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Weighted Dips: Your Ultimate Solution to Building Your Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Muscles

Mark Robertson
Weighted Dips: Your Ultimate Solution to Building Your Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Muscles
Table Of Contents

A bodybuilder's body is the product of hard work, dedication, and discipline. As Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." If you want to build up your body just like how sculptor's chisel out a marble from stone, then you would have to practice every day-the same training routine done over and over again without fail until it becomes second nature to you.

One bodybuilding exercise that has stood the test of time and is still very popular among bodybuilders today is weighted dips. Aside from being an upper-body workout, weighted dips can also help develop your chest, shoulders, and triceps muscles.

Weighted dips are typically performed with weights, but they can also be done using bodyweight alone - for this variation, you can intensify the movement by adding weight to your body such as dumbbells or a weighted plate, and slowly increase it over time as your body starts to adapt.

Why Weighted Dips are the Ultimate Chest, Shoulders, and Tricep Solution

Some bodybuilders avoid weighted dip because they think that a dip bar is for chest building only. The fact is, however, the dip is an exercise that targets the triceps and shoulders in addition to the pectorals (the three muscle groups responsible for making your arms look big).

When dips are performed with proper form, they allow a bodybuilder to target all three aforementioned muscle groups.

Weighted dips are often the only way bodybuilders can achieve optimal development of their shoulders and triceps since these muscles often fail to receive enough stimulation when traditional pressing exercises like barbell bench presses and dumbbell shoulder presses are utilized.

Weighted dip allows bodybuilders to take bodyweight-only exercises one step further by adding load. The added weight works the muscles harder (by lifting more weight), which in turn builds the body up faster.

What Are The Benefits of Weighted Dips

The benefits of bodyweight dips are numerous, including:

  • Strengthens chest muscles; allows you to focus on muscle tension rather than bodyweight, which means that you can build better definition and work on muscular balance (for example, it is difficult to develop chest muscles without also developing shoulder and tricep strength); targets the body's fast-twitch muscle fibers, which create body shape and size
  • Strengthens the triceps; trains bodybuilder to keep their heads up when doing chest exercises, which improves body position and body mechanics (because you are less likely to fall forward and injure yourself when your body is aligned properly)
  • Works the front deltoids (which bodybuilders often miss when doing barbell bench presses), increasing the bodybuilder's ability to create a V-taper
  • Allows you to work the body from a different angle, potentially allowing them to stimulate new muscle growth and improve body symmetry

How To Do Weighted Dips

Weighted bodyweight dips are performed with a dip bar. They involve dipping down from an upright position until your upper arms touch or almost touch your sides (a 90-degree angle) and then pushing back up. The body is lowered until the bodybuilder's elbows are at least 100 degrees and the body position is upright on the way up.

Weighted bodyweight dips can be performed using two different grips: close grip or wide grip. Close-grip bodyweight dips target more of the chest, while wide-grip bodyweight dips target more of the triceps and shoulders.

Weighted bodyweight chest dips can also be performed using body positioning to focus on specific parts of the pectoral muscles. For example, bodybuilders with sloping chests (also known as “poor posture”) may want to lower their body until it is perpendicular to the floor

Tips for Doing Dips

  • Make sure that your body is aligned properly. This will make weighted dips easier and safer to do. When weighted dip sets are done with proper form, the body's hands, arms, shoulders, and back should stay in a straight line throughout the exercise movement (as in this picture).
  • Grip the barbell or dip handles firmly but do not grip so hard that you lose control or have to hold the weighted dip bar with a death grip.
  • Slowly lower your body: this will make it easier to get back up and also minimize muscle tearing in the shoulders, chest, and triceps.
  • If weighted dips are new for you, start by doing weighted dips twice per week with a day of rest in between weighted dip workouts. This will allow your body to adjust to the weighted dips and prevent overtraining.
  • To help activate your chest muscles, keep your elbows tucked in; this will create more tension for the chest muscles as they contract to keep your upper arms in close.
  • To help activate your triceps and shoulders, keep the elbows out; this will create more tension for the tricep muscles as they contract to keep your upper arms parallel to the floor.

Side Effects of Dips

Weighted dips are excellent, but all weighted exercises should be performed with caution.

Weighted dips put additional stress on the shoulders joints, which sometimes cannot handle this pressure; only weighted dips that are done carefully and correctly should be attempted.

Weighted dips can be tough on the chest and triceps muscles, so weighted dips should only be attempted by bodybuilders who are already at least somewhat familiar with these exercises.

Effects of Weighted Dips on Overall Health

Weighted dips work your upper body muscles as they contract to keep your upper arms in close, but weighted dips also encourage you to engage the abdominal muscles to help keep balance. This is why weighted dips are good exercises to help strengthen your core.

Weighted dips also work on balance and coordination: weighted dip exercises might be a bit more challenging at first, but weighted dip exercises improve your ability to maintain balance on weighted bodyweight exercises over time.

Weighted dips are a good way for bodybuilders to build upper arm muscles, but weighted dips also show benefits for the heart and diaphragm (your breathing muscle). Weighted dips encourage healthy respiratory function by strengthening the diaphragm.

Are Weighted Dips Better Than Bench Press?

This depends on your goals. Weighted dips are a good option where a bench press may not be appropriate (at home, in the office, etc.).

Weighted dips work many different muscles than bench press does: weighted bench press applies force through the chest and arms, while weighted dips apply force through the chest and arms as well as the shoulders and core. This is why weighted dips are sometimes called weighted dip flies.

Weighted dips use the added weight to build muscles at a faster rate than weighted bench press does. Weighted dips may not build traditional "size" as rapidly as a bench press can, but weighted dips build lean muscle tissue which usually burns more fat when you workout, and have more toned, sculpted muscles than a bench press can.

What Equipment Do You Need for Weighted Dips

Weighted dips can be performed using two exercise pieces of equipment: a weighted dip belt and a weighted vest.

It is ideal to have both items because weighted dips can be difficult to perform and a weighted dip belt with a chain is needed while you are learning how to do weighted dips.

After you learn how to weighted dips correctly, however, it is recommended that you purchase a weighted vest.

What is a Dip Belt?

A weighted dip belt or a dipping belt is a weighted workout accessory that attaches around your waist. It gives you the ability to add weight to dipping exercises such as weighted parallel bar dips.

Dipping belts have two D-rings on either side that gets locked in by looping the chain through both ends and then attaching the carabiner like in the diagram below. 

Mastering bodyweight exercises first is a good way to build your muscles. Before you do other workouts, you need to learn how to work your muscles by yourself.

As a beginner, you probably notice that a lat pulldown machine is easier to use than doing a pull-up.

For some people, it might be hard to do the pull-up. If you can't lift your own body weight, don't use an external load that will also require you to use stabilizing muscles.

Even if you are starting with higher body weight, it's still good to work on losing fat and getting stronger, and mastering your own body weight before you hit the weight room.

Once you get stronger in bodyweight exercises, it will be harder to progress. This is where a dipping belt will help you and come in handy.

DMoose dip belt is a great choice because they are reasonably priced and made from comfortable materials that won't itch or irritate your skin. If you're looking for more great fitness products, then check out our store.


Weighted dips exercise is a great chest, shoulder, and triceps exercise that can also be used to stimulate the pectorals muscles in different ways (e.g., by lowering your body so it is perpendicular to the floor). Weighted dips are also good for targeting these three major muscle groups because weighted dip sets can be done in high volume.

Weighted dips are best performed using a weighted belt with a chain because weighted dip sets are difficult to perform correctly and weighted dip belts with a chain make weighted dips easier.

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Mark Robertson

Mr. Robertson is a competent writer, and speaker who specializes in helping families transition to plant-based lifestyles. He believes awareness, evidence-based information, and humor are three key ingredients for leading a healthy life.

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