T Nation


This is definitely a newbie question but here goes, what is the proper form for dips?

I had made a nice progression on a seated dip machine, a Hammer machine, from 110# up to my body weight of 180# over the course about 2 months.

The first time I did them at the dip station, I hurt something in the front of my shoulder on the third set of 8’s. I was lowering myself under control until my armpits touched my wrists. Kind of a straight up & down motion.

I took 2 weeks off from during upper body work. It is amazing how many of the exercises I am doing use the shoulder in some fashion.

Then, after the time off, I did them with a more of a forward motion so that my body was in front of my fore arms and limited the bottom position to the point that my shoulders were just below my elbows. I definitely could have gone deeper.

This time I hurt something under my left collarbone, AAAGGGHHH.

The dips follow the flat bench and incline bench on my chest/tricep day. The only other thing I can think of was that I should warm-up at the seated dip machine first by during short sets of 95# and 135#.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Are you stretching before working out?
If so, try using less weight and working up to what you’re using now.
How far apart are the bars on the dip station? I find that a wide dip station hurts me and I can dip for reps with 80 pounds attached to a dip belt.

Part of the problem is that you’ve been usin a dip machine up until this point, so your stabilizers probably aren’t used to regular dips. On top of that, dips are an open-chain movement and machine dips are closed-chain (kinda like the diff. between chinups and pulldowns… it’s not exactly the same recruitment pattern). And I bet the machine is set at a different angle than the position real dips will put you in. Rest up, lower the volume, and work back up to whatever sets/reps you were using when you used the machine.

Lose the machine and use the dip bars. Make sure you descend in a slow controlled manner. I have the same problem when I try that machine it puts me in a bad position.

Sounds like you’re taking the motion too deep. You only need to go to upper-arm parellel to the floor. Work on some shoulder flexibility, and maybe back off a bit on the shoulder specific work, or put dips first.