Dips are a fantastic bodyweight exercise that work the chest, triceps, shoulders, and core. Not only are they effective in building strength, but they also add shape and definition to the chest muscles.
Dips are one of our favorite exercises to do at home because they're fast and effective. You can knock out a set of dips in the morning before work, while watching TV at night, or right before bed. Although a set of dip bars help, there is no expensive gym equipment needed.
In this article, we will discuss the 8 best dip alternatives that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Table of Contents
Muscles Used in Dip Exercises
There are four major muscles involved when it comes to dips: your triceps brachii, pectoralis major, trapezius, and the serratus anterior.
The triceps brachii is a group of three muscles that make up your triceps. The triceps brachii is considered one of the most important muscles in your upper body and is responsible for extending and straightening your arm.
The Pectoralis major (or pec) is a thick, fan-shaped muscle that extends from the sternum down to the upper region of the arm. It is the primary muscle involved in chest exercises.
The trapezius muscle is a large diamond-shaped muscle covering the top and sides of your shoulders and the base of your neck. The trapezius is a highly active muscle that plays a role in almost every movement of your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
The serratus anterior is a muscle that runs along the side of your rib cage and over your shoulder blade. The purpose of the serratus anterior is to help pull your shoulders back and down and rotate your shoulders forward and inward.
8 Best Dip Alternatives (& How To Do Them)
Check out some of our favorite dip alternatives below:
1. Single arm resistance band extensions
The single arm resistance band extension is a fantastic exercise that can be done at home or the gym. It's a great way to build upper-body strength and tone your triceps. It's a challenging move to do, so it's recommended that you start with light resistance.
Start by standing on one end of the resistance band, grabbing the other end in your hand. Now, slowly lift your arm up and away from your body and hold it there for a second, making sure to keep your arm extended.
Lower your arm in a controlled motion before repeating.
2. Dumbbell tricep kickbacks
Dumbbell tricep kickbacks are an excellent exercise for working your triceps. Start with a dumbbell in each hand. Bending at the waist, hold the dumbbells at your sides with your palms facing your body and your elbows bent. Slowly straighten your arms and lift the dumbbells so that your arms are straight out behind you.
Return your arms to their starting position before repeating for 8-10 reps.
3. Decline dumbbell Bench Press
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press is a variation of the dumbbell bench press that targets the upper part of the chest. Unlike the standard bench press, you perform this exercise lying on a decline bench.
After laying down, hold the dumbbells straight out in front of you, above your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Then, push the weights back up until the dumbbells are back in their starting position.
4. Diamond Push Ups
We’re big fans of the diamond push up for its benefits and for building a strong chest. But a word of warning, this is a challenging exercise.
Start by getting in a normal push up position. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and position your body in a straight line from your head through to your ankles.
Lower yourself down to the floor, trying to keep a tight core.
5. Cable machine Tricep pushdown
The cable machine tricep pushdown is an effective tricep isolation exercise that works the triceps directly with no help from the biceps.
To do a cable machine tricep pushdown, secure the cable at the top of a cable machine and stand in a staggered stance with your right foot forward and left foot back. Grasp the handle with your left hand and extend your arm directly in front of you. Press down on the handle until your arm is straight and then release in a controlled motion.
6. Dumbbell Hex Press
The Dumbbell Hex Press is one of the best exercises for your upper back because it engages your shoulder blades, often neglected in the gym. The Hex Press also requires a ton of core stability to keep your back flat on the bench as you perform the exercise.
Take two Hex dumbbells and start with them pressed together (palms inwards). Lie on a flat bench with the dumbbells pressed together. Press them out to full extension and hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. You can perform this exercise on an incline bench for added difficulty.
7. Ring or straps chest press
Using suspension cables instead of weight, a TRX or suspension trainer is another reliable way to get in a set of dips.
With the straps secure, grab a ring in each hand and lean forward until you are at a 40 degree angle with the floor. Bending your elbows, lower yourself until your chest is in line with the rings before pushing back up.
8. Standing dumbbell chest fly
The chest fly is a popular exercise on a cable machine, but it can also be performed using a set of dumbbells.
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells down at your sides. Keeping your upper arms against your sides, raise the weights out in front of you until they're at shoulder level and your elbows are slightly bent.
How to Do Dips at Home (Without Equipment)
Dips are one of the best exercises you can do to build up your triceps and shoulders and can be done anywhere at any time. If you don't have access to a gym, don't worry; you can easily do dips at home or on your travels with just your body weight.
Triceps Chair Dips
To perform, sit on the edge of a chair, placing your hands on the front of the seat. Straighten your arms and lift your body off the chair. Slowly lower your body down until your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle and your elbows are parallel to the floor.
Repeat for desired reps.
Two Chair Dip
A two-chair dip is an exercise that targets your triceps, shoulders, and chest.
Set up two same-height chairs shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the back of the chairs, making sure your forearms are parallel with the ground. Your torso should be straight, and your back should be flat.
Supporting yourself with your arms, raise your legs off the ground. Slowly lower yourself until your elbows are around 90 degrees before pushing yourself back up to the starting position.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Are dips better than push-ups?
There's no definitive answer to this, but there are some compelling arguments for both push-ups and dips. Both exercises are great for targeting your triceps and the back of your arms. While push-ups work your triceps more than dips, dips work your chest and back muscles to a greater extent.
How many bench dips should I do a day?
Everyone's body responds differently to exercise, and it's important to listen to your body and do what's right for you. If you are entirely new to training, we recommend starting with just 2-3 sets of 10 reps. If you're more experienced, aim for 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps.
Do dips build mass?
No. Dips are not a mass-building exercise. They are a great exercise to build strength and endurance in the triceps, but they will not help you build mass.
How many dips can an average man do?
According to Strengthlevel.com, elite male athletes can perform almost 50 dips per set. However, when comparing yourself to others is easy to become demotivated.
Instead, focus on your goals and making small improvements on a daily basis.
How many dips in a row should you aim for?
The ideal number of reps of dips that you should aim for depends on your fitness goals. If you want to build bigger, stronger pecs, then the ideal number of reps will be higher than if you're looking to build a lean, athletic physique.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing a minimum of two sets of 8 - 12 repetitions for each exercise, so aim for at least 8 reps. And if you can do more, that's even better.
Are wide grip dips bad for shoulders?
Wide grip dips can cause issues in the shoulder joint. Wide grip dips place a lot of pressure on the biceps tendon, located on the front of the shoulder. This can lead to irritation and pain in the front of the shoulder if overworked.
However, wide grip dips aren't bad for your shoulders if you perform them correctly, in moderation, and as part of a more extensive exercise routine.
You don't need to be able to afford a gym membership to stay in shape, and dips are genuinely an exercise you can do anywhere with little to no equipment – no more excuses!
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