So dips are supposed to hit triceps, right? Well today at my gym I did about 40 of them and my chest still feels like its expanding right now, but my triceps don't. Is this normal? Can dips be hitting chest instead of triceps for some reason?

  • 2
    The more you lean over and the deeper you go, more stress will be placed on the shoulders and chest. As apposed to more vertical dips, or bench dips.
    – Alex L
    Aug 14 '15 at 21:27
  • Oh... That makes sense because I am doing it on parallel bars dipping in. Aug 14 '15 at 21:30

It's not really a case of dips hitting chest instead of triceps. Dips hits both. But depending on how you do it, it will be working one more than the other.

If you want to engage triceps more, try not going down beyond a 90 degree elbow bend, and make sure you lock your arms out completely on every rep.

It's the upper part of the lift that engages triceps the most, so if that's what you're after, give that a shot!

Another thing you might try, is doing dips in the way that engages chest most (deep reps, no locking out), and try some other exercises just for triceps alone, like skullcrushers and/or cable tricep extensions.


The primary function of the pectorals is to adduct the upper arm (Bring in closer to the body), which in function means that an arm pointing out to the side will come in closer to the body or end up pointing forward instead of to the side.

If you do your dips leaning forward, so that the upper arm moves away from the body, then when you contract and come back to the start position, you will activate the chest as part of the exercise.

If you do your dips in a fashion where the upper arm doesn't really move away from the body at all, but stays relatively close, then you will have minimal activation of the chest.

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