Singled handedly, DIPS are one of the best arm, chest exercises around but there are some interesting points that need to be addressed when getting into trying to target those nasty triceps, so here goes.
Click on the link below to check out Patrick's dips (with a loaded weight vest no less!)
As most know, your triceps take up 2/3 of your upper arm. The long head of your triceps muscles is actually attached to the infraglenoid tubercle of your scapula (small bump on the shoulder blade) and down to the elbow. The rest of the triceps brachii to the humerus bone into the elbow as well.
Major functions include extending the elbow and extending the shoulder girdle as well.
When doing dips, whether they be off a bench, or body weight, the pressing up portion of the dip involves forceful extension of the elbow as well as extension of the shoulder (because the arm approximates the shoulder blade on the way up…BOTH humerus and scapula come together here)
When doing dips off a bench or a chair, be CAUTIOUS of how you are “dipping”!!
All too often, we see people perform the exercise far away from the bench and their shoulders round out a crazy amount. When this happens, the scapula rides higher and the shoulder is shrugged and heavily loaded!
This further impacts the A/C (acromioclavicular joint at the top of the shoulder complex. Not only does the joint get affected but the rotator cuff group of muscles passes right under there as well as some nifty little bursas filling up some empty space!
The S/C joint (sternoclavicular joint) located at the top of your sternum by your throat takes a beating too… —> reason: you have a meniscus in there too! Too many badly executed dips = wear on tear on joints that need not be worn and torn!
—> Quick fix:
Aside from some mechanical reasons, the simplest correction would be:
– When doing dips off a bench, ensure that your shoulders are slightly back and you should “hear your arms rubbing on your shirt on the way down and up”.
– Your lower back should NOT round out and this will allow you to “dip” straight down!
To intensify the exercise, REALLY try and connect the elbows behind your back THROUGHOUT the movement and you will definitely be doing less reps but at the same time saving your shoulder joints and creating tension throughout the movement!
The same would apply for body weight or weighted dips!
When performing them weighted, one can target the chest by leaning forward, which makes the exercise resemble a decline bench press. When more vertical, the arms get more of the effect.
In BOTH cases though, please make SURE you are abiding by the general rule of not allowing the shoulders to round out at the top!!
Have fun and let me know how it goes!!