T Nation

Alternative to Dips for Bench Assistance?


#1

Hello

I am currently dipping for bench press assistance (shoulder press, dips, dumbbell press, curl, reverse curl specifically). The dip bars I am using aren't good ones as they are too wide for me and can't be adjusted. It is one of those leg raise/dip bar combined ones if you know what I mean. It is aggravating my pectoralis minor and shoulders especially as the training cycle becomes advanced.

The primary reason for them is bench press assistance especially triceps as they are the weak point on my press. I found them excellent at this and am disappointed I can't continue with them.

I train alone so bench dips aren't realistic.

I am thinking to do close grip (14") barbell floor presses is this a good substitution? If not what else can I do? I am worried about getting pinned with the weight is it possible to dump it safely? It will be in a power rack but as I understand the elbows touch the floor if they fail can you still dump?

I can't change gyms at the moment and I'm not doing isolation exercises as I tried these before and my triceps lose size and strength if I only do isolation work.


#2

If you are in a power rack doing these just set the spot pins up about a foot off the floor. You can also do close grip benches on a bench, just stick your feet way out in front of the bench as if you were lying on the floor. Kind of like a floor press but not on the floor. Just don't arch or use leg drive, aka bench like a gym rat. Sure your elbows won't stop on the ground but that's not a problem.

If you have a barrel chest like me the bar touches my chest on a floor press anyways. Heavy board presses are an option. You do not need anyone to hold them for you either. make them like in the pic. Wear a loose belt of some kind and attach the caribiner to the belt and bench away. been doing this for years and I have yet to have a board fall off me. They may shift around as the going gets tough and I get sloppy form but that's entirely correctable.

I hate dips, never got much out of them other than tweaked pecs, hurt shoulders and cramped up upper backs. besides, banging 405 board presses for me was much cooler and more effective and a direct carryover to pressing movements.


#3

Close grip bench would be a good substitute for dips. Nothing wrong with doing it on a bench.


#4

close grip bench has helped my triceps the most out of anything. For variation, using dumbbells with a neutral grip is great for hitting triceps more than the shoulders. Also, don't be scared of isolation movements. if triceps are weak, just work them.


#5

Close grip bench, JM press, close grip incline bench


#6

I really don't get dips, they seem to do nothing but fuck up shoulders...

Aside from more bench itself, any overhead work is good - dumbells are often easier on the shoulders if that's an issue, although I can't say barbell presses have been a problem for me at all. I don't like tricep isolation work much either to be honest, just press more or rest more. If lockout is a problem (more likely equipped than raw) try close-grip bench or board presses.


#7

A wise man once told me that "if you want to bench more you need to bench more". Lose all the accessory crap or at least save it for the end of your workout. Your bench training should center around bench variations: Bench, close grip bench, 1 board, 2 board, 3 board, 4 board, wide grip bench, bench against bands, bench against chains. You get the picture.

Save the dumbell stuff for the end of your workout and do it for higher reps 8-15. I would cut the dips out all together. None of the strong benchers I know do dips.


#8

But Eric Spoto said dips were his favorite exercise...


#9

I don't know Eric Spoto.


#10

He's just the strongest bencher in the world, why would you know him in a powerlifting forum?


#11

When I cant do dips, Decline CG bench is my usual substitute. I feel it more in my triceps on the decline and it seems to remove some of the stress from my chest and delts.


#12

Does he mean not personally? Surely Brett you must have heard of him?

Anyway, I agree that to some extent you must bench more to bench more, though there is of course a limit.


#13

I've heard of him, but I do not train with him. Therefore, all of the strong benchers I know do not do dips.


#14

Thanks for all the replies.

I like the caribiner idea with board presses, nice thinking.

I will try close grip benches I think as it is technically for bench assistance and need to change to them next workout as my pec minor/shoulders (or whatever the problem is) dictates it.

Good points about more board presses and floor presses for bench in general I will add these to bench day once the next training cycle comes around; I don't like to chop and change if I can help it.

I accept that my bench is pretty poor in form so more benching or variants of such will help more than dips, as well as avoiding them for injury prevention reasons.