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Weighted Dips 101

Dips are a fundamental movement for strength and muscular development.

It not only works the chest but also works your forearms, shoulders, triceps and core.

It’s truly a marvelous movement to train all muscle groups simeautenasously.

Dips also offer a deep stretch that you don’t get with a bench press, offering a completely different stimulus to your muscles.

But regular bodyweight dips can be lacking.

At first, they may be enough to get sufficient strength and muscle gains, but as you body adapts your bodyweight may not be enough to continue to progress and you will soon end up in a plateau.

This is usually the case once you can perform 15-20 reps and the exercise becomes an endurance exercise instead of a strength and hypertrophy workout.

Weighted Dips To The Rescue

Adding weight and making the dips more challenging is the perfect method to bypass the restrictions of bodyweight movements and break through plateaus!

By getting back into the rep ranges of 3-10 used for strength and hypertrophy.

What Muscles are worked in a Weighted Dip?

In a weighted dip, the pec major, pec minor, front belt, and all 3 heads of the triceps are being worked.

In addition, your serrates and core are worked to control the scapula and to control your balance.

Best Practices for Weighted Dips

Perform your warm up with body weight pushups and dips! Perform around 10 reps

Pick a weight vest, ankle weights or dip belt to add weight for the weighted dips.

Then add around half the weight you plan to use on your main sets and perform 3-5 reps.

Now you are sufficiently warmed up and are ready for your main sets!

When should you begin to add weight to your dips?

We recommend beginning to add weight once you can perform 10 perfect reps.

How much weight should I add on Weighted Dips?

Pick the amount of weight to use depends on a few factors.

If you are training for strength you should pick a weight that you can perform for 3-5 reps for 3 sets.

If you are training for hypertrophy pick a weight you can do for 8-12 reps for 3 sets.

If you are training for both pick a weight you can do for 6-8 reps for 3 sets.

However its also important to occasionally switch things up to prevent plateaus.

This means every 4th or 5th workout we recommend performing 3-5 heavy reps even if you prefer hypertrophy and performing 8-12 lighter reps even if you are aiming for strength.

Daily Undulating Periodization is a popular method for varying the rep range in each workout and is something we recommend looking into for weighted Dips.

Lastly, its important to not entirely stop doing bodyweight dips.

One of the most underrated things for training is volume. Bodyweight pull-ups are much easier on the body and can be trained more frequently and with more volume.

Therefore be sure to include at least one day a week where you focus on doing high rep bodyweight dips.

Weighted Dip Programming

Q. How many bodyweight dips should I be able to do before starting weighted dips?

We recommend being able ot perform 12 bodyweight dips with prefect form before adding weight.


Q.How often should you train weighted dips?

We recommend training weighted dips  1-2x  per week.


Q.Should you do them in the beginning middle or end of you workouts?

Since this is a brutal compound exercise , we recommend training this either 1st or 2nd in your workout.

Are Weighted Dips Safe?

Yes they are very safe and its a closed chain movement with zero spinal loading.

Since your scapula is free to move, we believe it is a much safer movement than the bench press where pec tears are common.

The only thing to be careful with is that you warm up properly as weighted dips add much more stress on the joints compared to bodyweight.

Furthermore, like in any new exercise don’t go too hard on your first few days! Otherwise you will get cramps and/or be have a lot of muscle soreness the next day.

Lastly, if you are using a dip belt, be cause to make sure the weights and belt is secured so they won’t fall on your toes!

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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