Tip: Bench Dips Are Bad News

These will wreck your shoulder joints. Here's why, plus a better option.


Ditch the Bench Dip

This exercise is still commonly used, even amongst trainers who should know better. A lifter suspends himself across two benches while his trainer or lifting partner loads several 45-pound plates across his lap.

Aside from the obvious risk of slipping off the edge of the bench, I'm not a fan because the set position requires the palms to be down on the bench, resulting in an internally-rotated load-bearing position at the shoulder joint.

For most people, that's not good news, especially when combined with crappy posture.

What's worse is that changing the movement doesn't help. It doesn't matter how high you push your chest up; it's about the position of the upper arm relative to the clavicle.

Giving the shoulder the chance to roll the head of the humerus behind the collarbone where it belongs while safely bearing the load (which is much easier to accomplish using parallel bars) should be the name of the game.

So, make the switch to free hanging dips.


Even if it means having to use bands or a Gravitron machine, regular dips will leave you better off. Your shoulders will thank you.