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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



{ 221 comments… read them below or add one }

Guneet May 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

hi garry…
i m doing dips from last 4 or 5 weeks… its really awsme exercise for chest nd strenght but i want to knw the schedule of full chest workout.. so i can make corrections in my schedule.. will u please tell me what to do before or after the sets of dips …
Thanku

Reply

Garry Davidson May 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Guneet. You can learn more about schedules and workout routines here:

http://chestsculpting.com/unique-training-secrets/

Reply

Will May 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Dear Garry, you said pushing work like dips should be balanced by pulling work like pullups. Let’s say I am not lean enough/strong enough to do actual pullups. You suggested we do negatives to build up strength.

Reg. this some ppl say doing a few slow negatives would be better than doing more negatives at a moderate pace. For instance, just 5 reps of 10 seconds would be better for strength gain than 10 reps of 5 seconds even though the total time is the same, that is 50 seconds.

Is there any truth to this, Garry? My goal is to eventually do a real pullup. I know negatives help, but do I do fast negatives for many reps or slow negatives for fewer reps? Which would actually help me gain strength and do a real pullup later on?

Thanks again, Garry. Wonderful site/information on fitness.

Reply

Garry Davidson May 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Hi Will

They say it’s not the number of reps you do that is important, but it’s time under tension. Supposedly, if you do 10 quick reps and your time under tension is 10 seconds, VS 5 slow reps and your time under tension is still 10 seconds, then the results you will get will be more or less the same. There is some truth to this, but it’s not entirely true. Fast reps work the muscle differently from slow reps. Both types of training work, and it’s not accurate to say one is better than the other. There just isn’t enough scientific info out there to suggest one form of training (i.e. slow vs fast) is better than another.

Slow is theoretically better if you are looking to achieve muscle hypertrophy, but with slow reps it is more difficult to use progressive resistance. So I’d say do what works best for you.

With negative reps however, slow is most definitely better than fast, because the faster you go, the more you are letting gravity do the work FOR you.

In order to help you break into doing pullups, another method you can use is doing partial reps.

Reply

Will May 11, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Hi Garry, thanks for the informative reply. A few doubts, if u dont mind. Would u consider 5 seconds (meaning taking 5 seconds to descend from the bar) a slow negative? Or by slow u mean 15 seconds or in that area? Because when I take only 5 seconds, I can do three sets of 5. But when I take more than 10 seconds, my arms get tired after just a few reps. But the good thing is, when I take 10 seconds or more, despite the fewer reps the soreness factor is high.

That’s why I am really confused, Garry. My aim is not hypertrophy, my aim is to be able to do a real pullup. But as you said, slow negatives may lead to hypertrophy, which may indirectly help me do real pullups (with the strength I acquire from slow negatives). So it’s really confusing as to how to proceed.

Do I build strength using super slow negatives and then use that strength to do a real pullup later on? Or do I do somewhat fast negatives to increase my sets/reps?

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Garry Davidson May 12, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Hi Will. 3-5 seconds is fine, no need to go longer. Try doing partial reps too, and spending some time just hanging off the bar. You’ll get there eventually.

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Will May 13, 2015 at 4:06 am

Hi Garry, thanks again. Could u pls tell me if partials are performed from bottom position (dead hang) to midrange, or from midrange to top of bar? Both of them are partials – right? – do I perform both?

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Garry Davidson May 13, 2015 at 6:28 am

Hey Will. Best to do partials in the fully contracted state, so with pullups it would be at the top position with your arms fully bent. Start by descending by a couple of inches. Do at least 3 sets of 3 reps and work up to more, say 3 sets of 10 reps. Then increase your descent by an inch or two.

With dips, the fully contracted position would be at the top of the movement with your arms straight.

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moorthy June 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Dear Garry last year when I came across ur wonderful portal I couldn’t even do one dip. Today I can do 8 reps with 25 pounds backpack. My question is, I want to keep the reps in the 4-8 range so that eventually I could do 8 reps with 50 pounds backpack. U think thats a good plan? I am assuming by the time I reach 8 reps for 50 pounds my chest would be massive. Is my logic right?

Reply

Garry Davidson June 21, 2015 at 10:53 am

Hi Moorthy

Wow, that’s some amazing progress! I still remember the days I couldn’t do a single dip. Isn’t it an empowering feeling when you’re standing by that dipping station, and know you can do them now? To me, it’s a great feeling knowing I can handle my body weight.

Since the muscles of the chest are largely comprised of fast-twitch muscle fibers, sticking in the 4-8 rep range isn’t such a bad idea. You will likely see some great development if you can get to that weight, but you can also get great chest development just by doing bodyweight dips with higher reps.

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moorthy June 22, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Thanks so much Garry, it is bcus of ur phenomenal post that I even knew about chest dips. And also it was ur idea of microloading that prompted me to add weight instead of reps. Thats how I added about 15 reps to my dips eventually. Also u had mentioned before that chest is fast twitch and does well at low reps and more weight. Thats also another reason why I started adding weight instead of reps.

But u say even higher reps work? Could u pls explain bcus weight trainers always say lift heavy so I assumed it applied to bodyweight movements as well. I right away assumed that even low reps like 4 reps is better than 10 (provided the 4reps r done with somewaht heavy weight).

Pls clarify sir. Thanks again.

Reply

Garry Davidson June 22, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Hi Moorthy, glad to hear you’ve benefited from my article. If anyone else is reading this and would like to know how to use microloading to increase their lifts, so they can start adding muscle to their frame and burning off the fat, then check out my program, the Chest Sculpting Blueprint.

To a certain extent, both higher reps and lower reps work when it comes to muscle hypertrophy. Generally, the 8-12 rep range works well for hypertrophy, but then again it depends on the muscle group. The chest, which contains predominantly fast-twitch muscle fibers, can still respond well to say the 4-7 rep range. It also depends on the individual, with some people’s chests responding better to the 8 rep-range, and others responding better to the 5 rep range.

The weight trainers who just tell you to “lift heavy”, don’t know what they’re talking about. If it was just about lifting heavy, then powerlifters would have bigger muscles than bodybuilders.

The fact that professional cyclists have big legs, is testament to the fact that high rep work does result in gains. High rep work generally works better for muscle groups with predominantly slow-twitch muscle fibers, like the quadriceps, biceps, and back muscles.

For the chest, whether low reps or high reps works better for you, is something you’ll have to figure out for yourself. Generally though, with whatever muscle group, if you are looking purely for muscle hypertrophy, then I would advise sticking to the 8-12 rep range.

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moorthy June 28, 2015 at 6:07 am

Hi Garry thanks again. I was now just able to do 8 reps with 33 pounds instead of my previous best of 25 pounds. It is a wonderful feeling thanks so much for introducing this amazing exercise. I also hope u can write an article on db shoulder press whether heavy weights or light weights r better. I have added that to my workout so currently I can only use light weights. Diff. Ppl say conflicting stuff reg this exercise – that light weight is better with more reps since the medial delts cant handle too heavy a weight. Others say the opposite. Hope u can clarify.

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Garry Davidson June 28, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Hi Moorthy.

The dumbbell shoulder press isn’t a good exercise for targeting the medial delts. Because of the rotational position of your shoulder joint during this exercise, you end up predominantly training your anterior delts. The best exercise for targeting your medial delts, is the Gironda Lateral Raise:

http://chestsculpting.com/gironda-lateral-raise/

The reason boxers tend to have big shoulders, is because when they box, they hold their shoulders in the same rotational position as when you do the Gironda Lateral Raise.

The medial delts are predominantly comprised of slow-twitch fibers, which mean they respond better to higher volume training, so I’d suggest you stick to 10-12 reps, going up as high as 15 reps per set.

However, as I discuss in the Advanced Chest Sculpting Series, it can be difficult to use progressive resistance with higher volume sets, so I advise you occasionally switch to lifting heavy, to help prevent reaching plateaus.

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Moorthy June 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Hi Garry, I get the logic behind it. But dont most people believe shoulder press is a must since it’s compound and targets multiple muscles? Am I to add this to gironda press (since I am assuming gironda press is iso and targets only the medial delts)?

Reply

Garry Davidson June 29, 2015 at 2:23 pm

Hi Moorthy

For the shoulders you can make an exception, because you are already targeting the triceps with a compound chest exercise. There’s little point in doing chest+triceps with dips, followed by shoulders+triceps with the shoulder press. This way you end up overtraining the triceps, and if you are doing shoulder press after dips, then you will limit your shoulder development because your triceps will be fatigued by the time you get to the shoulder press.

You are right to say that the Gironda lateral raise is an isolation exercise. It’s good for targeting the medial delts. I personally no longer do this exercise, because I prefer doing functional workouts. I find doing handstand pushups gives me all the development I need for my shoulders. In the end, which exercise you choose is up to you, and it depends on what you want to achieve.

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adam July 1, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Currently have been doing parallel bar dips for 2 weeks using 45 pounds for a few sets of 8 reps then have to reduce weight to 35 and down to 25 pounds. Upping the weight today hoping to get up to 75 to 85 pounds fairly soon. I’m five feet seven inches and 143 pounds and I can see some strength changes already so its nice thanks for the article.

Reply

Garry Davidson July 1, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Nice one Adam, keep up the good work!

Reply

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