Chest Dips

Introduction to Chest Dips

Chest dips are often over looked, but are one of the best exercises for adding muscle size and density to the chest area.

Chest dips are a compound, pushing exercise that use bodyweight for resistance. This exercise works a large number of muscles in the arms, chest and shoulders. Chest dips are a variation on tricep dips, but as more of the work is done by the chest, they are considered a chest exercise.

Chest Dips Instructions

  • Take hold of the bars on the dip machine, and push yourself upwards to the start position. Your feet should be crossed over behind you, with your knees bent.
  • Under control, lower your body until your triceps are parallel with the floor. The body should be tilted through approximately 45 degrees at this point, and you should feel a stretch in the chest and across the shoulders.
  • Whilst continuing to lean forward, push yourself back up to the start position.
  • When performing chest dips, you can either bend and cross your legs or you can keep your legs straight, depending on how high you are from the floor.

Chest Dips Muscles Worked

Chest Dips - Muscles WorkedPrimary

Pectoralis Major, Pectoralis Minor.


Anterior Deltoids, Triceps Brachii, Rhomboids, Levator Scapulae, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major.










  • The lower back and abdominals should be tensed throughout this exercise to keep the upper body in position.
  • Extra weight can be strapped to yourself to add extra resistance. One way that this can be achieved is by attaching plates to a dip belt.

Common Chest Dips Errors

  • Not locking out the elbows. Locking out the elbows at the top of your chest dips forces you to squeeze and fully contract the triceps. Ensure a leant forward position is maintained.
  • Failing to reach parallel. If you are not lowering yourself to a point where your triceps are parallel to the ground, you are only doing partial chest dips. As a good pointer, the shoulders should be lower than the elbows at the bottom of each chest dips rep.
  • Working through shoulder pain. Don’t allow yourself to go too low. The furthest you should go is parallel to the ground.
  • Shoulder roll.Allowing the shoulders to roll forward and the upper body to move around are the main reason for injury on chest dips. Keep your upper body tight, and your chest up.

Chest Dips and Shoulder/Elbow PainShoulder Pain

  • Shoulder pain can be a real problem with chest dips if they are not performed correctly.
  • Chest dips put particular strain on the shoulders as they are reported to push the shoulders through their normal range of motion. This weakens the shoulder joints and impairs their stability. Also, the leaning forward required by chest dips decreases the space through which your ligaments and tendons run.
  • Providing you concentrate on proper form, and do not lower yourself too far, shoulder pain should not be an issue. Experiment with what range of movement works for you.
  • Adding extra weight to this exercises also increases the risk of causing shoulder/elbow pain, as it places even more stress on the shoulder joints. Add weight gradually, and always concentrate on good form.
  • Elbow pain can be another problem attributable to poor form. Remember to keep the elbows tight in to the sides of the body, as this will often alleviate any elbow pain you may be experiencing.

Photo Credits: Everkinetic, Comstock Images


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  1. Kaley Netrosio

    Love it!! Thanks for the info.

  2. dan

    need a routine for chest dips


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  4. Muscle Building

    Thanks for finally talking about >Chest Dips | Chest Exercises |
    Exercise Guides <Loved it!

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