I would personally just switch to the “BBB” program outlined in his book. Great template for putting on mass, and you dont need to worry about it then.
If you dont want to do that, I think close grip bench would be the next best thing for you.
A quote from Dan John on the subject of dips and sternum pain:
"I think I wrote an article about them. Here is the thing: with teen boys, many will complain that dips hurt the sternum. They will point to it, draw a line down the chest and tell me that dips “rip” this up. It happened to me, too. I figure it is a growth issue.
So, with teens, we don’t do them. It’s like a drill: no matter how good a drill is, if the bulk of the kids can’t do it within a few tries…move along. Dips are like that with me. If you don’t feel the stabbing, do them. If you do, don’t.
I have no opinion on dips being better or worse, richer or poorer, than anything else. I still like the Military Press for the answer to most questions…"
If Dan John says not to do them if its hurting, thats a good enough answer for me.[/quote]
I agree with this on an intellectual level, but can’t bring myself to follow the advice. I feel the sternum pain pretty badly doing weighted dips, but since it seems to be the only big upper body movement that my shoulders don’t decide they would like to do all the work for, I’m gonna keep doing them. Only 21 though, so I guess there’s a slim chance of the pain going away. Regardless, my response has been to man up and do them anyway. I shall post again when my rib cage is violently propelled across the weight room, which feels like a distinct possibility on occasion.