Want a bigger chest? Get dipping!
In this video, legend Jeff Cavaliere shows us how he sometimes trains using the cabinets in his bathroom to perform dips.
This is something he glosses over somewhat but actually it’s a great point: dips are something you can do anywhere and they’re one of the most difficult and intensive bodyweight exercises out there. For building big pecs and boulder shoulders these are actually far superior to press ups because they let you add a lot more resistance.
If you’re in a hotel, or if you have no equipment at home, dips are probably something you can still do.
(Pro tip: try pushing two chairs or beds together!)
How to do Dips Right
But if you’re not doing dips right then all this convenience isn’t going to help you. And what may come as a surprise is that a lot of people actually aren’t doing dips right. These exercises aren’t as simple as they at first may seem!
To get dips right, you first need to think about how you angle your weight. If it’s your pecs you’re working, then you need to lean forward slightly which will place more of the weight on there. If you’re training your shoulders or your triceps however, then you should lean back slightly more or keep your body straight.
But this isn’t the most common mistake!
Worse and more common is that people will perform dips with their shoulders in a shrug position. This is something that can come naturally if you aren’t aware of the problem but it places unnecessarily stress on the shoulders and takes some of the resistance away from the pecs.
To get this right then, you need to set your shoulders and to keep your shoulder blades depressed. At the same time, try to keep your traps from rising up and when you lower your body down, consciously try to prevent your shoulders from shrugging.
At the same time as all this, you should also focus on just trying to feel the pecs working through the movement. This is a tip that can help with any exercise and it will not only strengthen that muscle but also your ‘mind-muscle connection’ which will result in stronger contractions in future.
Take the movement slowly and try to avoid letting yourself ‘bounce’ up and down. You can even introduce a kind of ‘rest pause’ technique in order to increase the difficulty.
Of course there are plenty of variations you can do with the dips too. One of my favourites is to let the legs gently touch the floor to help you through the exercises. What this allows you to do is to perform a drop set – now you can perform as many dips as you can to failure and once you can’t do any more, you start using your feet to make it a little easier. You can then let your feet help you more and more until eventually you’re doing squats!