Repping out sets of dips —either weighted or with body weight—is a surefire way to build a bonafide pair of chesticles. The multijoint move stretches your chest for a greater flood of nutrient-rich blood and taxes muscle fibers.
Unless you’re doing them wrong, in which case you just increase your chance of injuring your shoulders and elbows. But that won’t happen if you follow advice from Matt Pudvah, C.S.C.S., the head strength coach at the Sports Performance Institute at the MAC in Manchester, MA.
You want your wrists to be stacked, meaning not bending one way or the other, according to Pudvah. “Your shoulders will like it much better,” he says. “You’ll keep everything more aligned, your forearms will be better activated, and if you add weight to dips and your wrists are bent, it really hurts.”
If you dip fully erect (we mean your body, perv), then you risk injuring your rotator cuff and losing chest activation. “Keep your shoulders pinched down and back and lean forward so you’re at a 45-degree angle,” Pudvah says. “At the bottom of your dip, you should look like you’re in a bentover row position.”
“Your neck and traps are going to be strained if your head is out of whack,” Pudvah explains. The solution: Keep your neck packed down and your head in line with your spine.
A lot of dipping bars are V-shaped, and too many people take an extra-wide grip. “It’s going to put a ton of strain on the elbow,” Pudvah says. “You want your arms perpendicular to the floor.” Translation: Keep your elbows tucked in at around 45 degree
Are you strong enough to do weighted dips? That’s great, but not if you load a chain around your neck. “I see this a lot, in the gym and on Instagram. You’re just exacerbating poor head posture and rounded shoulders,” Pudvah says. “Instead, squeeze a dumbbell between your legs or add weight to a dip belt.”