GAIN MUSCLE AND STRENGTH WITH DIPS!
Hello to all,
Welcome to this new article dedicated to dips!
After writing an article on"Progressing very quickly with bodyweight at home" today we're going to discuss an essential strength training and street workout to master: dips 💪
The dips: a fundamental exercise of body weight training and street workout;in this article, we will first see how to strengthen yourself to be able to succeed in your first dips. We will see the perfect execution of the dips and its variations as well as those that must be avoided in order not to get injured.
Let's go 🔥
Warm-up and preliminary exercises
Material needed for the dips:
To do this, the simplest and most practical way would be to have access to dip barsBut if you have two stable pieces of furniture of the same height, it can also be done very well. The last preliminary exercises will be the assisted and negative dips, but I'll come back to that after I've detailed the perfect execution of the dips themselves, as we'll need them already at this stage to do things right.
So we're going to start things off at the beginning because before you learned to walk or do squats, you had to learn to stand. And for dips, it's exactly the same thing. Something that I don't see very often and that is a bit of a shame is the reinforcement of the active support position.
The perfect execution of the dips
For this position, you start by putting your hands facing each other with your thumbs around the bar, you get into a dips position and you want your wrists to be about above the bar (you don't want to be too far out or too far in, it should be comfortable).
Once you're in this position, you're going to want to make yourself as tall as possible by pushing your shoulder blades down and forward a little bit. You want to grow taller proudly, with your pecs pointing towards the ceiling.
Once you're there, you're going to want to extend your arms 99%, which means you don't want your arms to be in hyper extension. You want them to be a tiny bit bent so that it's your muscles supporting the weight and not the joints. You want to make sure you turn your elbows inward.
In this position, you are solid, you will contract your abs, your buttocks, your legs. If you don't have access to bars high enough to keep your legs straight, you can bend them back a little. But your whole body will still need to stay solid. Squeezing your legs together so that you stay well sheathed is a good technique.
You will have to hold on. You will get tired very quickly because staying like that and contracting your whole body is very tiring. To start strengthening yourself on this, what I advise you to do is to do as many sets as you need in a session to be able to hold this position for between 45 and 60 seconds in total. Ideally, you should hold this position for 30 seconds in a row.
Once you're in the position, it's a matter of bending at the elbow and going down to 90 degrees before coming back up. If your shoulder mobility allows you to go a little lower, you can, but that's really not the point. When learning to do dips, the goal is not to get as low as possible, but to have a full range of motion.
At the bottom of each repetition, you should stop for a quarter of a second before starting again just to make sure you don't bounce and use the force to go down and back up. The elbows should always stay along your body, they should not go to the sides.
The rest of your body should remain contracted and it will descend vertically as one unit. You don't swing in an arc, you don't bend at the hips as you descend, and you don't build momentum with your knees as you ascend. Remember to breathe in during the descent, breathe out during the ascent and keep your neck in a neutral position.
Little information: The position of the upper body can influence muscle recruitment. For example, the more we stand vertically , the more the triceps will have to work:
The more you bend forward, the more your pectoral muscles will be used:
Finally, if we keep our body straight, but lean forward even more, it is the shoulders that will work:
Be careful not to use this as an excuse to tighten the lumbar vertebrae and the shoulder blades in the back. To be avoided in order not to hurt yourself!
This is how to do dips properly, especially when our goal is to gain maximum strength and muscle mass.
Dips assisted with elastic band
The goal is to put the elastic band on the bar to assist you as well as possible and to put your knees on it. From there, it comes back to exactly the same movement as what we saw before, we go down to the right angle stopping at the bottom because otherwise we can simply bounce and it has no interest.
My advice is to choose a band that allows you to do two or three sets of 5 to 10 reps in a row and once you reach those 10 reps either loosen the band further so that it gives you less assistance, or switch to a thinner band until you don't need a band at all.
Poor execution, pain & injury
If you warm up well before training, go gradually and work well on the active dips support position, you should be ready and strong enough to do it perfectly. However, one pain that is quite often associated with dips is sternum pain at the bone, ribs, or even clavicles.
These pains are mainly present in young people between 20 and 25 years old because the ossification of the sternum is not yet finished, which makes it a little less thick. Putting a lot of pressure on it can indeed create pain, it is also possible that it happens when you do too much at once, too often or when you weight yourself too much. If you have this kind of pain, it means you need to slow down. Replace it with other exercises that don't hurt and wait a little while until you finish growing and then it will be much better!
To go further
Once the dips have become easy enough for you to do at least 8 to 10 in a row, you will be able to develop them further by starting to vary the support. First of all, you can do them on a single straight bar, which modifies the movement a little and makes the exercise a little more complicated, which is a very good idea if one of your next goals is the muscle up!
You can train to get them lower and lower, which will make it harder and better to transfer to the muscle up. By the way, the latter is precisely one of the final goals of my complete five-month Street Workout Evolution program.
But to come back to the dedicated progressions, you can also make them more and more explosive on parallel bars by projecting yourself a little, you can also attack the Russian dips which also requires more power and a little momentum to be able to come back to the position and you can also start Korean dips with a straight bar in the back, which complicates things quite a bit especially when you don't swing too much.
Finally, you can also do dips on gym rings, which gives you even more variation possibilities because it allows you to turn your hands and vary the width as you wish. But as you can imagine, the stabilization required to remain stable makes this exercise much more difficult than on a barbell. So again, I clearly advise you to start by working on mastering the active support position on rings, which is basically the same execution as on bars.
From there, when you are able to do about 15 dips in a row without any problem, there is not really any further progression. What is more interesting is clearly to start weighting your dips.
Weighted dips: the ultimate exercise to gain muscle and strength
In my opinion, weighted dips are some of the best exercises out there for gaining raw strength and muscle mass in the upper body, which will help you tremendously in learning any more advanced street workout tricks later on.
I hope you enjoyed this article! To see the video, click here.
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