Targets: Chest & Triceps
Required: Parallel Bars
Optional: Weight Belt/Dumbbell
Weighted Chest Dips Form
Raise yourself up onto a pair of parallel bars.
With your elbows slightly outward tilt your torso forward by looking ahead and bringing your legs up behind you.
From this position contract your arms while maintaining this slight angle in your torso, this ensures we’re targeting the chest and not the triceps as our primary muscle group.
Lower yourself down as far as possible, hold this contraction for 1 second.
Driving through your chest explode upward and extend your arms to return yourself to the starting position above your parallel bars.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, add a dumbbell between your legs or strap on a weight belt when possible.
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I spent literally years messing around with uncomfortable weight belts and trying to balance a dumbbell between my legs etc. to add weight to my bodyweight exercise progressions.
I honestly wish I picked up one of these adjustable weighted vests sooner – it’s extremely comfortable, can be adjusted to a ton of different weight configurations and as such is the ultimate investment to assist with your progressive overload.
Pick up the weight vest I use and recommend here.
Not Understanding Different Dip Variations
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Failing To Apply Progressive Overload On 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.
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…
Flaring Your Elbows
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 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.