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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 testosterone 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

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18 comments… read them below or add one

1 12 13 14

Mark July 12, 2016 at 7:36 pm

How can you do dips at home without expensive equipment?

Reply

Garry Davidson July 12, 2016 at 8:09 pm
Al June 23, 2016 at 4:56 am

Hi Garry, I have a question out of confusion/curiosity. I started out with 0 dips and 0 chinups. After a year I can do 4 dips with additional 20 kg (probably more than 20 dips with bodyweight only). But in chins even after a year I can only 5 or 6 bodyweight reps.

I am baffled as to how my dipping sterngth has increased so well in the past year, whereas my pulling strength has remained low. Is it possible that some people are naturally stronger at pushing and so their pulling strength suffers? Any insights, Garry? I know I should keep working to improve my chinups, but I am just looking for a rational explanation as to why dips is becoming easier with time even though I started at 0 in both dips and chins.

Reply

Garry Davidson June 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

Good question Al!

The muscles you use while doing dips (mostly the pecs and triceps) have a high portion of fast-twitch muscle fibers. They are designed for strength.

The muscles you use while doing chinups (mostly your upper/mid back muscles and biceps) have a high portion of slow-twitch muscle fibers. They are designed for endurance.

Your bodyweight is a big weight, and since you start off not being able to do a single dip or chinup, or even if you could do just 10 dips or 10 chinups, you are relying mostly on strength. This is why you excel better at dips than you do at chinups when starting out.

Here’s are some tips on how you can improve your chinups:

Train twice a day, 6 days a week

Since you aren’t able to do many reps and are not highly trained in this exercise, you aren’t taxing your body much when you do chinups. At this stage, frequent stimulus works best.

Use microloading

If you can do 6 bodyweight chinups, then trying to do 7 bodyweight chinups means you’re trying to increase the workload by a huge 16.7%. That’s too much of an increase. You can try for weeks on end training to failure, clenching your jaw like crazy as you attempt that 7th rep, and you won’t be able to do it.

With microloading on the other hand, you get smaller more gradual progressions. Let’s say you weigh 175 lbs. If you do 3 sets of 3 reps with bodyweight chinups, you’re lifting a total of 175×9=1,575 lbs. If you add 2 lbs to your chinup (e.g. by using a dipping belt), you’re lifting a total of 177*9=1,593 lbs. That’s an increase of just 1.1%.

Every week, or as soon as you feel able, add another 2 pounds, and another, and another, until you are doing 3 sets of 3 chinups with, say, 12 pounds. Then try doing bodyweight chinups again and you’ll see how many more you can do!

Reply

Al June 24, 2016 at 6:51 am

Thanks so much, Garry, the microloading method seems like an innovative method. I will try it and see, hope it works.

What u said about fiber type also makes sense now. Another question… as I already told u, I can only do 6 bodyweight pullups but amazingly I can do one pullup with an additional 25 pounds!

Doesn’t this seem weird, the ratio of bodyweight pulups to weighted? Is fiber type the explanation for this unusual ratio as well? Is my bodytype more of a fast twitch one, is this why I can do less reps but more weight?

Reply

Garry Davidson June 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm

The answer here is less to do with fiber type and more to do with work done. If you weigh 175 pounds and do two bodyweight pullups, you’re doing more work and it’s more taxing on the body than if you do one pullup with 175+25=200 pounds. With the former you’re lifting 175 pounds twice, with the latter you’re lifting 200 pounds once.

Reply

william June 6, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Hi, i was always told to make a letter C with your body, so you lean forward, but instead of your legs being behind you, they are in front of you, thus making a letter C.

Reply

Garry Davidson June 7, 2016 at 10:38 am

Yes William, that can work too. Do whatever you can to get your torso to lean forward.

Reply

Germs March 29, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Hi, quick question. I’m just starting out lifting and the bench press really does hurt my shoulder. However I’m too weak to do bodyweight dips! Is it OK to do dips on the chin up/ dip assistance machine? Or would it be better to get two benches and do dips in between those two benches? What do you suggest I do so that I can eventually get strong enough to do proper weighted dips? Thanks for the help!

Reply

Garry Davidson April 9, 2016 at 2:47 pm

It can take forever to go from doing dips with a dip assistance machine to doing full bodyweight dips. Just like it takes forever to go from doing the shoulder press to doing handstand pushups.

In my opinion, the best way to get into doing full bodyweight dips, is to start by doing partial reps.

At first, see if you can hold yourself in the top position with your arms straight for 60 seconds.

Once you can do this, descend by just an inch or two. Do this for 3 sets of 10 reps.

As this gets easier, start descending more and more, until you’re doing fully dips through 3 sets of 10 reps.

I would advise placing an object of varying height beneath your feet to help gauge the extent of your descent. It doesn’t have to be exact. I started by placing a clothes basket under my knees, followed by a slightly lower dustbin, followed by a foot stool.

Reply

Al March 17, 2016 at 5:16 am

Thanks Garry. Do u mean close grip or slightly wider than shoulder? I don’t feel my chest that’s why I am asking. Also in dips I feel inner and upper chest ( contrary to popular opinion that dips only work lower and outer chest).

Reply

Garry Davidson March 18, 2016 at 8:35 am

Hey Al. Definitely wider than shoulder-width apart. Vince Gironda advised a hand-spacing of around 32 inches apart, though this would depend on the length of your arms.

If you don’t feel it in your chest, you need to lean forward more. Experiment with crossing your feet behind you as in the video above, or the feet in front of you approach that Vince Gironda recommended.

Yes, there is a lot of emphasis on the upper and inner chest too, as well as on the outer and lower chest. Dips target the entire chest better than any other single exercise.

Reply

Al March 21, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Thanks again Garry but I was asking about not feeling upper chest during Chin up. Is the upper chest being worked whether or not I feel it? Is it as good as dips for upper chest?

Reply

Garry Davidson March 21, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Yes, the muscle is worked even when you don’t feel it!

An excellent example is with the barbell back squat. Back in the day I thought this was only an exercise for the quadriceps muscles (on the front of your thighs), because that’s the only place I felt it burn. But to my surprise, my hamstrings were growing as well. I later discovered your hamstrings are involved in the movement of your hip during this exercise. You may not feel the hamstrings during the barbell back squat, but they sure as hell do grow!

You won’t feel the upper chest during the chinup, but your upper chest is being worked. The only problem here though, is that your mid/upper back is doing most of the work. If you really want to hit your upper chest hard, it’s best to isolate it with an exercise like the dumbbell pullover, or incline dumbbell press.

Reply

andy March 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm

Ive been doing weighted dips for a couple of weeks now. I do 4 sets of weighted dips. My reps go from 10, 8, 6, and 4, I find that doing this workout, it only last a good 7 minutes, and thats it. I am done with my weight dips workout. Am I doing something wrong here? Why is my workout so quick? Am I not understanding how many sets to do etc.?

Reply

Garry Davidson March 18, 2016 at 8:30 am

Hey Andy. Better to do the same number of reps per set. Use the first set as a warm-up set (use a lighter weight) to activate your nervous system and get the blood flowing. As long as you make sure you are doing those eccentric movements slowly, giving enough time to rest between sets, and using progressive resistance, then there should be no problem.

Remember that you shouldn’t JUST exercise your chest. You’ll get much better results if you train your other major body parts too.

You’ll get more detailed info in my resistance training program, the Chest Sculpting Blueprint:

http://chestsculpting.com/how-to-lose-chest-fat

Reply

Al March 3, 2016 at 4:36 am

Hi Garry is there any way to modify pullups so that it would work chest also? That way we would have one big exercise working entire upper body.

Reply

Garry Davidson March 14, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Hey Al

Chinups work your entire chest very well, especially your upper chest. They’re actually better for isolating your upper chest than the incline bench press.

Reply

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