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Weighted Dips as Primary Pecs Exercise


Any issue with this?

I mostly train alone and going to failure on weighted dips is much safer than getting stuck under a barbell. There are no power cages in my gym.

Current pecs routine (preceded by biceps):

Weighted leaning forward dips (5x5)
Incline HS press (3x8-12)
Flies or pec deck (3x10-15)

And no, replacing dips with a DB press variant is also not an option since the gym only has dumbbells up to 90lbs.

I'm shoulder and tricep dominant and I'm looking to beef up my chest so suggestions would be very welcome.


Dips go a long way. I think you can get close to your potential doing nothing other than dips and chinups. Dips may not develop your chest as rapidly as other pushing movements but they will eventually get you there.


I really feel the dips in my chest after the set.

But my sternum becomes really tight (under the middle pec line) when I add this exercise into my workouts. Its really discomforting and annoying as hell.

So I don't do it anymore.



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No, but you do have to overload your muscles sufficiently to induce hypertrophy. Four sets of 12 not to failure for a primary chest exercise sounds more like a cluster of warm up sets rather than a real workout. If your training above 8 reps, I don't see why you'd have to restrict failure altogether. Its one thing to push out 4-5 solid reps on heavy bench press and if you know you can't complete another rep to stop the set. Its another thing to take a light weight, throw up 12 reps with some difficulty, then at your 85% mark to failure (you could of probably completed 1 more rep on your own, 2-3 more with a spotter), you just easily rack the weight.


Prefatigue pecs with flies so that you don't/can't lift as much when benching?


Personally I love dips more than any other chest exercise I get a much better pec stretch at the bottom and contraction at the top. They are my favorite upper body exercise and I find them more beneficial and safer than any bench exercise. Also since I follow HIT training to a extent and train alone its one of the only multi joint chest exercise that can be taken to failure and beyond by your self.


Probably a good idea. I agree that you could superset flyes with a press either as way to prefatigue or to "finish off."


I see no problems with dips as your primary excercies, however in my opinion there isn't enough in that w/o to make your chest grow(at max rate)
I would lower the amount of flies done or remove them completely until your chest is big enough to start etching detail into.
I would go dips for 5x5 as you have, then onto incline, and then maybe decline also(barbell) for sets of 6-8.


Can you not continue to train your chest but come short 1-2 reps before failure? Then do your dips to failure.

You could also add in weighted push-ups if you're into pre-fatigue.


Gironda dips are the only dips that I really feel in my chest, parallel bar grip dips I mainly feel in my triceps, no matter how much of a forward lean i got. So for me, it would be a no, but if you feel it in yuor chest a lot, dips are a comound movement that you can easily progress on, I don't see why not.


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Ya, I get what you are saying. I should rephrase my opinion to being that personally, for me, doing 4 x 12 not to failure wouldn't do much. With high reps such as that, not to go failure or near failure would mean doing 6+ sets in order to get as effective results as if say I did 4x10 to failure.


I used to love dips, but my shoulders can't handle them these days. When I did do them, I preferred to put them towards the end of my chest workout so that my shoulders, chest and tris were nice and warmed up before doing them.

If you can handle doing them first, them more power to you, but I think it's better to put dips towards the end of your workout.


As a few others stated already, if you're shoulder and tricep dominant, you're chest probaly wouldn't be recruited enough for noticeable hypertrophy. Although, I haven't really noticed much chest growth from weighted dips, my arms and shoulder's have grown a decent amount, and it's a great strength builder. So try them anyway.


Thanks for all your advice!

I do feel the dip in the chest so will keep that in. Good point about pre-exhausting to the point of not being able to use super heavy dumbbells. I figure that if I put DB press at the end of the workout and use higher reps, say 10-15 it will take me a while to run out of weights - so to speak.


I feel dips because I am shoulder and arm dominant on chest exercises, and probably because my shoulders are generally rounded forward. I have begun to correct this, though, but I still feel it has a bearing on which exercises will hit my chest more.

Dips and close grip chinups absolutely hit my chest, as do low angle cable cross overs (coming from hips to lower chest, then crossing over).

Any higher angle and my front delts start to kick in.


As long as I can use wide enough bars and keep my chin tucked down, I get a really good chest workout from doing dips.

My gym has the older style dip bars. The type that fold to the inside (close for triceps) or fold out very wide (for chest). I find most fixed dip bars are not wide enough (even at the end if angled out) to get a good chest stretch and contraction. When this happens my shoulders and triceps tend to take over.

If you are interested in training negatives, dips are probably the easiest way to employ them. You don't need a partner as you simply step back up with whatever weight you have added and lower yourself under control.


I've been using dips for about 3 months now as primary chest exercise, seeing very good results. I work my back and chest on the same day, and it looks like this:

3st X 6rep

Weighted dips and close-grip pulldown superset
6st X 5-16rep
(5kg less with each set)

Bent-over row
3st X 6rp
(strict form, 75-80 degrees)

Dumbell flies
3st X 8rp

That works fantastic, especially the superset, though it's
tough as nails, really fucking hard. My pulse rises more than with my squats. I'm seeing much more improvement with my chest than I ever did, although it keeps my bench from progressing.

A friend of mine who's only 75kg on 1.75m (but is fairly ripped) had a period when his only chest exercise was weighted dips. He got to the point he could do full range with 60kg strapped on him for about 4-5 reps (respect), and had GREAT chest development. Plus, forgot to mention - that guy's starting point was about 57-58kg with the same height and fat ratio!

Neither of us is competing, we don't even take supplements. Shows you these kind of routines can work very well with normal individuals, considering they practice hard and eat and sleep well.


ponce, how are you correcting for this? i read somewhere that keeping the shoulder blades back and down helps, but haven't tried it yet.