For an impressive physique, you need a broad, thick chest. The best chest exercises are the ones that strengthen and grow your chest, while also widening it. Usually, when people talk about chest exercises and the best way of developing a powerful chest – they go straight for the classic bench press. However, there is research that supports the simple Dip as being the best exercise for developing a strong, powerful chest. Dips also fall into the category of compound exercises, recruiting a range of muscles to get the job done – they work not only the chest, but also the back, shoulders, and arms. Being such, they give you a hormonal boost which aids in muscle growth.
Dips are a great compound, body-weight exercise, but even though they are quite a natural movement, it is still important to get advice on and be mindful of technique. Hold yourself up on a set of parallel bars. Most gyms have dip bars connected to a knee raise station or assisted pull-up rig. There are also many parks these days that have parallel bars and pull up bars, free for public use.
You want your thighs to be vertical, the lower legs can bend out towards the back, but keep your upper legs pointing straight down. It’s best to also keep your forearms pointing straight down and your elbows tucked into the side of your body. Your torso should be sitting forward at a 20 – 30 degree angle, and the head in line with the spine.
Dips can be varied to bring differing targets to muscle groups. To put more emphasis on the chest, begin by leaning the torso forward to almost 40 degrees, while also pointing your legs forward, giving the body an angular crescent-moon shape. By shifting the weight in front of you, your chest bares more load and is forced to work harder in more isolation. By doing this, chest dips are far better than any other compound exercise for developing a wide, solid chest.
The other big variation that can be made to dips is to bring the focus to the triceps. Just as the idea with chest dips was to bring the body forward and put more tension on the chest, if you are wanting to work your arms and zero in on your triceps, then you must shift your weight back.
Keep the upper torso perfectly straight, and bring the legs backwards as far as is comfortable. Squeeze the glutes and lower back to keep the proper upright position. The target the triceps, it also helps to bring the grip in closer. Position your hands further down, or closer in together, to really hit your triceps. Lock out at the top of each repetition to give your arms a full range of motion.
Look After Your Shoulders
If you have a pre-existing shoulder injury, then take care and seek professional medical advice before incorporating dips into your workout regime. If your shoulders and healthy and strong, then be sure to protect them while you are new to dips and still learning the correct technique. Don’t let your shoulders protrude forward at any phase of the dip, as this puts unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint. Pinch your shoulder blades together in the downward phase of the dip, much the same as you do while pressing.
Watch your form, do your dips in front of a mirror if possible and keep an eye on yourself. Often, a simple alert that lets your know if you’re doing the dips right or not, is that the body tends to swing with bad form. Keep your glutes tight, and control the motion of the dips with simple, straight lift. Dips are functional, so they are an exercise that will help you in all your training, and set you on your way to developing a strong, broad and impressive upper body.