I haven't been able to find as much information on how to properly do dips compared to all the other information I've been able to find on squats, deadlifts, etc.

Dips just don't seem to be as well-known.

That being said, I'm looking for general guidelines I should be following when doing dips, including what not to do, cues I should be reminding myself of during the movement, and the effect weighted dips may have on form compared to normal dips.

  • What muscle(s) are you targeting? Chest, triceps, or, both? And, what equipment, if any, is available to you?
    – rrirower
    Oct 16, 2015 at 12:30
  • You're asking about what I'm targeting because different variations of dips target different muscles @rrirower right? For right now I would like to hear about all the most common variety of dips. As far as equipment, I have access to a dip station.
    – Dante
    Oct 16, 2015 at 18:37
  • Follow Berin's advice below.
    – rrirower
    Oct 16, 2015 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


Dips are not complicated, so most people simply don't think about writing about them. The basic idea behind dips is:

  • Start fully upright
  • Lower your body until the shoulders are roughly parallel with the elbows (a little higher is better than a little lower)
  • Straighten back up

Notice how much I left out (on purpose)? I didn't talk about leaning your body, etc. The bottom line is that the amount of lean your body has really depends on your genetics. The basics remain the same whether the dips are weighted or not.

Things to avoid

  • Don't go below parallel. It just adds unnecessary risk to your shoulder joint for very little gain.
  • Going too heavy all the time. Vary your intensity and rep ranges so that you can build in rest.
  • Don't force your body into doing something it can't. Usually you end up compromising necessary body position to compensate
  • Don't shrug your shoulders. Forward or up it doesn't matter. All it does is compromise your shoulder joint.

Dips with weights

  • Really nothing changes, except now you have to attach the weight some how.
  • Maintain strict form. If that's not possible, reduce the added weight.
  • I would love to know how do you breath during dipping
    – Ooker
    Jun 30, 2016 at 10:55
  • Since I'm on the heaver side of things, I just hold my breath during the dip and breathe at the top. Jun 30, 2016 at 13:16

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