... according to a guy at the german bodybuilding forum team andro.
He seems like a knowledgeable person (wrote > 10,000 posts) and only includes chest dips in his routine. No bench. He thinks bench press is problematic for most trainees. Trains using HST principles, with clusters.
Dips are better because of:
- higher load possible
- better stretch of pecs during the negative phase than bench press
- work more muscle mass
- easier on the shoulders compared to bench
He suggests the following form:
- narrow shoulder width grip, don't let elbows drift outwards, keep elbows close to body
- chest out & squeezed entire time
- keep shoulders back & down / retracted during entire movement
- lean forward
- pull heels toward butt
- keep forearms vertical the whole time, forearms don't move
- at the bottom keep stretch 1-3 secs
- don't lock out elbows at the top
- go as low as shoulder joint allows
I love dips, but as already mentioned, they can wreak havoc on your shoulders. Anything placing the elbow behind the body will tend to do that.
I much prefer loaded pushups, even with my partially torn supraspinatus I can go deep and get a good stretch at the bottom by placing my hands on a couple of steps or even DBs placed on end (beware of stability). The difficult part is loading, why didn’t anyone come up with a sturdy weight vest where you can just place plates in a back pocket or with a strap? The alternatives are kinda hard to quickly vary loading, and costs a fortune. Elastic bands are a viable option but you still miss out on loading in the stretched position where I feel it is most important to load the tissue.
There is one thing I want to ask: it is advised to keep the shoulders back and tight, chest out and to squeeze chest muscles.
In theory it sounds good but I have problems in practice.
When I do dips I have to focus a lot on keeping shoulder retracted and chest out but I find it somewhat difficult to squeeze the chest and bring chest muscles into play. I feel the most focus on anterior deltoid and back muscles, not so much on chest. Also the stretch at the bottom is felt mostly in shoulders, less in pecs.
Can somebody pls explain or give some cues on how to bring chest into focus?
- I also like pushups. I feel my chest muscles working much harder when doing push-ups than when I do dips.
- Myo-reps are great. I try to include them in my workout on a regular basis.
I tried doing dips at the end of my last cycle just for the hell of it. Managed 5 reps with 45lb hanging from my belt with ease; probably could have pushed it to around 60lb give or take, and maybe more once nervous system would catch up. Thing is, the next day, my rotator cuffs were on fire and my left one was popping everywhere. Took about two weeks for that to go away. I already had a long-healing AC joint injury so I'm cautious to do anything that would screw me up and the progress I've been saying over the past 9 months. DB bench has been one movement that's been increasing in leaps and bounds for the longest time so I think I'll leave my chest/tricep work to DB Bench and OHP. Not to mention being able to grab a DB set 10lb+ (5lb per side) heavier after each cycle and push out 5 reps is an ego booster for me.
Though, more power to those who don't have any issues with Dips though and can make good progress with it.
I am still trying to figure out what I am doing wrong in performing dips because it does not feel like the chest muscles are working a lot during my dips.
- Reduce the shoulder retraction a bit (keep shoulders back but not sqeeze blades together)?
I like push-ups but progression w/ HST might pose a problem. One way might be to do push-ups on a bench (feet also elevated on a chair or something), use a dip belt with some plates hanging down, belt around upper back not lower back as in dips.
Maybe it is about time for a book containing detailed exercise form. I read a few (among them Starting Strengths, Stuart McRobert, Bill Starr, Delavier) but I have never seen such a detailed description of dips as mentioned above by that guy, for example. I mean has anyone read the dips performance chapter in McRobert's book, it is pretty much useless...
I do weighted dips every workout. I don't necessarily feel an iolation-like pump in my pecs, but I definitely feel muscle activation all over... At the stretched position and through the bottom 1/3 of the movement I feel it in my pecs, toward the top I feel it most in my triceps. When I do do dips I lean forward a little, and I try to bend my legs forward. I was told a long time ago to do dips almost like you were pushing yourself up and out of a pool. Works for me and doesn't hurt either rotator cuff.
You could also get a chest harness from a climbing store, a carabiner and a short piece of chain. Attach weight plates, and the centre of gravity will be much higher than the regular dips belts, allowing you to lean forward throughout the movement.