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Chest Dip 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Chest Dip
Chest Dip

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type


Required Equipment

Dip Machine

Fitness Level











The Chest Dip is a compound bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the chest muscles while also engaging secondary muscle groups, including the abs, shoulders, and triceps. This exercise requires no additional equipment beyond one's body weight, making it a versatile and accessible option for individuals at various fitness levels. To perform chest dips, one typically uses parallel bars or a dip station, lowering the body by bending the elbows and leaning forward to emphasize chest activation. The movement involves both shoulder and elbow articulation, providing a comprehensive workout for the upper body. Incorporating chest dips into a fitness routine promotes chest strength and development while simultaneously engaging key muscle groups such as the abs, shoulders, and triceps, contributing to overall upper body stability and power.

How to Perform

  1. Begin the Chest Dip by stepping onto the dip station, if available, and adopting a neutral grip with your hands.

  2. Start the exercise by unlocking your elbows and gradually lowering your body, ensuring a controlled descent until your forearms are nearly parallel to the floor.

  3. Maintain control throughout the downward movement to emphasize chest engagement and overall muscle activation.

  4. Drive back to the starting position by exerting force through your palms, utilizing the strength of your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

  5. Execute the desired number of repetitions, focusing on proper form to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise and avoid unnecessary strain on the joints.

  6. Keep your torso slightly forward during the descent to emphasize chest involvement, ensuring a full range of motion and targeting the intended muscle group effectively.

  7. Engage your core throughout the exercise to provide stability and involve the abdominal muscles as secondary targets, promoting overall functional strength.

  8. Adjust the grip width to find a comfortable and effective position that suits your shoulder mobility and chest activation, allowing for individualized variations.

  9. Incorporate a brief pause at the bottom of the dip to intensify the muscle engagement and enhance the effectiveness of the exercise.

  10. Ensure proper shoulder blade movement; allow them to retract during the descent and protract during the ascent to optimize shoulder stability and muscle activation.


  1. Explore the dual techniques of performing dips, each serving distinct purposes: the first involves staying upright with close elbows, emphasizing tricep recruitment, while the second entails leaning forward with wider elbows to enhance chest engagement.

  2. For optimal form, strive to keep the legs straight downward, simultaneously engaging the glutes and abs to prevent excessive spinal movement and promote core stability during the dip.

  3. In the absence of a dip station with steps, strategically position a box beneath the handles to facilitate elevation, enabling proper execution and maximizing the benefits of the exercise.

  4. If a box is unavailable, resort to a controlled jump to attain the starting position, maintaining stability and control to prevent compromising form and risking injury.

  5. Safeguard against unnecessary strain by avoiding the forward jutting of the head during the descent, ensuring proper neck alignment throughout the dip exercise.

  6. Maintain tension on the triceps by ensuring that the elbows stay just short of lockout, promoting continuous engagement of the targeted muscle group and preventing joint strain.

  7. Experiment with a false grip by wrapping the thumb over the bar, a technique that may offer enhanced comfort for some individuals during the dip, promoting better grip and stability.

  8. Additional Tips:

  9. Customize the dip variations based on your fitness goals; consider incorporating both upright and forward-leaning techniques to achieve a balanced development of triceps and chest muscles.

  10. Gradually increase the depth of the dip as strength improves, allowing for a fuller range of motion and enhancing overall muscle activation.

  11. Prioritize controlled breathing throughout the exercise, exhaling during the upward phase and inhaling during the descent, to maintain a consistent rhythm and optimize energy distribution.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Arching the Lower Back: To prevent mistakes and minimize strain on the lower back, refrain from arching excessively during chest dips. Maintain a neutral spine position to ensure the focus remains on the chest muscles and to prevent unnecessary stress on the lumbar region.

  2. Steer Clear of Rounded Shoulders: Prevent mistakes in shoulder positioning by avoiding rounded shoulders during the dip. Keep the shoulders pulled back and down, promoting optimal engagement of the chest muscles and reducing the risk of shoulder injuries.

  3. Do Not Rush the Movement: Resist the temptation to rush through chest dips to prevent wasting energy and ensure proper muscle activation. Execute each repetition with controlled movements, emphasizing both the downward and upward phases to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.

  4. Avoid Locking Out Elbows: Prevent mistakes and potential joint strain by refraining from locking out your elbows at the top of the dip. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows to keep tension on the chest muscles, promoting continuous engagement and reducing the risk of hyperextension.

  5. Refrain from Leaning Too Far Forward: Avoid excessive forward lean during chest dips, as it can shift the emphasis away from the chest and onto the shoulders and triceps. Maintain an upright posture to ensure the chest remains the primary focus of the exercise.

  6. Do Not Neglect Core Engagement: Prevent mistakes by neglecting core activation. Engage your abs throughout the exercise to stabilize the torso and support proper form. This not only enhances chest muscle engagement but also contributes to overall stability.

  7. Avoid Using Momentum: To prevent wasted energy and ensure targeted muscle engagement, resist the urge to use momentum during chest dips. Focus on the strength of your chest, shoulders, and triceps rather than relying on swinging or bouncing movements.

  8. Do Not Neglect Breathing: Avoid holding your breath during chest dips, as this can lead to decreased oxygen intake and premature fatigue. Breathe rhythmically, exhaling during the upward phase and inhaling during the downward phase to maintain a steady flow of oxygen to your muscles.

  9. Avoid Excessive Depth: Refrain from dipping too low if it compromises your form or causes discomfort. Overextending the range of motion excessively may lead to unnecessary stress on the shoulders and compromise the effectiveness of the exercise.

  10. Prevent Unstable Equipment Usage: If using dip bars or a station, ensure they are stable and securely anchored. Unstable equipment can lead to accidents or injuries, distracting from the focus on muscle engagement. Always check the stability before starting the exercise.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Body Weight






Body Weight