I Feel Dumb Asking This...

I have been training for like 8 years, and look better than just about everyone in my gym, but I have a couple of really stupid questions, that I would like to have answered.

On dumbell shoulder presses, how far do you bring the dumbells down? To where the screw is at the level of your ear? Or til they touch your shoulders? Is it ok if the angle of my elbow is less than 90 degrees, meaning the dumbells are leaning in towards my head, as opposed to away from me? I would also like to know the answer to this question for chest exercises, like incline dumbell press.

When doing dips, what are some ways to help keep yourself upright, if you want to hit the triceps? What helps to lean forward, if you are targeting chest? Thanks!

I actually use several ranges of motion for dumbell presses. I am just careful to limit weight on presses that allow the screw to parallel my rib cage, because that can cause some funky shoulder stuff. (did I just say funky, damn i’m getting old). So when I’m volume training I use a lighter dumbell. When I want to train heavy, I tend to limit range of motion for the sake of my shoulders. as far as dips are concerned the only thing I can offer is when working chest, I tend to cross my legs and lift them behind my butt. That seems to help, also a great way to get a spot from back there, if ya need it. Hope that helps

For dips, try looking up as far as you can, or looking down and tucking your chin as far as you can to work your chest more. I think it’s all in the head position.

I go down as far as possible when doing dumbell presses, but if you have a shoulder problem, don’t do this. To me, going to the ear or head during these is like benching halfway. So do the full range of motion if you can. Also, before every shoulder exercise I always stretch the rotator cuff.

For dips, I think hand position makes a difference. If you have a V-shaped dip bar, the closer you are to the inside of the “V” is when you will bend over more and do a chest dip. If your arms are further apart, it will allow you to dip more straight up and down so that it targets the triceps more. So try that! As for dumbbell shoulder presses, I either bring them down so my arms are at a 90 degree angle or I’ll bring them lower until the “screw” of the dumbbell is just below my ears.

As for DB shoulder presses, I say lowered them as far as your flexibility allows while keeping the forearms perpendicular to the ground. If you let the forearms tilt inward toward the ears, you take some load off the delts and get the triceps involved, so I’d say avoid that by keeping the forearms pointing straight towards the ceiling.

My dumb gym got rid of the V shaped dipping bar, so now I am stuck with one I hate. Personally, I feel like I get a better pump in my delts when I just let the screw go to my ear, but I feel guilty, like this is the same as not squatting to “rock bottom”. I feel like my leverage or mechanical advantage stinks once the screw is below my ear, and that this may lead to injury. Or is my ego that likes to lift a lot just typing for me?

hehe, princess that was a really pathetic way of telling us that you look good.

What are you talking about?


We’ve all got silly questions we’d like answered, thats what this forum’s for babe!

To hit your chest on dips you should bend your knees and cross your legs behind your ass, also, make sure your chin is tucked into your chest nice and tight. This should help you to lean forward.

Best of luck mate.

Nate, Poliquin in the Poliquin Principles says that the hands should be hip width on the V bar for hitting the triceps and slightly wider than shoulder width for the chest version

Are you sure about that? I always thought it was the opposite way. As I find myself getting more of a chest workout when I’m at the smaller end of the V-bar and bent forward. And I get more tricep work when my arms are further apart and I go up and down. Hmmm…maybe it’s just me. Or maybe the Poliquin Principles has it backwards. I remember the whole section on back training, and it kept messing up what a chin-up and pull-up was. But I’ll have to give it a try the other way around to see if it works differently. I just did dips last night, and it was more chest work doing them the way I described. :slight_smile:

Westside people do 1/2 dips for their triceps. If you go all the way down, they work your chest too much. For shoulder presses, I lower the dumbells so the screws are just above my shoulders.

Nate Dogg, i’m pretty sure…and it makes sense as well because a closer grip is supposed to work the triceps more and a wider grip is supposed to work the chst more…i think the dynamics of it are similar to a close grip bench press and a medium grip bench press…

Ahhh…good point. I will play around on the dip station this week!

Nate Diggity Dogg…wassup, bro, I gotta drop one on ya–soon, bro, soon…anyway, I think Tan’s right about grip and the positioning on the v-bar…but if you’re finding you hit the target better, stick with your guns. Basically, I’ve been under the impression that the wider the grip and flaring the elbows (along with leaning forward) hits the pecs more, while the narrow grip, elbows tucked in and going straight up and down hits the tris. That’s how I’ve played it and it seems like it’s good to go. Fool around with it and do what works;-)