May 21, 2024
Learn about the benefits of exercise dips, how to perform them with correct form, and some variations to keep your workout fresh and challenging. Experts weigh in on why dip exercises are a great bodyweight exercise for building upper body strength, and tips on how to integrate exercise dips into a full-body workout routine.


Exercise dips can be challenging, but they’re also a highly effective exercise for toning your arms and building upper body strength. Dips work the triceps, chest, and shoulders, and are a great addition to any strength training routine. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what exercise dips are, their benefits, how to perform them with proper form, and some variations to try to keep your workouts fresh and challenging.

The Benefits of Adding Exercise Dips to Your Workout Routine

Before we dive into how to perform dips, let’s take a closer look at why you should consider adding them to your workout routine. Here are some of the main benefits of doing dips:

  • Improved tricep strength
  • Toned and defined upper arms
  • Increased upper body definition
  • Improved shoulder stability
  • Increased pushing and pressing power

Research has shown that tricep dips are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the triceps. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics found that dips activated the triceps to a greater extent than other common tricep exercises like skull crushers or overhead extensions.

A Beginner’s Guide to Performing Exercise Dips with Proper Form

Now that we’ve covered some of the benefits of dips, let’s talk about how to actually perform them with proper form. Doing dips incorrectly can put unnecessary strain on your shoulders and elbows, so it’s important to start with proper technique.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Find a set of dip bars or parallel bars at your gym or use a set of sturdy chairs or steps at home.
  2. Stand between the bars/chairs/steps and grip onto each with your palms facing inward. Your arms should be straight and supporting your weight.
  3. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them pointing straight back. Stop when your arms reach a 90-degree angle or slightly below.
  4. Push back up through your hands to raise your body back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Letting your elbows flare out to the sides, which can put unnecessary stress on your shoulders.
  • Arching your back or sticking your chest out, which can put stress on your lower back.
  • Lowering your body too far, which can strain your shoulder joints.

Tips for Increasing the Difficulty:

  • Try adding weight using a dip belt or a backpack filled with heavy books.
  • Slow down the lowering phase of the dip to increase time under tension and build muscle endurance.
  • Increase the number of reps or sets you perform over time.

How Exercise Dips Target and Tone Your Triceps

We’ve touched on the fact that dips are great for improving tricep strength, but how exactly do they work? Dips target all three heads of the tricep muscles, as well as the chest and shoulders. The movement of lowering your body engages the triceps to straighten out your arms, while the pressing motion of pushing back up works the chest and shoulders. By regularly performing dips, you’ll notice increased strength and definition in your upper arms.

Variations of Exercise Dips to Keep Your Workouts Fresh and Challenging

If you’re looking for ways to keep your workouts interesting and challenging, there are several variations of dips you can try. Here are a few to consider:

Bench Dips:

This variation is great for beginners or those who may not have access to dip bars. To perform bench dips:

  1. Sit on the edge of a sturdy bench or step with your hands gripping the edge on either side of your hips.
  2. Slide your body forward so that your feet are supported by the floor and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them pointing straight back.
  4. Push back up through your hands to raise your body back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Ring Dips:

If you’re looking for a more challenging variation, ring dips provide an added stability challenge. To perform ring dips:

  1. Attach a set of gymnastics rings to a stable overhead structure.
  2. Hold onto the rings and dip down, keeping them close to your body as you lower yourself.
  3. Press back up to the starting position and repeat.

Weighted Dips:

If you’re looking to really challenge yourself and add some serious resistance to your dips, weighted dips are a great option. To perform weighted dips:

  1. Attach a weighted dip belt to your waist and add weight plates as desired.
  2. Perform dips as you normally would.
  3. Be sure to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase over time as you become stronger.

Why Exercise Dips Are a Great Bodyweight Exercise for Building Upper Body Strength

Not only are dips highly effective for targeting and toning the triceps, but they’re also a great bodyweight exercise for building upper body strength in general. Bodyweight exercises like dips require you to stabilize your own body in space, which can improve overall functional strength. Plus, they can be done almost anywhere without any equipment, making them a convenient exercise option.

Maximizing Your Results with Exercise Dips: Tips from Fitness Experts

If you’re looking to get the most out of your dip workouts, here are a few tips from fitness experts:

  • Combine dips with other upper body exercises like push-ups and pull-ups for a well-rounded workout.
  • Make sure to switch up your dip variations and add weight as you progress to continue challenging your muscles.
  • Perform dips slowly and with control to increase time under tension and build muscle endurance.

Incorporating Exercise Dips into a Full-Body Workout: An Effective Fitness Strategy

Finally, if you’re looking to incorporate dips into a full-body workout routine, there are several effective strategies you can use. For example, you might try:

  • Performing dips as part of a superset with another upper body exercise, like push-ups or rows.
  • Incorporating dips into a circuit-style workout, alternating with lower body exercises like squats or lunges.
  • Performing dips at the end of your workout as a burnout exercise, doing as many reps as possible until exhaustion.


In conclusion, exercise dips are a highly effective exercise for toning your arms, improving tricep strength, and building upper body definition. By following proper form and gradually increasing weight and variations, you can continue to challenge your muscles and improve your overall strength.

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