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Dips - Assistance Exercises to Cure Excessive Elbow Flare

So I have the ability to stay tight and keep my elbows tucked with heavy weights of singles and doubles but when it comes to lighter weight and more reps, my elbows begin to flare to lockout, leaving my shoulder vulnerable.

I have yet to have issues but this takes my lats, tris, and tightness out of the equation when I want to get stronger. Do you guys have any tips to cure the elbow flare at lockout which is where it becomes more profound?


Any assistance exercises, cues, or warmups?

Sloppy setup and/or technique. Read Dave Tates Free Bench Press Manual and follow his setup protocol. Works like a charm.

If your shoulders don’t drift out during heavy work the issue is probably not muscle related. That leaves setup/technique/mental as the possible causes.

Just stop doing it

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The back controls The elbows! The back must become stronger!

More reps dipping means your back must stay tight, to keep your upper arms in position, longer.

Pull downs, keeping your chest up. Rows. Fat Man Chinups. Reverse Pec Deck.

Maybe some of these.

Fire up the little muscles in the middle of your back, feel the squeeze back there. Think about the “reverse motion,” or lowering during in a dip, when you are working your back.


You need a stronger back and probably some technique/cue work. Post a video of your benching something around 70% and 90-95%

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Thanks for the tips. I always warm up with rear delt work, face pulls, band pull aparts, and banded high rows and elbows in rows - mimicking a bench when rowing the bands. I usually do this before I bench, overhead, and do dips which generally helps keep me tight, shoulders back and elbows tucked. Ill try to post a vid of my benching.

Any mental or specific cues you guys suggest when setting up with heavy dips?

Uhh… maybe you’re fatiguing the primary movers too much with this. Nothing wrong with a few reps and sets to get the back pumping and firing, but too much work is going to fatigue your back before you get to bench thus causing you to lose tightness. Savy?

And I just realized you’re specifically talking about dips. I don’t have any advice for an assistance movement , other than just focus on tucking those elbows in, there is going to be SOME flare otherwise you can’t lockout properly.

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