Tip: Dips for Chest vs. Dips for Triceps

There is a difference. And both variations are safe if you do them right. Here's how.

Dips? But They’re Dangerous!

Many people say that dips are dangerous, but dips are the best chest-builder there is – properly done dips, that is.

How many gymnasts have built solid upper bodies by doing mostly dip and pull-ups variations? Few athletes have healthier shoulders than gymnasts despite the amazing volume of work imposed on that joint in training.

Shoulder problems when doing dips come from bad technique or pre-existing shoulder issues. Don’t blame the exercise that revealed the problem. Blame what caused it or blame yourself for not fixing the issue before it became serious.

With dips, the most important thing is to keep the shoulders in their socket. The biggest mistake is to have the delt move forward out of the socket. That’s what causes problems: bad technique or a lack of mobility that forces your body to compensate by moving the shoulder out forward.

If you’re doing dips to build the chest, your torso should be angled forward and your feet should be in front of you.

If you’re doing dips to build the triceps, your torso should be upright and your feet should be below or behind you.

The shoulder should have no horizontal movement and your torso angle should not change during the lift.

If you keep the shoulder in its socket, maintain the selected torso angle during the whole movement, and only go down as low as you can maintain a proper position, the dip will be one of the most effective exercises you can do.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.