Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

Dips are one of the best exercises for working out your chest, triceps, and upper body and can be even more effective than push-ups in many cases. Dips simply involve moving your body by bending at the elbows and can be done without much equipment. 

All you need are two parallel surfaces where you can either grip with your hands or lie your hands on flat. They offer the perfect technique for building up your upper body and should be added to your overall routine.

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How Do I Do a Chest Dip at Home?

You need two parallel objects, such as horizontal bars but you can use steady, strong furniture if you don’t have bars. You need to put your body between the two objects and place your hands down on the surfaces. 

You need to brace your arms and move your shoulders back and downwards, before lifting your body up taking the weight through your arms. Once you are up, bend your knees so you are able to dip downwards. 

Lower yourself down very slowly by bending your arms at elbow level. If you are doing a chest dip, you need to tip your body forward for that chest focus. 

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Once your elbows are at 90 degrees you need to push yourself back to the starting position by using your triceps and chest muscles and locking your shoulders. Once you are back at the top position, make sure to lock out your elbows. 

This is one rep completed so you will need to repeat the process to complete your desired number of rounds. 

 

Can I Do a Dip at Home Using a Chair?

If you are a total beginner at dips and you don’t have any parallel bars at home, then you can try doing the using a chair. You need to make sure the chair is solid and will hold your weight without any problems. 

Firstly, sit on the edge of the chair with your hands flat on the seat of the chair behind your body, and your legs stretched out in front of you. 

Lift your body up using the strength of your hands and then dip down in front of the chair, while your feet are still on the floor. You can work up to a good number of reps to build up your strength, before building up to the next challenge.

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Can I Do Dips to Build Up My Triceps?

To build up your triceps using your dips, you need to do the exercise but make sure you are keeping your body upright. If you can get two chairs next to each other and use your arms to take the strain as far as possible, the dips will help to work your triceps. 

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Can I Work My Chest Muscles with Dips?

If you want to work your chest rather than your triceps, you need to carry out dips while tipping your body forward. Dipping forward puts the work onto your pecs for when you move back up from the movement, helping to strengthen your chest area.

For this kind of work, you will need a single area like the back of a sofa, where your body will tip forward naturally to help you stay balanced.

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What Else Can I Use to Do Dips at Home?

As well as working with chairs, or the back of a sofa to do dips at home, there are many other pieces of furniture which you can use to work on your dips at home. There is no need to invest in parallel bars or equipment, you can just use your own furniture. 

Countertops – these work better if you use a corner counter where you can put your hands on each side and lift your body that way. 

Sawhorses – if you have a pair of sawhorses, you can use these in place of parallel bars at home as they work in exactly the same way. 

 

Which Other Parts of the Body Do Dips Strengthen?

You can use dips as part of an overall body workout, but they focus most on the upper body including your chest muscles, back muscles, as well as your arm muscles. They are great for anyone looking to develop a much stronger upper body without investing in lots of weights and equipment. 

Dips are great for helping you to strengthen your top half which can then help you to do other exercises and lifts much more effectively, which in turn adds to your effort to strengthen your chest so it’s a win-win situation. 

They strengthen your ability to lock out your arms as well, which can be beneficial when trying to lift objects in general life without causing injury or strain. It can help when you are trying to lift any kind of heavyweight. 

Dips work better than push-ups because they lift your entire body weight, making them more effective. With push-ups, you are only using part of your weight so while they will make a difference, they won’t make as much of a difference.

 

How Do I Progress with Dips?

The other good thing about dips is you can start as a beginner and as your strength grows you can add in different variations to help your progression. You can try different versions and then move to the next challenge. 

You can then progress further by adding weights to your dip exercises by using a weight belt or a weighted vest while you carry them out, helping to take your workout to the next level and improve your strength even further. 

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Dips are easy to do at home using your own furniture and are a great way for you to build up your upper body strength without having to spend a fortune on equipment or gym measurement. As long as your furniture is steady and strong enough to hold your own weight you will soon discover the difference that adding dips to your exercise routine can make to your body. 

 

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