True to form, we want to give our readers a few more ideas of how to stay fit, stay healthy and build muscle while not breaking the bank.
As you know, we are big fans of body-weight exercises and calisthenics, and in this article, we help you to master one of the most effective home exercises – the dip.
What is a Dip?
Let’s talk about double-dipping.
Throughout this article, we present two types of dipping techniques that can be completed using the same minimal amount of equipment.
These are tricep dips and chest dips. Let’s go over how to properly perform each exercise, and then move on to modifications to increase the challenge.
- Sit comfortably on a chair, or lean against a counter or strong table. Place your feet flat and firm on the floor in front of you.
- Place the palms of your hands down onto the edges of the chair or table, and grip them firmly with your fingers.
- Move your hips and body forward off the chair or bench, or create a little bit of distance between the counter and your back.
- Allow your knees to bend, sending your tailbone to the floor. Stop when your arms come to a 90-degree angle to your body.
- Using your palms and grip, extend your arms straight, feeling the pull on the triceps as you lift yourself back to the starting point.
- Repeat 10-15 times. Feel the tricep burn.
Tricep dips can be tough when we first start, so ensure that your neck and shoulders remain relaxed and that your elbows stay tight to your chest.
- Find two chairs back to back, a high countertop or a dip station (more on these later).
- Place your hands firmly on the countertop, or on each back of the chair while you stand in the middle.
- Move your weight forward onto your chest instead of backwards onto your triceps.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet up, hovering in the air. Begin to lower yourself down.
- Extend down to a 90-degree angle, and back up.
For chest dips, let your chest and head fold forward so the weight is in the front of your body.
Note, tricep dips can also be done using two chairs or a dip station.
In order to work the triceps instead of the chest, keep your back straight instead of folded forward.
Why Dips are Beneficial
Between tricep and chest dips, your entire upper body goes through a balanced workout.
While there are more than 10 different muscles being activated, the primary ones are the chest pectoral (Pectoralis major), the shoulders (Anterior deltoid), and of course the triceps (Triceps brachii).
If your goal is to increase overhead strength, create definition or build power, dips should become a focal part of your exercise routine.
Not only are they effective, but they can be incorporated into any workout regardless of the amount of equipment you have.
Need ideas? Let’s move to the next topic, creative dipping.
Whether you are stuck in the house, at the office or in the park, there are always options to get your dips in.
Here we give you a few creative ideas of how to make use of the objects available to you.
A normal dinner chair (or two) can be used to accomplish either tricep or chest dips. Make sure the chairs are sturdy enough to hold your body weight.
For tricep dips only, use the seat of the chair and extend your feet in front.
If you have two chairs back to back, stand in the middle of them, placing one hand on the back of each, bend your knees and hover your feet. Lower yourself down in between the chairs.
If you do not own sturdy enough chairs, you might want to invest in a dip station.
These range in price, but are a great addition to the home gym and can be used for various body-weight exercises.
Dip stations are sort of like a sturdy walker and come made from different materials and various heights. The only downside to dip stations is they are not very portable.
Counters and Tables:
A sturdy counter or table can be the perfect place to complete both tricep and chest dips.
Tricep dips can be done with your back towards the table and feet extended out (like the chair).
Chest dips can be done facing the chest towards the table and bending the knees to hover the feet.
Make sure the counter or table is sturdy and balanced enough to hold your weight.
Outside (playground, benches):
Dips are a great exercise to add on to a run or walk and give yourself an additional challenge.
Parks contain lots of structures such as benches and playgrounds that provide the perfect “accidental” dip station.
Logs, rocks, lamp posts, fences; all of these can be modified and used to complete the exercises.
If you have none of these options available to you, get creative in the household (within reason) and find an object that will provide you with the leverage to complete a dip.
A washing machine, a pool table, or any two objects that are parallel to each other and the same height.
We trust that you will keep it safe and use common sense, but it’s a good way to mix up your routine by finding a new daily dip station.
Modifications to increase difficulty.
Once you have worked dips into your everyday routine, there are some ways of modifying the exercises to create more challenge.
If the tricep dips are becoming too easy against the counter or chair, try straightening your legs and placing only your heel on the ground instead of the full foot.
Increasing the angle and distance to the ground will up the challenge.
If the chest dips are becoming routine, lean the body further forward or do a “slow” dip, activating and engaging the front of the chest.
Like any of our body-weight exercises, be sure to start slow and progress at your own pace. Make it hard, but keep it fun.
When starting out, be sure to rest at least a day in between dip sessions, giving your muscles time to recover.
Keep the form and remember that quality is more important than quantity.
Bad technique can lead to injury, so engage the core, keep the body strong and move with a purpose.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.