Dip (exercise)

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Dip exercise using a dip bar

The dip or push-ups is an exercise used in strength training. Narrow, shoulder-width dips primarily train the triceps, with major synergists being the anterior deltoid, the pectoralis muscles (sternal, clavicular, and minor), and the rhomboid muscles of the back (in that order).[1] Wide arm training places additional emphasis on the pectoral muscles, similar in respect to the way a wide grip bench press would focus more on the pectorals and less on the triceps.[2] Proper form is important to avoid putting undue stress on the wrists.

Classic meaning[edit]

In past decades, the term 'floor dip' was used in place of what is now called a press-up or push-up.[citation needed]

Modern meaning[edit]

To perform a dip, the exerciser hangs from a dip bar or from a set of rings with their arms straight down and shoulders over their hands, then lowers their body until their arms are bent to a 90 degree angle at the elbows, and then lifts their body up, returning to the starting position. Short people are able to cope better with a narrower grip, but not with a wider one.[3][unreliable source?]

Due to natural flexibility in the shoulder joints, it is important to try to "lock" them as much as possible during this exercise. Otherwise, the supporting rotator cuffs may become strained.


Usually dips are done on a dip bar, with the exerciser's hands supporting his or her entire body weight. For added resistance, weights can be added by use of a dip belt, weighted vest, or by wearing a backpack with weights in it. A dumbbell may also be held between the knees or ankles. For less resistance, an assisted dip/pull-up machine can be used which reduces the force necessary for the exerciser to elevate their body by use of a counterweight. One may also use resistance bands hooked under their feet to help if they lack the strength to properly perform a dip.

In the absence of this equipment, a lighter variation of the dip can be performed called the "Bench Dip". The hands are placed on one bench directly underneath the shoulders or on two parallel benches.[4] The legs are straightened and positioned horizontally; the feet rest on another bench in front of the exerciser. This variation trains the upper body muscles in a similar though not exact manner as the normal dip, whilst reducing the total weight lifted by a significant amount. This exercise can be done also off of the edge of a sofa, a kitchen counter, or any surface that supports the lifter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Triceps plonk skeleton,doodkDip". exrx.net. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Chest Dip". exrx.net. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Boulder Shoulders: The Best Shoulder Workout". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Chest Dip (between benches)". exrx.net. Retrieved 3 September 2013.