What is the go-to bodyweight exercise that is most often used as a test of strength? Push-ups, right?
As it happens, there is a better alternative that most people tend to miss. I am talking about dips. Now, I know that a dip is more complicated than a push-up, but that’s precisely what makes it a better yardstick of upper body strength.
Let’s face it; the vast majority of amateurs out there can still manage to do a single push-up, though it may not be with perfect form. However, doing even a single dip with bad form is nearly impossible. So, a dip is one of the most challenging and rewarding bodyweight exercises you can do.
But that’s not all; a dip bar is one of the simplest and most cost-effective pieces of fitness equipment out there. And I strongly recommend that you start using it for your home workouts.
Hello there! My name is Michael Shaw. And today, I have put together this informative guide that will show you why your home workouts must incorporate a dip bar.
Now that the warm-up is done and dusted, let’s break a sweat!
Exercises Using A Dip Bar
Even if you ask someone who has never stepped foot in the gym to think of an exercise that targets the pecs, they will think of the bench press. After all, it is the go-to exercise to build a strong, muscular chest. But I don’t expect many people to have the budget to buy and install a bench press set up at home. So, what is its home alternative?
Dips work a lot like bench press if you look at the human anatomy and the way this exercise works the muscles. Instead of pushing a bar away from you in a horizontal position, you are pushing your body away from the gravitational pull in a vertical position. And if you get used to your bodyweight, weighted dips are also a great option.
The only difference is that a bench press can be used to target your upper, middle, as well as the lower chest. But dips only strengthen the lower chest muscles, because of the vertical position.
Did you know that a dip bar can be used to target almost all the major muscle groups in your body? Yes, you read that right! There’s a ton of different exercises you can do using a dip bar.
Some of the most common exercises that you could do using a dip bar include:
- Regular dips for your triceps and lower chest
- Knee raises, or leg raises for your abdominal muscles
- Burpee knee-ups for a total body conditioning and a cardio routine
- Reverse push-ups for your triceps.
If you are further ahead in terms of your strength and fitness level, you could include some more advanced exercises using a dip bar. L-sit bicycles, L-sit holds, dips to L-sits, and so on are sure to run you out of breath.
Guide For Beginners
If you are a beginner who feels intimidated by these exercises, don’t worry. There’s an easy way for you to get more comfortable around a dip bar.
The first thing you want to do is a basic support hold on the dip bar. This entails just supporting your body weight isometrically while keeping your shoulders locked in place. Try holding this position for 15 to 20 seconds – you should be able to do that within a couple of days.
When you can hold the top position of a dip for more than 20 seconds, try doing dip negatives. Here, you will be focusing on the eccentric part of the movement. Once you are in the top position, slowly lower your body and then place your feet on the ground. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of dip negatives, till it gets easy.
Now, you are ready to do a full dip, and all you need to do is add the concentric part of the movement. Start at the top position, lower your body, and then push your torso up to the top position again. That’s one rep of the conventional dip that will target your lower chest and triceps.
If you are more of the visual learner, then check out the video below to see what types of exercises you can do with a simple dip station:
A Word Of Caution
It is a well-known fact that dips require a lot of shoulder mobility. To put it simply, doing a dip will put considerable strain on your shoulder muscles and may even lead to a shoulder injury if you do not do it properly. As a rule of thumb, make sure that your shoulders are down and rounded back before you begin.
People who are suffering from shoulder mobility issues or other problems like poor thoracic extension should be cautious when incorporating dips in their workout regimen.
You know that feeling when you start to see a visible, evident change in your physique? All those painful sets and gallons of sweat feel worthwhile. I was more motivated than ever to go to the gym and workout because I was in the best shape of my life. For a 36-year-old business analyst like me, that’s a pretty big deal!
Six months ago, I was told by my boss about a 3-month assignment in India, and I was stoked, to say the least. But after I saw my itinerary, the only thing that dampened my spirits was the thought of not being able to workout in the gym. And that’s because I had to travel across the country, without staying put in one place for more than 10 to 15 days.
So before I packed my bags and bid adieu to my wife, I talked to a friend who is a professional fitness trainer. He suggested that I continue to do bodyweight exercises whenever I can while traveling abroad. And dips were a constant part of his recommended bodyweight workout program.
I purchased a dip bar that was easy to assemble and disassemble and did not take up much space and I was happy that I listened. I recently came back to the States after spending three months in India. And when I went to the gym for the first time in over a quarter, I did not notice a considerable reduction in my upper body strength.
To cut a long story short, it is safe to say that the dip was my biggest ally for home (or should I say hotel) workouts!
Summing It Up
On that note, I have reached the end of this guide. But before I sign off, I want to tell you about DIY dip bars. If you do not wish to purchase a dip bar, you can easily make one using commonly available objects. However if you do not want to go the DIY route, I have created a buyer’s guide for the best dip stands that are available on the market today.
You could place two chairs a little more than shoulder-width apart, and you have a dip station. But obviously, a makeshift dip bar will not be anywhere close to the real thing in terms of sturdiness. So, tread with caution if you plan to take the DIY route here.
I have become a huge fan of dips and plan to keep them in my workout plan. Let me know about your experience with dips in the comments section below.
Till next time!