T Nation

Weighted Dips as Primary Chest Exercise?


Anyone try/recommend this?


Im not able to go to a normal gym at this time. I am working out at my apartment fitness center. The heaviest weights there are 50lb dumbells. I started West Side for Skinny Bastards last week using weighted dips as my max effort lift. Ill let you know how it goes in the next couple weeks.


As a newb with limited equipment.

I'd suggest doing something more conventional instead.


this can be really hard on the shoulders after a while, i sort of tried it a month ago. I think they are better done later in a chest training session---no need to go so heavy and shoulders are already warm. Its hard to retract your scapula to protect your shoulders on this movement so be cautious.


I see no problem with this. Just make sure to take your time with the weight progression.


thanks for all responses so far


body building right? if they stimulate your chest, by all means use them


enjoy looking like you have bitch tits.

kids remember you can't overdevelop your upper chest but you can over develop your lower chest.


so if your primary chest exercise isnt an incline variation you're going to "look like you have bitch tits"?

thanks for the helpful response.


I love dips and do them every chest day. I use them as an accessory movement with a little forward lean/no lock out to hit the chest more and it works great for me.

What would you be doing for accessory chest work?


Arnold is doing the wide grip parallel bar dip made popular by Vince Gironda. Although I'll warn you that going extremely low into the stretch as suggested can cause shoulder problems over the long run if your predisposed to it.

Secondly, these do not shape your pecs to look like you have bitch tits. I doubt the kid who posted this comment even has enough chest to worry about that problem which is actually caused by a reliance on flat bench presses below the lower pec line for chest building. Wide grip parralel dips will cause a slab-like shape to your pecs as long as you work the upper pecs with incline dumbbell presses or some other exercise targeted at that area.

I seriously doubt it, but he could be refering to sagginess in this area when you are much older which is caused by the loss of output of male hormones, not this specific exercise and time. These mainly work the outer and lower portion of the pec developing a rounded lower pec line that makes you appear wider since it is synergistic with the lines created under the lateral deltoid head. Best bodybuilding chest builder bar none IMO and Vince's. You will also develop a mean serratus which is stretched at the bottom and contracted at the top


Also you can never sag your pants too low.


OP has limited equipment to work with.

That statement is both stupid and ignorant.

He will be fine with that exercise.

And I'll take the teaching of Vince Gironda over you.


I guess you'd just have to ask yourself one question...



Im using these as my primary, and only, chest exercise while I recover from a herniated disc in my lower back. seem to be holding most of my mass, though not all.


As a main chest movement, I wouldn't do it. It really is tough on the shoulders. Not only on the shoulders but around the scapulae area as well. If it feels fine for you now, wear and tear will add up in the future and it may not be fine for your some months down the road. I would focus on using it as an accessory movement for 6+ reps, and I would personally do it only one time a week. As a main chest movement, I would do something with the barbell that not only stimulates your chest, but that you can go heavier weight/less reps on.


This is the same with every lift. So long as you're making progress and not rushing things, there is nothing wrong with starting off with dips.


Honestly, it all depends on your shoulder structure. If you have a tight acromion, heavy dips + overuse can really hurt you. On the other hand, some, like myself, can do them heavy and frequently and have no issues.

I prefer to do them second or third in a workout however. In my experience, I can still go really heavy with these when fatigued, so I like to hit the chest/shoulders/triceps with a few open chain movements (BB/DB) first.

I will occasionally use dips as my primary exercise, but I like to warm my shoulders up really well first. Not because I fear hurting them, but because I feel a lot stronger when I do. When doing so, I bang out a few mobility exercises, then do one or two easy sets of push-ups for 10-15 reps followed by some explosive push-up variations for several sets of 3-5 reps, then one or two sets of body weight dips for a few reps, just to work the groove, and then it's on.


thanks again to everyone who responded. even if i don't reply, i'm reading.

greg, i currently do dips as an accessory movement but a) my gym only has dumbbells to 100 and b) flat barbell bench sux (inb4 dave tate video). so i thought i'd give dips a try as a primary over incline barbell just to see how strong i could get on them. the carry-over back to bench strength might be cool too.

you guys think i should just keep incline barbell as primary or does none of this matter until i try it out for myself and stop asking for spoon feeding?


Just about every training video I've seen from a pro starts with incline, ftr.


somewhat recently my chest exercise has gone something like this and I like it a lot actually:

Incline BB
Flat BB (dont need as much weight after incline BB)
Incline DB's (you probably wont be blasting those 100lb DB's at this point)
Dips (either high rep or weighted in the 8-12 range depending on what I feel like. I never go below 8 reps on Dips... going to heavy on weighted dips is a recipe for an injury IMO so if I cant get at least 8 I use less weight)

then maybe a fly variation if I feel like I need more work.