What are Weighted Dips?

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  • Written By: Douglas Bonderud
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 February 2020
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Weighted dips are an upper-body exercise that focuses on working the shoulders, triceps and chest muscles. A dip is performed by grasping two parallel bars, known as dip bars and raising the body straight off of the ground. At the start of the movement, the body should be straight, with the elbows locked and the feet off of the floor. The feet can be crossed or simply hanging down.

To perform the exercise, the body is lowered until the shoulders dip lower than the elbows. There is no need to go any deeper than that, and doing so can lead to injury. The arms and chest are then used to drive the body back up into its starting position. Dips are usually performed using only body weight, until they can be accomplished easily. Once that is the case, weighted dips are the next step to increase strength.

In order to perform weighted dips, a plate or dumbbell should be used. If using a dumbbell, it is grasped between the feet, usually by crossing the ankles. Another alternative is to use a dip belt which consists of a leather belt, a length of chain, and a clasp. The chain is run through a weighted plate and then attached to the belt, causing the belt to cinch tight around the waist. The exercise is then performed as normal, but with the addition of as much extra weight as needed.


Dips come in several varieties, the most common being chest dips, tricep dips, and bench dips. Chest dips are done using bars that are slightly wider than shoulder-width, and by leaning the body forward when lowered during the exercise. This will cause the chest muscles to be engaged when raising back up to the starting position. Tricep dips also use shoulder-width bars, but the body is kept straight both going down and coming back up, which targets the tricep muscles. Both tricep and chest dips can easily be converted to weighted dips.

The bench dip is typically used by someone just starting such workouts, who cannot dip his full body weight. In this version of the exercise, two benches are used — the participant sits on the first bench, with his heels on the second bench, which should be far enough away that his legs are fully extended. The palms are placed flat on the first bench, with the fingers curled over its edge for grip, and the arms are then extended until the elbows are locked — pushing the body up and off the bench. Finally, the body is lowered between the two benches until the shoulders dip below the elbows, exactly as in a traditional dip. The advantage of this version, for beginners, is that only the weight of the upper body is raised and lowered.


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