T Nation

Confusing Discrepancy

Hi everyone

I’m pretty new to strength training - I’ve spent most of my time training as an “all-rounder” but have recently decided to go down the strongman route.

My question is; My max on weighted dips is a LOT more than my max bench. If you need specific numbers I’ll give them but there is a big difference.

I am benching with my elbows tucked etc and have read all of Dave Tate’s benching articles and I often read the strength forum (which I put into practise), yet my bench is stalling and my dips are flying ahead, despite the movements being so similar.

Is this just a case of needing to bench more often? I was using weighted dips as a way of improving my bench but there seems to be minimal carryover…

Thanks for any replies


My advice to you would be to visit eiltefts.com. it is run by dave tate and is almost exclusively geared to powerlifting and some strongman. they have countless articles as well as lists of nearly every exercise you could think of, as well as how to perform it.

A shot in the dark, but perhaps you’re upper back and lats are weak. You say you bench with your elbows tucked so perhaps you’re taking the emphasis off your chest and tris by tucking them tight.

I’ve no real idea how much carryover dips give tho.

Alternatively if you to bench more (weight), then bench more (often).

I don’t think the movements are as similar as you think. Actually, dips are closer to a decline bench, which is typically easier than a regular bench. When you say there is a big difference between the two, are you including your bodyweight in your dip weights? Or just the extra weight? If you are only counting the extra weight and dipping more, that would be surprising. If you are counting your bodyweight, I wouldn’t be too worried, just start benching more if you really want to improve your bench.

I haven’t done heavy dips for a while because I don’t have access to a good set of parallel bars, but when I throw in bodyweight I can dip substantially more than I can bench, too. Not a big deal, the leverages just work a bit differently.

I think dips probably don’t have a lot of carryover to most raw lifters’ bench because it’s sort of hard to do them in such a way as to emphasize the chest, so they hit the triceps, but triceps strength isn’t generally a huge issue for most raw pressers.

If I had to guess I’d say shoulder strength. They play a bigger role than you’d think in the bench and as far as i know very little to no role in dips.

I can dip myself (elbows below parallel) about 3 times as often as i can flat BB bench my bodyweight.

I think a strength discrepancy is quite normal because (as someone else mentioned) from a biomechanical standpoint the movements, although targeting nearly identical muscle groups, are not as similar as they seem.

Thanks for the replies guys. Evansmi - that’s the best explanation I think, weak lats/upper back would mean my dips would suck too, but I think your shoulder suggestion is right on the money.

More benching and OHP it is then.

Many thanks everyone

If you are doing strongman then more overhead work would probably be the best thing for you.