder positioning, depth, leg placement, there's a lot more to take into account as you begin to dip on those parallel bars..

Are You Making Any Of These 8 Common Dip Mistakes?

Dip Mistake 1 - Not Understanding Different Dip Variations

It's well known that the dip works both the chest and the triceps, however in order to primarily work your chest or in order to isolate the triceps further a slight different form is utilized.
The chest dip relies on a forward lean that allows you to push through the chest, this angle is to maintained for the duration of your set.
The triceps dip on the other hand is a completely upright dip with no chest involvement.

If you're trying to build a big chest and you're focusing on the triceps dip you'll be wasting your time, slight variations in form can make big differences in terms of targeted muscles.
Dip Mistake 2 - Swaying Between Reps

This is the most common mistake I see being made on the chest dip, in order to maintain the correct angle to target the chest as opposed to working solely on the triceps you need to keep your legs back and your core tight for the duration of your set, if you're disengaging your core and lowering your legs you'll soon find yourself swaying forwards and backwards after a couple of reps - this takes the tension off your chest, which we ideally want to keep constant.
Dip Mistake 3 - Partial ROM

Whether you're doing chest dips or triceps dips is irrelevant, a full range of motion should be utilized.
Lowering yourself half way down or doing only the bottom half of the movement (maintaining a large bend in your arms) is not the way to go - professional bodybuilders work in a very small range of motion... but professional bodybuilders are also injecting themselves with large quantities of anabolic steroids, how they train is not necessarily how you should train.
Work the entire range of motion of the dip, from as low as possible without compromising your shoulders to having arms fully extended at the top of each repetition.
Dip Mistake 4 - Exaggerated ROM

This is quite rare to see, however still worth noting.
At the opposite end of the range of motion spectrum we've got the excessive range of motion issue.
If you're lowering yourself to an extreme at the bottom portion of your dip you'll run the risk of injuring your shoulders and joints - as the weight will be moved off of your chest/triceps once such a plain of movement is entered.
Work the full range of motion but don't exaggerate this to the point of excess, risking injury.
Dip Mistake 5 - Dipping Too Fast

Building muscle and in this case, stimulating your chest and triceps is a matter of time under tension.
We overload our muscles (promoting size and strength gains) via constant increases of this tension.
Excessively fast reps and sets will have you applying tension to the muscle for a very brief period of time.
Focus on working with a 2 -1 - 2 tempo.
It should take you 2 seconds to lift the weight, you should pause for a 1 second isometric hold at the top of your movement before taking 2 seconds to lower back to the original position.
Dip Mistake 7 - Failing To Apply Progressive Overload On Your Dips
In order to build strength and size in your chest and triceps it's imperative that additional tension be placed on the muscles when performing your dips.
Performing 3 sets of 10 reps of bodyweight dips week in week out will assist in maintaining the muscle mass you have... but don't expect any additional progress.
Once you're at the stage where you're able to perform 8 - 10 reps of dips at bodyweight it's time to take things to the next level by adding additional weight.
Get a dip belt or hold a dumbbell between your legs and focus on building strength in the lower rep range - when you're able to dip an additional 45lbs for 8 - 10 reps you won't have to worry about the size of your chest or triceps anymore as they'll take care of themselves...
As Arnold said, size is a by-product of strength.
Dip Mistake 8 - Flaring Your Elbows
Flaring your elbows outward when performing dips places your shoulders in a compromised position and increases your risk of injury.
Your shoulders should be tucked in to ensure you're isolating your chest and triceps, the flaring of the elbows is generally a sign that you're attempting to recruit your shoulders to assist in the movement.
If you're performing dips with additional weight I'd recommend lowering the weight and building up a bit more strength before going too heavy and compromising your form.
If you find your elbows flaring out towards the end of your set of bodyweight dips instead of battling through those questionable reps jump up into position and perform several negative reps to overload the muscle, ensuring your elbows remain tucked in.

What's your take on correct dip form and dip mistakes? Let me know in the comments below! 

See also
4 Chest Training Mistakes You're Probably Making
Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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