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One Of The Most Powerful Chest Exercises For Men

by Garry Davidson

One Of The Most Powerful Chest Exercises For Men

The best chest exercises for MEN focus on growing chest muscle as quickly and efficiently as possible and at the same time, widening the chest to give you that unstoppable masculine look.

When it comes to burning chest fat and losing man boobs, while at the same time, growing muscle and sculpting an unstoppable masculine chest, this one exercise is perhaps the best I’ve ever known. It’s far better than bench presses, pushups, cable crossovers, dumbbell flys and the like.

I was first convinced about using this exercise when I learned about a guy called Vince Gironda. Now let me tell you a little about Vince. Vince was a bodybuilding legend who was known as the ‘Iron Guru’, and known for getting his clients big and ripped in record time.

For 50 years, he trained more champion physique competitors than anyone in the business. He trained some of the most famous bodybuilders, as well as some of the world’s best actors and actresses. He was also known to get great results with regular joes like you and me.

Vince was the “go-to” guy for absolutely anyone who wanted to get into shape. Now you could argue that there were and are plenty of other guys around who know a lot about training, but Vince was different.

Back in the day, Vince came up with a lot of weird and controversial ideas about exercise and nutrition, a lot of people thought he was crazy and avoided taking his advice, or even going to his gym. But what we’re finding now, is that new scientific research is showing us that Vince was right all along!

One of Vince’s most controversial ideas was that the bench press is a poor exercise for the chest. In fact, he threw out all the benches in his gym and replaced them with dipping stations. Vince believed that when it comes to developing the chest, the chest dip is a far superior exercise to the bench press, and guess what? Electromyogram (EMG) studies today, reveal that he was right!

Chest Dips

If you could do just one chest exercise to carve out a set of pecs that you see on the statue of a Greek god, the Hulk or a mythological beast, it would be chest dips. Not the bench press, not pushups, and certainly not dumbbell flys.

Chest dips work the entire upper body, and really give you that hormonal boost you need to grow muscle, tone your chest and lose those man boobs. They work your arms, your shoulders, your chest and your upper back.

Chest Exercises For Men

Chest dips are a powerful exercise for building a muscular chest. They also work your entire upper body including your back, arms and shoulders.

When it comes to both performance and sculpting your body through muscle-growth and hormonal stimulation, bodyweight exercises always come on top. This is largely because unlike weight-training, which tends to isolate one particular body-part, bodyweight exercises require you to stabilize your entire body as it moves through space.

When you use your core stabilizers and other muscles throughout your body, not only do you get a bigger hormonal boost from the workout, you also lose more fat, gain a more even distribution of muscle throughout the body, which means better posture, less injuries and a better more attractive appearance.

Since most guys rely almost completely on the bench press for building chest muscle, let’s discuss…

Why Dips Are FAR Better Than The Bench Press For Building A Hurculean Chest

Disadvantages Of The Bench Press

1. A Poor Exercise For The Chest

Now don’t get me wrong, many bodybuilders DO use the bench press to build some huge muscles. But did you ever stop to think how many people fail with the bench press? Almost every guy that goes to the gym spends time on the bench press – but how many of these guys end up getting a huge, wide, stone-slab-like chest that gets women weak at the knees?

See, the trouble with the bench press is that it is more an exercise for the front deltoids of your shoulders, than it is an exercise for the chest. EMG studies reveal that the front deltoids receive the same stimulation as the pectoralis major of the chest during the flat bench press.

The front deltoids are very small in comparison to the pectoralis major muscle of the chest.

Since the front deltoids are a very small muscle compared to the huge pectoralis major of the chest, it stands to reason that during the bench press the deltoids of your shoulders will fatigue way before your chest even starts to get a proper workout. As a result you will end your workout before fully involving your chest.

2. The Most Common Cause Of Shoulder Injuries In The Gym

Due to the rising popularity of the bench press, rotator cuff surgery is at an all time high.

The bench press places too much strain on the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders, and very commonly leads to injury, damage and wear & tear of the rotator cuff over time.

For this reason, the bench press is widely reported as being the most common cause of shoulder injuries in the gym.

3. Kills Shoulder Flexibility, Leading To More Injuries

The bench press kills shoulder flexibility. The massive strain on your shoulders from this exercise makes your rotator cuff muscles tighter and tighter over time. The first sign of this is when you start to find it difficult to reach behind your back as if to do up a bra (not that I have ever tried one on, but you know what I mean ;) ).

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t having big muscles that makes you inflexible, but rather, incorrect training. If you have read ‘Stretching Scientifically’ by Thomas Kurz, you’ll know that big muscles actually make you MORE flexible.

4. Torn Pecs (Pectoralis Major Rupture)

Yet another common injury with the bench press. Here’s a video of a guy tearing his left pec during a set of bench presses. Warning: this video is NOT for the faint hearted.

Watch as this guy tears his left pec with the bench press… Youuch!

With this injury, the tendon that attaches your pectoralis major muscle to your upper arm bone, is torn right off the bone. It can be extremely painful and in most cases requires surgical repair. It will take many months before you are lifting anything again.

Advantages Of Dips For Developing The Chest

1. Faster And Better Development Of The Chest

When doing dips, you are moving your arms in a downward motion. This downward motion ensures that you bypass the shoulders and isolate the chest muscles far better than any other compound exercise for the chest. Although your shoulders are still involved to a large extent and get an excellent workout, they are not as engaged and overloaded as they are during the bench press.

Studies have shown that the deltoids are much less involved during the decline bench press, compared to the horizontal bench press. Since chest dips are a bodyweight variation of the decline bench press, this means that more focus is placed on the chest than on the shoulders while doing dips compared to the bench press.

Wide Chest

Chest dips give you wider chest development than the bench press.

2. Wider Chest Development

I’ve seen guys with 6-pack abs who look like scrawny wimps when they have a shirt on. The key to looking like an unstoppable alpha-male is to work on widening that upper body, namely your chest and upper back.

Chest dips performed with a wide grip and the elbows flared to the sides, target the outer chest better than pushups, bench presses, or any other exercise for that matter. In doing so, they give you that huge, wide chest that resembles a set of stone slabs set on your chest sideways.

This is yet another reason why chest dips are one of the most powerful chest exercises you can do.

3. Increased Shoulder Flexibility

At the bottom of the movement your shoulder muscles are both strengthened and stretched, giving you improved flexibility.

Do be careful however, since if you already have inflexible and/or weak shoulders, you can still suffer shoulder injuries while doing dips, especially with weighted dips. The key is to only go as low as you feel comfortable. Over time, your shoulders will get stronger and you’ll be able to descend write the way down, thereby fully stretching those pecs.

4. Dips Are Functional – They Give You Strength That You Can Use

Dips require you to lift and move your entire body through space. You need to keep your body tight so you maintain your posture, and as a result you not only involve your chest, upper back, shoulders and arms, but also your legs, abdomen and lower back. It is a true whole-body workout that trains your body to function as a unit as opposed to targeting individual sections of the body.

By working your entire body in this way, dips will help you to lose weight, look better and build strength all round. They will help make you a better athlete, better able to handle yourself in a fight, better able to manage your body weight, and even help you bench more.

5. Hormonal Stimulation – Better For Weight Loss And Man Boob Reduction

Because dips engage your entire body, they result in a greater release of testosterone and growth hormone both during and after the workout. Increased levels of these hormones help to reduce man boobs, burn fat and pack on extra muscle.

How To Do Chest Dips

Dips can be modified to focus on the triceps, upper back or chest. Here I will tell you how to do chest dips.

Place your hands on two parallel bars on either side of you. If you don’t have access to parallel bars, you can also use two tables, or the top of the back-rests of two chairs facing away from each other. If you are using the chair option, it helps to wear a set of garden gloves to take the pressure off your hands.

1. Prop yourself up with your arms straight and your elbows locked out.
2. Bend your knees so your feet are behind you. This helps to balance your weight as you lean forward. Leaning forward is necessary to target the chest.

Chest Dips Upper

3. Bending at the elbows, lower your body in a slow and controlled fashion, without ever touching your feet or knees to the ground. Breath in while doing this.
4. Stop when your shoulders are level with your elbows, then while breathing out, slowly raise yourself back up to the starting position.
5. Repeat steps 3-4, always making sure to maintain good posture and a forward-leaning position.

Chest Dips Lower

In case that ain’t clear enough, check out the following video:

Incorporating Dips Into Your Training

Changing The Resistance

The only real problem with bodyweight exercises is unlike with weights it isn’t easy to change the level of resistance. But not being easy doesn’t mean it’s impossible. All you need is a little creativity and you can change the resistance all you like.

If you’re not accustomed to training, or you are a little on the heavy side, you may find it difficult to perform even one repetition of dips. If this is the case with you, then all is not lost since there are many things you can do to work around the problem. This includes getting someone to help you, letting your feet touch the ground and aiding the lift with your legs, doing static holds at the top position or doing partial reps and negative reps to condition yourself until you are strong enough to do full reps.

If you find dips to be too easy, you can do weighted dips by wearing a backpack and throwing some weight plates into it, or using a weight belt with weights hanging off it, holding a weight plate between your knees, or getting your buddy to jump on your back.

Combining Dips With Other Exercises

If you just did dips and nothing else, your chest and upper body would look phenomenal. You will however get better results if you combine dips with other exercises that target different portions of your chest – like incline and decline pushups and, in the gym, cable crossovers and the pec dec.

If you are working on your chest, it’s also important to work on your upper back for good posture, symmetry and that wider look.

In order to get that truly wide, masculine and unstoppable upper body physique, it’s important also to do upper back exercises like bent-over rows, pullups and lat pulldowns.

If you only worked out your chest, your shoulders would be pulled forward in a hunched position. If on the other hand you work out your chest and upper back equally, your shoulders will be in a neutral position in the middle and to the sides, giving you a wider appearance.

It is also important to throw some whole-body training and leg training into the mix, to help get rid of those overlying layers of fat.

Dips may be a good exercise for building muscle and burning fat, but it is well known that nothing gets rid of excess fat than whole-body training and a good diet.

I go into detail about all the intricacies of perfect chest development in the Chest Sculpting Blueprint.

“Won’t Dips Make Your Man Boobs Stick Out?”

I’m yet to see this happen. It is theoretically possible that in a minority of guys, dips will stimulate more of the lower chest than the upper chest. However, EMG studies have shown that, surprisingly enough, the decline bench press stimulates the upper portion of the pectoralis major muscle, better than it does the lower.

I’m willing to bet that dips (again, dips being like an extreme decline bench press) stimulate the upper chest just as well as the lower, since all of my clients who only do dips, end up getting perfectly even chest development.

But hey, EMG studies also show that the incline bench press does isolate the upper chest more, so if you are for whatever reason, afraid that your lower chest will get bigger and your man boobs will stick out if you do dips, then you can always do both dips and incline presses to even things out. Better yet, you can watch this video on how to lose man boobs, and I’ll show you what to do to get that perfect chest, without having to worry about man boobs or too much lower chest development.

Summary

Dips are a powerful exercise that target the entire upper body. They are arguably the fastest way to build a wide muscular chest, while at the same time making you stronger, increasing your core strength, and helping you to lose chest fat.

Not only are dips more effective than the bench press at working out the muscles of the chest, they are also safer, work out more muscle groups (effectively the whole upper body) and – by targeting the outer pecs – give your upper body a much wider and more powerful appearance. For these reasons, dips are easily one of the most powerful chest exercises for men.

However, guys who have seen this video on how to lose man boobs, have come to realize that dips are only one piece of the puzzle. If you are looking to build the perfect chest – whether by losing chest fat, or growing chest muscle, then you need to combine dips with other key exercises and a powerful dietary strategy that’s geared toward muscle growth and fat loss in the chest area. You can discover these unusual secrets in the following video:

Click here to watch my unique video on how to lose man boobs naturally



{ 194 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben February 11, 2015 at 11:31 am

gary. i am following your workout routine. but i cannot do the conventional dead lifts. i can only do the sumo dead lifts. is that ok? will that affect my workout?

Reply

Garry Davidson February 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

Hey Ben. If you can’t do conventional deadlifts, then the sumo deadlift is a good alternative.

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Ben February 13, 2015 at 9:11 am

gary you are awesome! thank you for the fast response. i was 210 to 190 pounds. when i was at 190 i couldn’t seem to go down anymore. but after buying your how to lose your man boobs naturally and following your guild line i managed to come down to 170 pounds within a month or 2. im still a little chubby. i can still go down in weight easily but i don’t know if i should lose anymore weight. i feel too skinny. should i lose more weight? or should i stay at the same weight and turn that into muscle? is that possible? btw my nipples are still a little big but they never pop in anymore. always sticking out. which is good. never been like that permanently like now.

Reply

Garry Davidson February 14, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Hey Ben, great to hear about your results. If anyone else is reading this, you can learn more about How To Lose Man Boobs Naturally here:

http://chestsculpting.com/how-to-lose-man-boobs-naturally

It’s up to you if you want to lose any more weight, it all depends on the kind of appearance you want. Try not to focus too much on your weight, it’s better to focus on percentage body fat. If you are growing muscle while losing fat, your weight will not change. Losing weight could mean losing muscle tissue, and that’s certainly not something you want.

Also, you cant turn fat into muscle. You have to burn the fat and grow the muscle from beneath.

Reply

James February 13, 2015 at 2:50 am

Hi Garry, thanks for the ideas. Yeah, dips are great, but unfortunately most people do bench dips and hurt their wrists.

I have one question, Garry. Let’s say I only want to do bodyweight exercises – what would you recommend for back muscles if one can’t do rows or pullups?

For chest, there are so many options like pushups and the best option in chest dips, as you say. But for back, there seems to be little choice. Also the same problem with shoulders….will dips work shoulders or is separate shoulder work required?

I am currently doign only bodyweight, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on how to work the back and shoulder with bodyweight movements. Thanks again, Garry.

Reply

Garry Davidson February 14, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Hi James I could write a full course on this, there are so many different ways to go about it. You’re right that it’s difficult to work shoulders and back using bodyweight exercises alone, but it’s not impossible. The ideal exercises you eventually want to be doing are handstand pushups, chinups and pullups. If you can’t do these exercises to begin with, it’s a matter of finding the best way to increase your strength to the point where you CAN do these exercises.

One approach is to start using weights, to use progressive resistance to build up your strength until you are able to lift your bodyweight in the shoulder press, and able to pull down your bodyweight on the lat pulldown machine. However, this approach can take forever. A better method is to start with partial reps on the exercise you want to get good at.

With pullups for example, if you can’t do a single pullup, you start by doing partial pullups at the top position, lowering yourself only by say an inch or two before pulling yourself back up again. Over time, you increase the range of motion by an inch, until you are doing full reps.

If you can already do one rep, then another option is to do one rep as often as you can throughout the day. Over time, you’ll find you can do 2 reps, then 3, and so on.

With handstand pushups, just start by learning how to do a handstand against a wall. Try to hold a handstand for 30 seconds. Then you might consider learning how to balance without supporting yourself against the wall. After that you might learn how to walk on your hands – just spend lots of time putting your full bodyweight through your arms and shoulders in the handstand position. Then you can start descending by an inch on a handstand pushup, and gradually increase how far you descend.

Before you know it, you’ll be doing multiple full reps on all these exercises, and working your shoulders and back better than anything weights can do for you.

Reply

karan kundra February 15, 2015 at 8:10 am

Hi Garry
thanks for the ideas
i have 3 questions if u dont mind
1)i usually train in the 8-10 rep range(3 sets) for most of the exercises
however when i do dips in th 6-12 rep range i find that my chest doesnt grow. however when i do 3 sets of weighted dips in the 3-5 rep range i find i get a much better workout in terms of chest
is this a good rep range for chest or do i need more volume for hormonal boost?
2)with compound exercises like dips and pullups i find my biceps and triceps arent getting a full workout and they are not growing compared to my chest and back. are body drag curl and overhead dumbell triceps extensions good exercises for the arms. if not what would u recommend.
3) and how many grams of protein do u roughly recommend on a high fat ketogenic diet
Garry if u can answer these question ASAP it would do me a whole world of goodthanks man

Reply

Garry Davidson February 19, 2015 at 10:06 am

Hi Karan :)

1) Excellent observation! The chest, triceps and hamstrings are excellent muscle groups to experiment training with in the low repetition range, or explosively. These muscles are designed for strength and explosive movements. They contain more fast-twitch muscle fibers, which respond better to heavy weights and explosive movements.

On the other hand, muscles of the back, biceps and quadriceps are postural muscles that are designed for long-term low-level activation. They contain more slow-twitch muscle fibers, and hence respond better to higher reps with lighter weights.

When you eat chicken, you’ll notice that chicken breast is whiter in color and contains less fat. Chicken back and leg meat on the other hand, contains darker meat that contains more fat. This is because fast twitch muscle fibers in the chest have less blood supply (since they work mostly anaerobically – don’t need as much oxygen supplied by blood) and use predominantly glycogen for fuel, while slow twitch muscle fibers in the legs contain a rich blood supply (since they work mostly aerobically – they need oxygen to work, and oxygen is supplied by blood), and use predominantly fat for fuel.

2) Yes, studies show that isolation exercises of the biceps and triceps work these muscles better than compound exercises. So if you find compound exercises aren’t enough (they usually are unless you are looking to compete professionally as a bodybuilder), then adding in exercises like the biceps body drag curl and triceps extensions is a good idea.

3) How much protein you take depends on your level of activity, and there’s no one set-in-stone number that’s best for everyone. It’s also perfectly OK to vary your protein intake from day to day or week to week. Different studies show different things, but generally, if you are training regularly, then anywhere from 1-2 g protein/lb bodyweight should be fine.

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Aaron February 16, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Hey Garry, a question about dips but it may apply to other exercises also. It is about doing ultra slow, controlled movements. Some ppl say it has value, is this so?

For instance, if I do 10 dips with normal motion – not too fast, not too slow – I may only be able to do 5 reps if I do it extremely slowly. They say this is better and almost as good as doing weighted since in both cases the muscles have to work extra hard to get each rep done. Is this true?

Reply

Garry Davidson February 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Hi Aaron

It IS true to an extent. They say that the value in resistance training comes from time under tension. So if you did 2 quick reps in 2 seconds (1 second per rep), it would be the same as doing one slow rep at 2 seconds per rep. I’ve used this method to great effect, but the only problem is it can be very difficult to progress with this method.

Since every rep is so difficult, it can be very difficult to add weight and use progressive loading. Sometimes you find you have to use explosive or slightly faster movements to help you break a plateau. If you are doing ultra slow reps with 20kg, and you find you can’t lift any heavier, sometimes the best thing to do is to start lifting explosively. With explosive movements, you’ll find you can easily get to lifting 30 or even 40 kg. Then when you come back to doing ultra slow reps, you find lifting 20kg VERY easy, so you can start increasing the weight again.

Sometimes the science just doesn’t add up, and you’ve just gotta do what works.

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David February 18, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Hey garry,I really thank you for your lessons.however I would like to find out if the is one last
Alternative of growing a big chest apart from doing dips,push ups and using the bench press.
I ask this because I am currently using the bench press and I have also tried the dip but the seem
To hard.
David Kabayi

Reply

Garry Davidson February 18, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Hey David. After a certain point, you’ve gotta just stop looking for the secret sauce, and put in the hard work to see the results. Dips are tough for most people, but if you keep working at it, you’ll eventually be able to put in 3 sets of 10 reps with added weights, and you will see some amazing results!

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Solomon February 19, 2015 at 6:56 am

Hi Garry, valuable info but I suspect dips only work the lower chest/triceps. It doesn’t hit the upper chest, is this true?

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Garry Davidson February 19, 2015 at 9:52 am

Hi Solomon. Not at all! EMG studies that look at muscle activation, show that the decline bench press hits the upper chest just as much as the lower chest. The decline press also hits the upper chest just as much as the incline press.

That can be hard to believe for most, and you might then be asking, “so what’s the point then in doing incline presses at all?”

The difference between incline and decline presses, is that the the incline press ISOLATES the upper chest, as in it doesn’t hit the lower chest much.

You can look at dips as an extreme form of decline bench press. A lot of people complain about pain in their sternum when they first start doing dips. This is evidence enough that dips do hit your upper chest.

So I generally advise dips as a a good workout for the entire chest. If however, you are looking to specifically add extra mass to your upper chest, then you would benefit by adding in a specific upper chest exercise like the incline bench press or the dumbbell pullover.

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Solomon February 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Thanks, Garry, for explaining so well. You rock!

Another question, if you dont mind. I feel that my lats, back, rhomboids, even my traps, are getting worked…. but shouldn’t this be impossible for a pushing exercise like dips? They say only pulling exercise like pullups work the back etc., and pushing exercise like dips or pushups only work the chest and triceps. So how come I am feeling what I am feeling? Isn;t it a little odd? It’s like a guy doing bench press experiencing a lot of soreness in the lats…..

Reply

Garry Davidson February 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Hi Solomon. Since with dips, you are supporting your entire body weight, a lot of extra muscles will be at work, as compared to the bench press, or even pushups. Your back and shoulders though, work more as stabilizers, so though they do get a workout, you probably won’t get amazing back and shoulder development just from doing dips. It’s only in the beginning when you feel the pain in these extra muscles. Over time, they’ll be as strong as they need to be to provide their supporting role, and you’ll only feel the pain in your chest and triceps.

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Anwar February 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Hello Garry, nice article, first time I am seeing such indepth stuff about dips. Thank you. I am now able to do it with backpack. I currently do 3 sets of dips every other day. So basically 4 days a week, 12 sets per week, each set will be in the low rep range since I am going heavy with backpack.

So Garry, do u believe this volume (just 3 sets per workout), frequency (alternate days), intensity (train to failure), low rep range etc. are optimal for my chest development?

Thanks so much.

Reply

Garry Davidson February 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

Hi Anwar. Sounds great. Do consider occasionally changing it up so you target those higher rep ranges (8-12 reps). I’m not a big fan of training to failure though, but it does work for some people, so try both approaches and see how it goes.

Reply

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