Dips are one of those movements that are underrated...
Whilst most guys are focusing on curls, tricep pushdowns and skull crushers to make their arms bigger, the people who build serious mass on their arms are guys that can dip - and dip pretty damn heavy too!
Free Workout Program: you can download the free workout program we give away during this workout as a PDF. Click here to get it.
In this article I’m going to show you how to do dips correctly, the best way to use them to grow bigger arms and how they fit into your workout programs.
Plus I’ll also hand you a sample workout to go with them.
What are dips & why is a dips workout effective?
You might have heard of dips before, but what you might not know is why they're so damn effective and how with some simple tweaks you can add muscle to not only your arms (triceps), but to your chest too.
The triceps (triceps brachii) is a three-headed muscle on the back of your arm and it makes up 75% of the arm.
The triceps attaches to the upper arm and shoulder joint in three places, so it has three heads - hence ‘tri’
The triceps’ job is to extend the elbow (move the forearm away from the bicep), to help stabilize the shoulder and scapula during most upper body exercises.
So as you can imagine, if you want a stronger upper body, building your tricep strength will help dramatically.
Here’s how the tricep is split up:
The Lateral head is best worked with arms at the sides of the body and overhead grips (press-downs, bench dips)
The Long Head is best worked with arms overhead (overhead extensions, skullcrushers)
The medial head is best worked with arms at the sides and underhand grip (e.g. reverse grip pressdown)
The long head is the largest of the three and is the one that creates the biggest overall look of your triceps
[You might have also heard some rumours going round about how dips can be a bad movement for the body, causing nasty injuries without any results to show for it, but that's not true, when you do them correctly]
What do you need to do a dip?
Dips are as basic as it gets!
And that’s a big reason why I love dips - not only are they great at allowing you to lift a large amount of weight (aka your bodyweight) but they're as minimal as it comes with variations of it being able to do anywhere with very little equipment.
All you need is two parallel bars and a body!
If your gym doesn't have a parallel bars or a tricep dip station, then you can use an assisted chin up and tricep dip machine (placing a weight on it to hold it down - more on this in the video below) or a power tower1
However if you have never done them before, you might be wondering…
How do you do dips correctly?
I've put together a video that walks you through step-by-step how to do them effectively to build both tricep and chest mass...
The 2 Main dips:
Chest dips vs triceps dips
As I mentioned earlier, there’s typically 2 types of dips. Although both target the upper body and work the same areas, by changing our position slightly we can change the emphasis on different parts of the body, switching between targeting more of the back of your arm (tricep) and targeting your chest.
Now let's check them both out…
Dips for arm growth
The classic dip is what is commonly referred to as a "tricep dip" this is often done on parallel bars (a dipping station) and sometimes also replaced with bench dips
The main difference in this movement, vs others is the placement of the arms and elbows and emphasis on the arms.
Dips for chest mass
This is pretty underrated as far as chest growth goes.
But, as you’ll learn, it’s a super effective as far as causing muscle damage to the chest.
Muscle damage largely happens when a muscle is stretched and long.
So things like flyes, cable flyes, dips, pec-dec seem to cause this pretty well. Other ways you can damage the muscle is by doing slow lowering (eccentrics) moves.
Mix both of these together and you’ve got yourself the chest dip (and one badass way to grow a bigger chest)
“What about dip exercises at home?”
Although dips are a body weight exercise, and great for muscle growth. I’m not the biggest fan of bodyweight only workouts…
If conditioning is something you’re trying to work on, or if you’re trying to drop them extra pounds then they’re effective (after-all extra movement will always benefit you) but when it comes to muscle growth (especially for skinny guys) they damn right suck.
Can some people grow with body weight workouts? If you’ve got great genetics then sure.
Will the growth be as fast as you’d like? Heck no
Here at The Superhuman Lab we work with skinny dudes that want to pack on slabs of muscle in the fastest time possible, if that’s you, then I’d recommend using dips as part of your workouts, but like all bodyweight movements, surround it with heavy weight lifting exercises too.
We’ll get to how to do that in just a second!
Still wanna know how you can do them at home?
Okay, I’ve gotcha covered…
If you want to practise doing dips at home, then the best way would be to do it would be with two chairs placed either side of you or with a parallel dip station.
Although some people recommend things like your kitchen table tops, I don’t simply because it doesn’t put the body in an optimal position.
If your gym doesn’t have parallel dips, then simply place two barbells inside of a rack either side of you.
Grow A Bigger Upper Body With This Dips Workout
By this point you should know all about the main 2 types of dips that I recommend and you’ll be able to do them like a master.
Now let’s see how you’d fit them into a decent workout program...
The workout I’m giving you here isn’t purely a “dips” workout, just like a push up or pull up workout, that would be pretty ineffective at building a stronger, better looking body.
Instead what you’re getting is a day template you can use in any of your programs...
Chest, Shoulders and Biceps
1a - Dips
1b - DB Curls
Posture, Hamstrings and Hamstrings
2a1 - Rom Deadlift
2b - DB Row
Triceps, Abs and Core
3a - Tricep Pushdown
3b - Rope Crunches
3c - Pallof Press
Note: this kind of workout (and dips) aren’t ideal for skinny dudes just starting out, but if you’re stuck for a workout and only have limited equipment then this will help
That’s all for today...
Do this workout and not only will you be enjoying dips, but you’ll have a bigger upper body too.
If you want to download this workout as a PDF and get XXX then you can download it here
•1 A word of warning - a power tower is typically wider than you'd like, so it's tough to target the triceps correctly on it, but it's better than nothing