Chest Dips – The Best Chest Exercise For Men?

Chest Dips – The Best Chest Exercise 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 manly chest, chest dips are perhaps the best I've ever known. They're far better than the bench press, pushups, cable crossovers, and dumbbell flys.

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!

Why Chest Dips Are The Best Chest Exercise For Men

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, and gain a more even distribution of muscle throughout the body, which means better posture, less injuries and a better more attractive appearance.

The testosterone boost you get from activating so many muscle groups, is one reason why chest dips are the most powerful chest exercise for men in particular.

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.

Deltoids vs. Pectoralis Major

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

Since the front deltoids in your shoulders are tiny compared to the huge pectoralis major muscle in your chest, during the bench press your shoulders will fatigue way before your chest even starts to get a proper workout.

So 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 puts massive strain on your shoulders, which 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.

Pec tear on bench press 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 the bodyweight version of an extreme decline bench press, this means that dips put more focus on the chest than on the shoulders compared to 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. In doing so, they give you that huge, wide chest that resembles a set of stone slabs set on your chest sideways.

Wide Chest

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

Developing a wide chest is yet another reason why chest dips are the best chest exercise for men.

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 The Right Way

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 back-rests of two chairs facing away from each other.

  • Prop yourself up with your arms straight and your elbows locked out.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • Stop when your shoulders are level with your elbows, then while breathing out, slowly raise yourself back up to the starting position.
  • 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:

Blast Away Chest Fat With Chest Dips

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.

Muscular Back

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.

“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.

How To Use Dips To Get Rid Of Man Boobs

Dips can help you build a powerful chest, but when it comes to losing man boobs, dips are just one piece of the puzzle.

Man boobs are caused by a hormonal imbalance--too much of the female hormone estrogen and too little of the male hormone testosterone.

Though dips help do boost testosterone levels, you'll see far better results if you combine dips with other powerful exercises as part of a whole body training system.

The following link will take you to a free video where I reveal some unusual methods you can use to get rid of your man boobs:

Click Here To Watch A Free Video On How To Lose Man Boobs Naturally

340 thoughts on “Chest Dips – The Best Chest Exercise For Men?”

  1. Wow!!! Information overload !!! I just recently bought your how to lose man boobs nnaturally book. Just started wdight training about 2 weeks ago. All this info has my head spinning. My question for you tho is how sore is to sore after a workout?? Man I’m pretty sore!! Is that a good sign that I’mworking hard or to hard ?

    • Hi Dave. When you first start training, you can get sore a lot. The soreness you get is called “delayed onset muscle soreness”, DOMS for short. You usually feel DOMS the next day, and it gets worse on the second day.

      DOMS can be so bad, that you can be sore for some 2 weeks or more after a single workout. DOMS going on for too long though, is not a good thing. To avoid DOMS, when you first start training (or when you re-start your training after a long break), start light (with a lighter weight, doing fewer reps/sets), and gradually increase the workload over time.

      How sore is too sore? If you are so sore that you have to miss your next workout, then that’s too sore :p

  2. Whoever I do chest exercises my boobs just get bigger, and then I look at my friends and then feel really depressed, isn’t there another way?

  3. Hi Garry, I’ve been doing weighted dips for a while now. But I will be moving to another country in a place where there aren’t much gym facilities or even the time (its a difficult job). So I will be forced to do only bodyweight dips at home.

    But doing 20 or 25 bodyweight dips is good only for endurance, right?- it can’t build muscle, so what would u suggest? In pushups we can change hand position to make the exercise difficult, but in dips adding weights seem to be the only way. But since that’s not an option for me, is there some other way?

    A friend of mine suggested doing pyramids – do 1 dip, rest, do 2 dips, rest, and reach 10, and then come back to 1 dip – so basically 100 dips in a very short time. Density training. He said since we accumulate lots of volume in less time, this will get the body to build muscle even though we only use bodyweight. Can u confirm if this is true? YOu seem knowledgeable and I can trust your judgment – I always assumed that only adding weights can build muscle and more reps would mean more endurance and no muscle or strength.

    • Hi Al

      High rep training CAN build muscle. If you look at cyclists, they tend to have big thighs despite doing purely endurance based training. But the pecs and triceps being comprised of predominantly fast twitch muscle fibers, won’t respond as well as your legs will to high volume training.

      Like with pushups, there are many ways you can increase the difficulty of dips without using weights. You could, for example, use a narrower hand spacing. You could also increase your forward lean, to the point where you are doing full bodyweight pushups rather than dips. These are VERY tough. Here’s how it looks:

      There’s also what I call “form-loading”, which I go into detail about in my program, the Chest Sculpting Blueprint. This is where you focus on improving your form and moving slower, instead of increasing the weight. Better form with slower movement increases the workload of your muscles, thereby resulting in more hypertrophy.

      Scientists have found for example, that doing 40% of your one rep max at a slow pace – three seconds up and three seconds down – gave greater testosterone and growth hormone response than traditional weight lifting techniques.

      The other thing you can do Al, is get yourself some damn weight plates! Stuff ’em in a backpack, or use a dipping belt, and that’s you’re progressive loading sorted!

  4. Whole heartedly agree that dips are the best exercise for chest. I super set Gironda dips with dumb bell incline press.
    Just to add however, gironda dips are done with fingers facing inward, not outward facing as shown and legs are raised out in front.
    It is is much harder to master amd requires greater flexibilty particularly at the bottom portion, but the results are well worth it.

    • Hi Oscar. Yes, but you will also sacrifice chest width development. A narrow hand spacing is more in favor of developing chest muscle thickness, while a wide spacing is in favor of chest width development.

  5. I know dips really work and used to do weighted dips until I tore my rotator cuff in a fall. I really need to get back to them but I am not sure about the cuff injury. It’s been 3 years by the way. I’m 57 now also

    • Hi Tim. Ouch, I’d be very careful with dips if you’ve torn your rotator cuff. The best thing would be to work closely with a personal trainer to see what you can handle. I would definitely advise against dong full bodyweight full range of motion dips from the outset. Here are some options you have to ease your way back into doing full dips:

      – Use an assisted dip machine, and gradually increase the weight until you can handle full bodyweight dips
      – Whatever chest exercise you do, make sure you start off with your elbows tucked in, as this reduces the stress on your rotator cuff. Flaring your elbows gives you a better chest workout, so over time, gradually start to flare your elbows more and more, always listening to your body and never overtraining.
      – Do partial-rep full bodyweight dips. Stay in the top position, and only descend by an inch or few inches. Increase your range of motion as you get stronger.

  6. Hey Garry really enjoyed your article although what about weighted push-ups? I feel they can be manipulated a lot better by different variations such as incline and decline to target different parts of the chest. What are your thoughts on them?

    • Hi Seth

      Yes, weighted pushups are an excellent exercise! It’s more of a whole-body exercise than the bench press, and less likely to result in injury.

      I still think dips result in a better overall development, but you can get great results doing weighted pushups. Give ’em a go and see how you get on.

    • Hi Visalia, thanks for the question.

      As I discuss in my resistance training program, the Chest Sculpting Blueprint, I advise doing whole-body training three days per week, especially for beginner and intermediate trainees.

      This is because no matter how hard you blitz your chest in one day, leaving it a whole week is too long a gap, and by the time you hit the chest on your next work out, your pectorals would have recovered, hypertrophied, and wasted away back to their original size. To get cumulative muscle hypertrophy, you have to train each muscle group more frequently, and the best frequency is 3 days a week, or every other day.

      Do dips three times a week on non-consecutive days.

    • In my opinion, a whole body workout emphasizing compound exercises (like dips) is best for beginners – but not for the reasons described by Mr. Davidson. A muscle will not atrophy after one week of no training – especially not after a particularly intense training session. The main reason beginners and most intermediates should not train a muscle group only once weekly is because the muscles recover more quickly for these individuals unable to generate sufficiently high intensity to require longer recovery times. Therefore, one will get better results by training more often. However, particularly strong intermediates and advanced lifters are often able to generate generate very high intensity through experience and by lifting particularly heavy weights. These individuals often do well training a muscle only once weekly – sometimes even less often.

      • Hi Marcos, thanks for your input. Yes, as you get more advanced in your training, recovery takes longer, and doing split-routines becomes a more feasible approach.

        But even as an advanced trainee, whole-body routines with frequent stimulation is still best for developing overall mass. You can use split-routines to bring out weak areas and improve the shape of your muscles.

  7. hello, great informative article. I will use utilize dips from now on instead of bench press. You also talk about pull ups. When can i do pull ups. The same days as dips? or different days?

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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.?

    • 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:

  10. 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).

    • 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.

      • 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?

        • 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.

  11. 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!

    • 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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!

      • 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?

        • 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.

    • I think it’s a matter of relative armlength too.
      A “gorilla”-type is better in pulling-movements, e. g. chin-ups, while the “t-rex”-guy is better in pushing-movements such as the bench-press.

      • Lol, nice analogy there Berd. I’m definitely the T-rex type. I can easily do lots of reps with added weight with dips, but I’m having to work very hard on my pullups.

  14. Hey Garry,

    what do you think of ring dips? I can do weighted dips, but it feels clumsy with a backpack etc., so I attempted ring dips. To my surprise I can only do 2 consecutive ring dips!!! Can I just do non consecutive ring dips to get stronger, is it worth it or do I get back to weighted dips?

    Also my triceps feel more than chest during ring dips (in regular dips it was the opposite, chest felt more than triceps). Is this normal?

    Thanks, Garry.

    • Hey Ahmed. Ring dips will work those stabilizers more. Your arms will do a lot more work in stabilizing your body, so I’m not surprised you’re feeling it more in your arms.

      Whether you do ring dips or go back to doing weighted dips depends on what you want to achieve. If you can only do two consecutive ring dips, then you’ll mostly be gaining strength at first, and the muscle growth will come later when you can do more reps.

      So if you want quick muscle growth, then go back to doing standard dips with more reps. If you want to get better at doing ring dips and don’t mind waiting a little longer to grow your muscles, then focus on getting better at those ring dips and building up on your reps.

      • Thanks Garry, i think ur right. Maybe i should do both.

        But do u ever experience the psychological fear of doing dips between chairs, fear that the chairs may give way? I use sturdy wooden chairs, but deep down i keep fearing that maybe the chair will collapse and i will fall flat on my face,lol.

  15. Mr Garry I only do 4 exercises dips, rows, shoulder press, squats. I assume these 4 exercises cover the whole body?

    But some say include isolation. For regular ppl like me is that even necessary? I thought only steroid crazy bodybuilders did that. What’s your opinion? Will normal ppl ever benefit from adding dozen exercises or is it logical to follow a simple minimalist method?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Ric, good question.

      Just those 4 exercises will get you great results. However, I won’t deny that the best way to build your arms and any other muscle group is to do both a compound exercise and an isolation exercise.

      If you want to get a great body with minimal investment of time to training, do those 4 exercises.

      If you want to get the biggest possible muscles all over your body, then do those 4 exercises combined with a whole bunch of different isolation exercises. But be prepared to invest a LOT of time into your training.

      As a beginner though, I highly suggest you focus only on those 4 exercises to first build up your frame. Build a great body using a few simple compound exercises, then take things to the next level by adding in isolation exercises.

      • Golden advice Garry. I took ur advice a year ago and did weighted dips alone and my chest today looks very very good. My triceps look good too bcuz dips work them I guess.

        But that logic did not apply with rows. Even Though they say back exercises often work biceps only my back has improved with rows. But biceps has remained the same.

        This is confusing because my triceps has improved with nothing other than dips. But why can’t my biceps improve with rows alone? Is it just genetics or exercise selection?

        Would love ur thoughts Garry.

        • Hey Ric, great question!

          One answer I can think of is this.

          You get better triceps development with dips than you do with the flat bench press.


          Because with dips, the pectorals in your chest are in their strongest position, where all of your pec fibers are activated maximally. This is why it’s easier to lift your full bodyweight during dips than it is with the flat bench press. You’ll notice you can always handle a heavier weight with the decline bench press than you can with the flat bench press.

          With your pecs in their strongest position, the weakest link in the exercise is your triceps. So your triceps will work maximally, while your pecs take a bit of a back seat. Your pecs only start to get worked fully as your triceps get bigger and stronger. But this doesn’t take long because your triceps are comprised mostly of fast twitch muscle fibers, which respond very well to growth.

          In the same way, we can compare bent over rows with chinups.

          It’s MUCH easier to handle your bodyweight with the chinups than it is with the bent over row. This is because with the bent over row, your back is in a weak position, just like it is in the bench press. This means that with the bent over row, your back is doing most of the work, while your biceps take a back seat.

          Theoretically, as your back gets stronger with the bent over row, your biceps should start to get better. But as with the bench press, a lot of people have difficulty building strong back muscles with this exercise. Generally, it’s harder for most people to build big strong back muscles, because the back is comprised mostly of slow twitch muscle fiber, while the pecs in the chest have a much larger proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers.

          Few people ever get to the point where their back is strong enough to be able to build big biceps with the bent over row.

          On the other hand, I find I build my biceps and my back pretty fast with chinups.

          • thanks Garry amazing insight into this whole exercise mechanics. wish I had known earlier. I will never do pull-ups because of phobia. I tried once and the bar came off. that fear prevents me from trying again. I love one arm db row it really works my back but like u say the biceps aren’t growing.

            it is annoying bcuz even though my chest tri and back are good biceps are almost non existent. even shoulders are respectable. so my body lacks proportion even though I have gained a lot of muscle and strength.

            is there any magic exercise for biceps lol?

          • >_< a tragic experience. Maybe you could try doing chinups on one of those sturdy monkey bars at the park. If you're stuck with bent over rows, and your biceps aren't growing, you can always add in an isolation exercise for the biceps. I recommend the biceps body drag curl, or if you have access to a pulley machine, it’s even better to do biceps curls with a pulley machine.

  16. is it true that as the body gets stronger you don’t experience pump or soreness?

    when I first started doing dips with just body weight, I felt soreness next day. these days I feel nothing even though I am using heavy weights. likewise when I first started doing rows I felt soreness next day. these days despite increasing my weights I feel nothing.

    is this lack of soreness a sign that the body is becoming stronger?

    • Hey Ric

      Yes it’s true. Don’t expect to get sore any more. The only time you’ll get sore now is if you drastically change your workout, or stop training for a good few weeks and start back up again. Soreness is not an indication that your muscles are getting bigger, and it’s not an indication that you’re getting stronger. Ignore any lack of soreness, and just focus on increasing your lifts with good form.


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