How to Do Dips at Home: 8 Ways to Do Dips Workouts in 2021

Are you planning how to do dips at home? Check out number of ways you can do the different variations of dips workouts at home!
✍️ Written by James Chandler
|
📅 Updated on August 4, 2021
|
🏷️ ,
🕒 17 minutes read
Chair Dips Home Workout
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Introduction

Are you looking to get a workout for your upper body with dips exercises? That is what this article is all about!

Dips workouts are one of the best upper body exercises in the fitness book. They are versatile and you can do them with and without equipment.

You will learn how to do dips at home so you won't have to step out of the house!

What Are Dips?

Dips is an upper body compound movement workout that involves the pushing action of your arms, but engaging your entire upper body to execute.

This will mean that dips will actually engage almost your entire upper body muscles.

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What Muscle Groups Do Dips Target?

Depending on which type of dips your movement focuses on, it'll target more of a certain group of muscles. See below for chest dips vs triceps dips.

how-to-do-dips-at-home
Doing dips with a chair

1. Chest Dip (Torso slightly lean forward)

If you are focusing on more of your pectoralis major (chest), then the chest dips will be more useful to maximise gains on your chest.

Chest dips movement generally focuses on your torso learned forward slightly so that the weight is shifted forward, hence engaging more of your chest muscles to execute the movement.

2. Triceps Dip (Torso slightly lean backward)

If you are focusing on more of your triceps, then the triceps dips will be more useful to maximise gains on your arms.

Chest dips movement generally focuses on your torso learned backwards slightly so that the weight is shifted towards the back, hence engaging more of your arms muscles to execute the movement.

Dips exercises will target your pectoralis major (chest), triceps (muscles behind your biceps), deltoids (shoulders) and also your back muscles.

Dips is able to do so because the movement will force your entire upper body to support the resistance (bodyweight or with weights), so complete 1 repetition (we'll get to this later).

When executing a dip exercise, you are able to work a much wider range of the chest muscles.

This is because due to the angle and movement of your arms, you will also target the outer area of your chest muscles at the side as compared to a bench press or push-ups.

Unlike push-ups which the load is mostly the upper half of your body, dips will allow you to make your muscles work harder, hence maximizing your gains.

On top of that, because you are engaging less of your shoulder muscles, the chest or triceps muscles are forced to be engaged further for pushing back, hence having more gains.

Last but not least, the entire movement of dips will also engage your core muscle which is important for you to maintain a balanced posture to prevent any unnecessary injuries.

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Why Should You Do Chest Dips?

They Are Great Workout To Build Your Upper Body

As mentioned earlier, dips will engage your upper body muscle groups.

Bench presses and push-ups are not the only popular way to build up your upper body.

If you are looking to build up mass or gain more strength in your upper body, dips exercises are recommended to be included in your workout routine.

They Are Versatile

Dips exercises on its own are very versatile.

By just tweaking and changing your positioning and movement, you will be able to change from a compound movement to just targeting specific muscle groups of the upper body.

By changing on where you do your dips (eg chairs or bars), you will also be able to target and focus on the different upper body muscles for your workouts.

They Can Be Done At Home Or Gym Or Anywhere

Gyms have parallel bar that allows you to do your dips.

But the good thing about dips is that they are not confined to the space within the gym or your workout studios.

Even after a run in the park will mean you are able to do some dips on a bench. 

Even if you do not wish to leave your home, you can even do dips at home (which we'll share more later).

You can be working out your upper body at the comfort of your own home, all the more reason why you should incorporate dips exercises in your workouts.

No more days of worrying of not being able to get a workout done due to the lack of equipment or being unable to make it all the way to the gym.

Do take note that dips do have a high risk of injury if not executed properly. There have been evidence to prove so here: Teaching techniques of dips

Let's dive into how we can do dips at home!

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Different Dips Exercise Variations You Can Do

Dips exercise mostly involve the same type of movement of bending your elbows and pushing yourself back into the starting position while engaging your upper body strength.

Here are some of the different dips exercise you can do at home!

1. Chair Dips (Chest)

Chair Dips are one of the most popular variation of dips exercises! No points for guessing that you require a chair to execute this exercise.

You will need two identical sturdy and stable chairs without any wheels (the chair must be able to hold your bodyweight at the minimum).

Place the chairs facing each other with a gap just nice about your shoulder width apart.

Position yourself in between the gap and place your hands on top of the seat of the chairs.

Straighten your elbows (but do not lock it) and lift your feet of the ground (bend your knees if your chair height is not high enough). This will be your starting position.

Lean slightly forward and bend your elbows (do not go beyond 90 degrees), and then push yourself back up. This will be considered as one repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off by just tip-toeing so your legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to lifting both feet off the ground.
  • Remember to focus on your pectoralis major (chest) more than your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

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2. Chair Dips / Bench Dips (Triceps)

Chair Dips are one of the most popular variation of dips exercises! No points for guessing that you require a chair to execute this exercise.

This is another alternative dip to target more of the triceps muscles. You will need just one chair to perform and execute this workout.

Sit yourself on the chair and place your palm on the seat of the chair.

Slowly lift your butt off and walk your legs slightly forward until your butt is slightly away from the chair.

Slowly bend your elbows (do not go past your shoulder joints), and then push yourself back up and that will be 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off with bent legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to straightening your legs so that more load will be transferred to the upper body for more gains.
  • Remember to focus on the movement of your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

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3. Kitchen Counter Dips (Chest)

If your home kitchen counter is built in a way there is a corner that you can fit yourself into, then this is another alternative dip workout to do.

Place your hands on each side of the counter in the corner.

Lift yourself off the ground and straighten your elbows (remember not to lock it).

Slowly bend your elbows (do not go past your shoulder joints), and then push yourself back up and that will be 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off by just tip-toeing so your legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to lifting both feet off the ground.
  • Remember to focus on your pectoralis major (chest) more than your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

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4. Portable Parallel Bars Or Similar (Chest Dips)

If you have recently invested in a parallel bar equipment in your home, great news! Here is another alternative that can incorporate into your current workout routine.

If you do not have one, try looking around your home if you can find anything that is the same height and parallel to one another.

An example that most people came up with is the space between the foot of your bed and the dressing table right next to it.

Another example could be place a stable chair next to a window, and place 2 similar strong and sturdy objects (that can hold your weight without breaking) on the chair (to serve as your parallel bars).

So now that you have found a parallel bar (or a makeshift one), steady your hands on the bars.

Lift yourself off the ground and straighten your elbows (remember not to lock it).

Slowly bend your elbows (do not go past your shoulder joints), and then push yourself back up and that will be 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off by just tip-toeing so your legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to lifting both feet off the ground.
  • Remember to focus on your pectoralis major (chest) more than your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below! These are some of the examples you can find at home to make your own parallel dip bars.

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5. Back of A Couch (Chest Dips)

If your couch is big and sturdy with a strong and deep width, then this could be another chest dip alternative for you to do at home.

Place both your hands on top of the the back of the couch and steady yourself.

Lift yourself off the ground and straighten your elbows (remember not to lock it). Bend your knees if your couch is not tall enough.

Learn foward slightly and slowly bend your elbows (do not go past your shoulder joints), and then push yourself back up and that will be 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off by just tip-toeing so your legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to lifting both feet off the ground.
  • Remember to focus on your pectoralis major (chest) more than your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

Fast forward to 1:14 for a guide on this front dips on the back of the couch.

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6. Couch Seat (Tricep Dips)

If your couch is big and sturdy with a strong and deep width, then this could be another chest dip alternative for you to do at home.

Sit yourself on the couch and place your palm on the seat of the couch.

Slowly lift your butt off and walk your legs slightly forward until your butt is slightly away from the chair.

Slowly bend your elbows (do not go past your shoulder joints), and then push yourself back up and that will be 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off with bent legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to straightening your legs so that more load will be transferred to the upper body for more gains.
  • Remember to focus on the movement of your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

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7. Floor Dips (Tricep Dips)

What happens if your entire home is empty at the moment or you have no furniture or equipment steady enough to hold your bodyweight?

You can use the floor!

Although the movement is limited and you will not capitalize on a full range of a dip motion, you can still get quite a workout on some parts of your triceps.

A workout is still a workout! This could be an alternative to the push-ups as well.

Sit on the floor with your palm and feet on the ground.

Your palm should be slightly behind your shoulders and your feet about one arms length from your butt, knees facing upwards.

Lift your butt off the ground and slowly bend your elbows, and then push yourself back up and that will be 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off with bent legs are still taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to straightening your legs so that more load will be transferred to the upper body for more gains.
  • Remember to focus on the movement of your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

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8. TRX Dips / Suspension Straps Dips / Resistance Bands Dips (Chest Dips)

If you have recently invested in a TRX or suspension straps, there are alternative dips that you can execute as well.

Resistance bands will work too but it must be able to support your bodyweight (in case it snaps).

Find a sturdy place within your home that you can hook the TRX straps to (eg top of your door or garage if you have one).

Start by being in a standing position with your hands on the handles right below the anchor point of the strap.

Straighten your arm (do not lock your elbows) and being them infront of you.

Slowly lean forward until your body is about 60 degrees from the ground with your palms facing the ground.

Bend your elbows (without going past your shoulder joints) and then push yourself back up. This will be considered as 1 repetition.

PROTIP:

  • For beginners, start off with knees on the ground instead taking some of the load off your upper body.
  • Slowly progress to straightening your legs so that more load will be transferred to the upper body for more gains.
  • Remember to focus on the movement of your arms.
  • Do not bend your elbows past your shoulders or you may put too much pressure on your shoulder joints and increase the risk of injuries.

If you need more visual reference to execute this exercise, you can watch the video below!

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✅ Tips On Dips

Now that we have shared the different dips exercises that you can execute from home, do remember some tips that you can take note while performing the exercises.

Safety

Dips are considered a challenging workout even with the beginners' tips that we provided earlier.

The movement of dips involves the shoulder joints (which are prone to injuries).

If not done correctly, your shoulder might give way, resulting in an unforeseen accident and injury.

Some things to take note will be:

  • Elbows do not cross the shoulder joints.
  • Shoulders should not be over-extended

Progression

Dips are considered a challenging workout even with the beginners' tips that we provided earlier.

You can add resistance to your workout once you are comfortable with your bodyweight resistance.

Some things to take note will be:

  • Start off with just bodyweight before progressing with added resistance
  • Perform at least 12 repetitions per set for 4-5 sets before progressing with resistance
  • Add weights progressively and do not rush your gains

You can carry a backpack filled with books or other heavier items, and work your up the scale.

However, if you have reached a plateau and wants to go further, you might want to invest in a weighted vest for that added resistance.

Conclusion

In summary, the exercises provided in this list will definitely help you out to build up your upper body strength and mass.

You can also do most of the workouts at home without much equipment. Most of the things you can already find inside your own home.

Now you can workout anytime you want at your own time.

If you have any other alternative dips exercises that you find beneficial, do let us know in the comments and we'll add them to this list!

Don't forget to fuel the gains with the best optimum nutrition whey protein flavor!

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👍 This article is written by James Chandler
James Chandler is a freelance personal fitness trainer that specialise in crossfit and bodyweight workouts, where he teaches people of all ages and fitness levels how to get strong and healthy.  His clients range from world class athletes to non-athletes who just want to feel and look great. When he is not training his clients or training for an event, he is in the gym training hard. He uses this platform to spread his knowledge on fitness and help as many people as possible.

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