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Weighted dips are an advanced variation of the chest dip exercise that works your triceps, chest, shoulders, and arm muscles.
To perform them, you add extra weight during the exercise by:
- wearing a dip belt with weights attached to it
- wearing a weighted vest or a heavy backpack
- holding a dumbbell between your ankles
Weighted dips should only be performed if you already have good upper body strength. If you’re new to weighted dips, try doing regular chest dips first to get the move down and build your strength.
This article will take a closer look at the benefits, technique, and variations of weighted dips.
Weighted dips can help strengthen the muscles in your:
When done correctly, weighted dips can add muscle mass to your upper body. This exercise can also help build your strength for other exercises like bench presses.
Another benefit of weighted dips is the ability to work opposing muscle groups at once. This is due to the fact that chest dips are a closed kinetic chain exercise.
With kinetic chain exercises, the hands or feet are pressed against an immovable surface — in this case, parallel bars. These exercises are beneficial because they work multiple opposing muscle groups at the same time and isolate the muscles you are trying to work.
Weighted dips are usually performed on a dip machine. These are sometimes called dip stands, dip stations, or parallel bars. Some gyms also have a dip assist machine, which uses weight to help push your body weight.
The other equipment you’ll need includes:
- a weighted dip belt
- weight plates
Due to the amount of equipment you need, you may want to do weighted dips at the gym.
If you want to perform them at home, you can purchase your own dip station online.
Smaller dip stations may also work for practicing chest dips. These are generally lighter weight and lower to the ground, so they may not fully support weighted dips.
Follow these steps to do weighted dips safely and with good form.
- Start by wrapping your dip belt around your waist, chain side in front. Take the chain end with the carabiner on it and drop it through the belt loop so the belt can tighten. Attach your weight plate to the dropped side before looping it around, and clip it back to the other side of your belt.
- Mount the dip bar facing outward. Hold onto the bars as you hold your body at arm’s length — arms and elbows straight and locked. Keep your head in line with your trunk, wrists in line with your forearms.
- Inhale as you slowly start to lower your body. Let your torso move slightly forward and your elbows to flare out to the side.
- Once you feel a stretch in your chest, breathe out and start to push yourself slowly back up to the starting position.
- Repeat the movement.
Try to perform 2 to 3 sets of up to 10 reps. Rest for several minutes between sets. If you’re new to this exercise, you may want to do fewer reps and sets until you’ve built up your strength.
Aim to do these exercises two to three times a week. Give your body 48 to 72 hours of recovery time before repeating the exercise.
To change up this exercise, you can try using a dumbbell instead of a dip belt and weight plate.
To do this, you’ll hold a dumbbell securely between your ankles. You can have someone place the dumbbell for you once you’re in position on the dip bar, and you’ll then do the exercise as described above.
You can also try wearing a weighted vest instead of a dip belt and weight plates. Another alternative is to use a backpack loaded with weights or other heavy items.
You can find weighted vests online.
Weighted dips are an advanced exercise. Before trying this exercise, be sure you can perform at least 10 reps of chest dips easily.
If not, you may want to focus on building your upper body strength by continuing to perform exercises, such as:
Adding weight to a chest dip exercise before your upper body is strong enough could lead to injury.
Pay attention to the following tips to help you stay safe when performing weighted dips:
- Lean slightly forward in the movement to make sure the move is working your chest.
- Keep your head and neck stable as you lean forward during the movement.
- Make sure your elbows bend to the side, not out to the back when you move up and down.
- Try to keep your legs stable — they can be either straight or with knees bent — to help isolate the movement to your upper body
Avoid doing weighted dips if you are pregnant or have an injury. Check with your doctor if you’re unsure if this exercise is right for you.
Weighted dips are a challenging exercise that can build strength and muscle mass in your chest, triceps, shoulders, and back.
Add them to your strength training routine every two or three days for best results. Be sure to allow for enough rest between sessions so your muscles can fully recover.
Try combining weighted dips with other exercises like incline barbell presses, dumbbell presses, and cable crossovers for a full chest and upper body workout. Always check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.