The best fitness workouts, nutrition and reviews.
Are you looking for alternatives to dips that can help you achieve big chest and tricep gains? Dips are a great exercise, but due to certain reasons, sometimes they might not be feasible. In this blog, we will explore the differences between Triceps Dip and Chest Dip and the common mistakes that people make during dips. We have also listed down 7 of the best exercises that can replace dips in your workout routine. These exercises are easy to do and can be done with minimal equipment. So, if you are looking for a way to add variety to your workout routine or simply want to try something new, read on as we uncover these dip alternatives that can help you gain those big chest and tricep muscles you’ve always wanted.
What are Dips?
Dips are a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the upper body, specifically the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Dips are performed using parallel bars or dip stations, and they involve lowering and raising your body by bending and extending your arms.
Step 1: Begin by positioning yourself between the parallel bars or dip stations. Grip the bars firmly with your palms facing down. Your arms should be fully extended, and your body should be straight, with your feet off the ground.
Step 2: Lower your body by bending your elbows and leaning forward slightly. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you descend.
Step 3: Continue lowering your body until your shoulders are below your elbows or until you feel a stretch in your chest or shoulders. Ensure that your torso remains upright, and your chest is lifted throughout the movement.
Step 4: Pause briefly in the bottom position, then exhale and push through your hands to extend your elbows and return to the starting position.
Step 5: Fully extend your arms at the top, but avoid locking your elbows to maintain tension on the muscles.
Step 6: Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
Dips can be modified based on your fitness level and equipment availability. Beginners may use assistance machines or bands to help support their bodyweight, while more advanced individuals can add additional resistance using a weight belt or a weighted vest.
It’s essential to maintain proper form during dips. Avoid excessive swinging or using momentum to lift your body. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your body throughout the exercise, and focus on squeezing your chest and triceps as you push back up.
Triceps Dip vs Chest Dip: What are the differences?
Triceps dips and chest dips are two variations of the dip exercise that target different muscle groups. While both exercises involve similar movements, there are key differences in how they are performed and the muscles they primarily work.
The primary difference between triceps dips and chest dips lies in the emphasis on different muscle groups:
- Muscle Emphasis: Triceps dips primarily target the triceps, while chest dips primarily target the chest muscles (pectoralis major). Triceps dips may also engage the chest muscles to some extent, but the emphasis is on the triceps. Conversely, chest dips involve the triceps as secondary muscles, but the emphasis is on the chest.
- Arm and Hand Position: In triceps dips, the palms face down, with a slightly narrower grip, while in chest dips, the palms face each other with a slightly wider grip.
- Body Positioning: Chest dips often involve leaning the torso forward slightly to emphasize the chest muscles, while triceps dips generally maintain a more upright torso position.
- Range of Motion: Both exercises share a similar range of motion, but the emphasis on muscle activation and depth of the dip may vary based on the targeted muscle group.
Dip Alternatives: 7 Exercises
Looking for effective chest and tricep dip alternatives? Dips are a popular bodyweight exercise but not everyone can do them due to shoulder or elbow issues. That’s why it’s essential to know about other dip alternatives that can provide similar benefits without any discomfort or injury risk. Some great options include push-ups, close-grip bench press, diamond push-ups, standing cable flys, bodyweight skull crushers, incline bench press and seated dumbbell overhead press. Incorporating these exercises into your workout routine can significantly improve your upper body strength and muscle growth without relying solely on dips.
Close Grip Bench Press
If you’re looking for Chest and Tricep Dip Alternatives that don’t sacrifice results, the Close Grip Bench Press is an excellent option for building upper body strength. Unlike dips, which can be tough on the shoulder joint if done improperly, this exercise is done on a flat bench with a narrow grip barbell. It’s a fantastic dip alternative that targets the triceps and chest muscles while reducing strain on your shoulder blades.
Step 1: Lie down on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Position your hands on the barbell with a grip that is slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it directly above your chest, arms fully extended. Your elbows should be tucked in close to your body.
Step 3: Inhale and slowly lower the barbell down towards your mid-chest, keeping your elbows close to your body throughout the movement.
Step 4: Once the barbell lightly touches your chest, pause briefly, and then exhale as you push the barbell back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
Step 5: Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining control and focusing on engaging your triceps.
Decline Bench Press
Incorporating decline bench press into your workout routine can help you achieve bigger gains in your chest and tricep muscles. It allows you to target the lower chest muscles that are often missed by other exercises like dips. Not only does it put less stress on the shoulder joint than dips, but it also strengthens other muscle groups such as pectorals, delts, and lats. Remember to use proper form and a full range of motion for maximum benefits.
Step 1: Set a decline bench to a declined angle (typically around 30-45 degrees). Lie down on the bench with your head lower than your feet, and secure your feet using the foot pads or hooks.
Step 2: Grab the barbell with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it directly above your chest, arms fully extended.
Step 3: Inhale and slowly lower the barbell down towards your lower chest, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle to your body.
Step 4: Once the barbell lightly touches your lower chest, pause briefly, and then exhale as you push the barbell back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
Step 5: Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining control and focusing on engaging your chest muscles.
Diamond Push Up
For toning triceps and chest muscles without using any equipment, try performing diamond push-ups.
Step 1: Start in a high plank position with your hands close together, forming a diamond shape by touching your thumbs and index fingers.
Step 2: Engage your core, keep your body in a straight line, and lower your chest towards the diamond shape you formed with your hands.
Step 3: Once your chest is close to touching your hands, pause briefly, and then exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
Step 4: Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining control and focusing on engaging your triceps and chest muscles.
Cable Chest Flys
Improve your upper body strength with cable chest flys, a substitute for Chest and Tricep Dips. This bodyweight exercise provides a great workout for triceps, deltoids, pecs, lats, delts, biceps, and forearms. Incorporating cable chest flys into your workout routine can help you achieve bigger gains in your upper chest and tricep muscles.
Step 1: Set the cable machine handles at chest height and stand facing away from the machine. Grab the handles, one in each hand, with your palms facing forward.
Step 2: Take a step forward to create tension in the cables. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and maintain a slight bend in your elbows.
Step 3: Keeping your core engaged and your chest lifted, exhale and slowly bring your arms forward in a hugging motion until your hands meet in front of your chest.
Step 4: Pause briefly at the point of maximum contraction, squeezing your chest muscles.
Step 5: Inhale and slowly reverse the motion, allowing your arms to move back to the starting position with control.
Step 6: Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and feeling the contraction in your chest muscles.
Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks
For an effective dip alternative that targets your triceps without putting too much stress on your shoulder joint, consider incorporating dumbbell tricep kickbacks into your workout routine.
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward at the waist, keeping your back straight.
Step 2: Engage your core and bring your upper arms close to your sides, with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. This is the starting position.
Step 3: Exhale and extend one arm straight back, keeping your upper arm stationary. Focus on using your tricep muscles to extend the arm fully.
Step 4: Hold the contracted position for a brief pause, squeezing your triceps.
Step 5: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position, maintaining control and keeping your upper arm close to your side.
Step 6: Repeat the movement with the opposite arm.
Step 7: Continue alternating arms for the desired number of repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and feeling the engagement in your triceps.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Incorporating the dumbbell bench press as a substitute for the chest and tricep dip exercise can elevate your workout routine. By using dumbbells instead of your body weight, you’re able to increase resistance levels in small increments during each rep. This exercise targets the pectoral muscles along with the deltoids and biceps while providing a full range of motion.
Step 1: Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Position the dumbbells at shoulder level, with your palms facing forward.
Step 2: Push the dumbbells upward until your arms are fully extended. This is the starting position.
Step 3: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells down towards your mid-chest, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle to your body.
Step 4: Once the dumbbells lightly touch your chest, pause briefly, and then exhale as you push the dumbbells back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
Step 5: Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining control and focusing on engaging your chest muscles.
Cable Machine Tricep Pushdown
Looking for a great substitute for chest and tricep dips? Cable machine tricep pushdown is an excellent alternative exercise that targets the deltoid muscle groups in your upper arms while avoiding strain on the shoulder joint.
Step 1: Set the cable machine with the rope attachment at a high position. Stand facing the machine and grab the rope with an overhand grip, palms facing down.
Step 2: Step back to create tension in the cable. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and slightly bend your knees.
Step 3: Start with your elbows tucked in close to your sides and your forearms parallel to the ground. This is the starting position.
Step 4: Exhale and push the rope downward, extending your elbows while keeping your upper arms stationary.
Step 5: Hold the contracted position for a brief pause, squeezing your triceps.
Step 6: Inhale and slowly release the tension, allowing the rope to rise back up to the starting position while maintaining control.
Step 7: Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, focusing on maintaining proper form and feeling the engagement in your triceps.
Common Mistakes When doing Dips
Dips offer an excellent way to build upper body strength and enhance your muscle groups. However, it’s crucial to maintain proper form while doing this exercise. Keep your posture upright and chest up during the movement. For beginners, it’s better to start with alternative cable machine tricep pushdowns before proceeding to dips
. Also, varying the intensity of dips prevents plateaus and increases gains.
Going Too Low in the Dip
To avoid putting excessive strain on your shoulder joint and preventing injury while performing chest and tricep dips, it’s important to not go too low. Maintaining proper form requires keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle and not dipping below parallel. If you feel discomfort or pain in your shoulders while doing dips, this may indicate that you are going too low. Substitute dips with push-ups or tricep extensions to build muscle groups effectively without the risk of injury.
Not Keeping the Chest Up
Maintaining proper form during dips is crucial for optimal chest and tricep gains. One of the most common mistakes is not keeping your chest up. To avoid this mistake, engage your pectoral muscles by keeping a neutral grip with shoulder blades retracted and palms facing inward. Additionally, incorporate alternative exercises such as push-ups, dumbbell bench press or decline bench press, to challenge different muscle groups and increase upper body strength.
Not Going Low Enough in the Dip
To get the most out of your dip exercise without risking shoulder joint strain or injury, make sure you’re going as low as a 90-degree angle with proper form. Avoid locking out your elbows at the top of the movement. You can supplement your workout routine by incorporating alternative exercises such as push-ups, bench press, or overhead press to develop upper body strength. Dumbbell bench presses, close grip bench presses, decline benches are great alternatives that target different muscle groups including pecs, delts, lats and biceps.
Not Locking Out the Elbows
To maximize your chest and triceps gains, avoid limiting yourself by not locking out your elbows at the top of a dip. Instead, maintain good posture with engaged muscles throughout your full range of motion. For an added challenge, try resistance bands or weight plates during bench dips or parallel bar dips to switch things up. Using proper form in alternative exercises such as dumbbell presses, push-ups, and cable machines is another great way to target other muscle groups in your upper body. Remember to focus on hand placement, neutral grip and shoulder blade positioning to optimize results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dips work your chest or your triceps?
Dips are a versatile exercise that work both the chest and triceps. The emphasis can be shifted by adjusting your body angle: a more upright position targets triceps, while leaning forward engages chest muscles. Dips are an essential part of any upper body workout routine for overall strength.
Is it necessary to use weights for dips, or can I just do them on my own bodyweight?
Dips can be performed with or without weights, but adding weights will increase the difficulty and muscle gains. Bodyweight dips are still effective and can be adjusted for intensity. The choice between the two depends on one’s fitness level and workout objectives.
Dips are a great exercise for building chest and tricep muscles, but they aren’t the only option. There are several alternatives that you can incorporate into your workout routine to achieve similar results. Close grip bench presses, decline bench presses, and diamond push-ups are some of the best dip alternatives. However, it is important that you avoid common mistakes like going too low in the dip or not keeping your chest up during the exercise. By incorporating these alternative exercises into your workout routine and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll be on your way to bigger chest and tricep gains in no time. Want to learn more about how to optimize your workouts? Download our free guide now.