The bar dips are a classic upper-body exercise, that is effective enough to give good training with just the bodyweight alone as resistance.
If you are new to them, they might feel very stressed on your sternum and shoulders hence the need to gradually advance in them.
As the name suggests, the movement is called dips because you literally dip yourself in between two parallel bar structures or machines with your elbows at 90 degrees.
If your aim is to work your upper body, then read on to more on why this exercise should be part of your daily routine.
HOW TO DO BAR DIPS PROPERLY
- Grab the parallel bars, jump up and straighten your arms.
- Lower your body by bending your arms while leaning forward.
- Dip down until your shoulders are below your elbows.
- Lift your body up by straightening your arms and locking your elbows at the top. This is one rep.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
BAR DIPS TIPS TO CONSIDER
In order to avoid both shoulder and chest pain while performing this exercise, form is key. Do not let your shoulders roll forward and don’t shrug them either. Keep them back and down.
Only lower yourself until your shoulders are below your elbows, but do not go any lower as this could cause excessive strain to your shoulders.
Consider doing this exercise on fixed parallel bars and avoid ring dips.
If you lack the strength to do a complete dip, consider doing a negative, where you skip the way up for now and only do the way down.
To do this: grab the dip bars, jump up and straighten your arms. Lower yourself slowly until your shoulders are below your elbows, then put your feet on the floor and jump back on the dip bars with straight arms.
If you succeed in doing ten negative bar dips completely, then you can do one complete bar dip.
WHAT MUSCLES DO BAR DIPS WORK?
Your triceps straightens in order to move your body up. Located at the back of your upper arm, the triceps is the largest muscle in your arm.
The stronger it gets, the bigger your arms will look. Additionally, your forearms muscles also work to hold the bars tight.
SHOULDERS AND CHEST
Bar dips are like a vertical bench press. This is because you will be pushing your body up on dips like you are pressing the bar away on the bench.
Your upper arms are also parallel to the floor at the bottom and must get vertical to lockout. This will work your chest and shoulder muscles.
Your ab muscles work to keep your lower back neutral while your body moves up and down. They prevent your torso from arching excessively and keep it neutral.
This will develop the six-pack muscles running over your belly, which will show if you eat right.
BENEFITS OF BAR DIPS
This exercise will strengthen your triceps muscles at the back of your upper arm as well as deltoid muscles of the shoulders and finally the upper pectoralis muscles of your chest.
This will come in handy in performing your daily activities such as using your vacuum machine or opening the door.
This exercise will also help to keep your body in balance because numerous muscles will be working at the same time to ensure you balance on the bars.
If you participate in sports that involve a lot of pulling action, you will want to build and maintain strength in your triceps in order to keep your upper body muscles in balance.
This is exactly what this exercise will do for you.
ALLOWS YOU TO ADD EXTRA WEIGHT
As mentioned earlier, bar dips are effective by using the body weight as resistance.
However, if you need to make it more challenging, this exercise is more versatile and allows you to add extra weight. You can do this simply by wearing a dumbbell between your legs.
SUPERIOR TO PUSH-UPS
Push-ups are an excellent bodyweight exercise, however, they are not as good as bar dips. This is because, with dips, you are lifting your entire body weight while with push-ups, you are only lifting a portion of it.
As mentioned earlier in this piece, this exercise is a compound exercise that can work numerous muscles in your body at the same time.
This exercise is very customizable because you can add in weights for more challenges. Additionally, you can also lean forward to direct more focus on your chest instead of shoulders. Also, if you are experienced enough, you can shift from bars to CrossFit rings.
Apart from working your upper body, bar dips are an excellent way to increase flexibility in your shoulders and wrists.
REDUCE INJURY RISKS
Bar dips are a great way to make your joints stronger. Also, it uses a lot of stabilising muscles which will result to a more developed upper body.
With stronger joints and well-developed upper body muscles, you will reduce the risk of injuries when doing other exercises.
ALTERNATIVE EXERCISES TO BAR DIPS
Close grip bench press- This will target your triceps while improving your pressing ability in the bench press.
Decline bench press- This alternative will help you target your pecs.
Diamond push up- This alternative is good for improving the pressing mechanics of the triceps.
Plate pinch push- This alternative will target the muscles to your inner chest greatly.
Cable chest flys- This is an extreme machine alternative to bar dips. It targets the pecs at varying degrees.
COMMON BAR DIPS MISTAKES TO AVOID
Avoid rolling your shoulders as this could lead to injuries.
Avoid overarching your lower back as this could strain your core.
Avoid flaring your elbows as this could lead to injuries in your joints.
Regardless of your fitness goals, bar dips are a great addition to your workout plan. Even if you are a beginner, consider starting off slowly and gradually advancing to its intense variations.