What Muscles Do Dips Workout? Discover the Surprising Answer for the First Time

I know you have been trying to do the dips and found it rather difficult. Well, it really is challenging. It’s an advanced workout routine that requires upper body strength. But, what muscles do dips work? How do you perform proper dips? What do I get from doing dips?

These questions will lead you to better understanding the importance of the exercise routine and avoid injury when doing it. It is important to carefully follow safety precautions to preserve your rotator cuff. You don’t want it torn!


The Muscles Involved

Dips is a variation of the basic push up which is performed upright instead of on the floor. This routine is a compound exercise involving numerous muscles of the arms, chest, shoulders and the core.

As you mount the parallel dip bars and lock your elbows, your triceps are fully contracted. The forearms and deltoids are also contracted together with the trapezius muscles at the back. The lateral side of the pectoral muscle is engaged.

As you lower down your body, the weight is dispersed roughly through the whole upper body to maintain balance and gradually transferred to the pectoral muscle and the trapezius muscle. As you lift yourself up, the triceps shortens and the chest muscle contracts to pull you up to the first position.

During the whole process, the core muscle is engaged to maintain the spinal column straight.

Looking at the muscles involved in the first position and the lift, it may seem that dips are relatively easy. Well, I know you have tried it, and you have found it to be more difficult than how it looks.

If you are a beginner, I bet you never made it past ten repetitions! But that’s okay because training will make you stronger! That’s why you are here in the first place, to make the most out of your workout!

How To Do A Proper Dip

There is two popular variations of the dips exercise. One focuses on the chest muscles and the other targets the triceps. Do make a mental note and be mindful of doing this exercise because the elbows and shoulders flare in an awkward position.

Making an error can result in an injury. If you are not ready to do this yet, you may want to do assisted dips before moving to the more difficult routine. Make sure you have prepared yourself and did plenty of upper body workouts to strengthen your upper body and bring your exercise to the next higher level.

To do a dip focused on the chest muscle, you should do the following.

Doing Chest Dips

Chest dips focus on developing the muscles of the chest. The goal is to channel and bear most of the weight on your chest. All the other muscles involved mentioned above still work to do a dip.

1. Grasp the handle of the parallel bar firmly. If the bars are not knurled, make sure it is rubberized to avoid slipping.

2. Make sure your elbows are parallel to your body and not pointing outwards. Elbows that are awkwardly pointing outwards may lead to tearing off your rotator cuff.

3. Lean slightly forward and bear your weight on your chest.

4. Lift your feet off the ground and cross your legs while keeping your core tight.

5. Gently lower yourself just before your shoulder locks. Be very careful in lowering yourself as this is the part where you may get an injury.

6. Lift yourself up while leaning forwards to maximize the contraction of the chest muscle.

7. Continue raising yourself just before your elbow locks and repeat the process.

Doing Triceps Dips

Performing a triceps dips variation is almost the same as the chest dips. The only adjustment you will do is the stance. Instead of leaning forward, you must maintain your body parallel to your forearms throughout the whole process.

The triceps is a relatively small muscle, and you may notice that it tires easily. Just do the maximum repetition you could perform and repeat on an interval of 2-3 days for maximum recovery.

Benefits of Doing Dips

The obvious benefit of exercise is gaining strength. You can build muscle with good form and proper execution of exercise! Combine this with proper diet, nutrition, and some multivitamin for body building, you can expect to gain mass quickly.

But aside from the obvious gains, there are other aspects that can benefit from this exercise. This is a compound exercise that involves several muscle groups which make it a great exercise.

The flexors and pronator muscle of the forearms are developed aw sell while doing dips. You will be surprised at how much stronger your grip can be. Forearm grip is something that is often neglected. But as we age, falls are the most common cause of broken hips!

Having a strong grip can save you from dreadful falls. The flexors and pronators are fine muscles that are not much involve in other exercises. Dips can help you develop your grip and avoid debilitating injury in the future.

A strong core is often attributed to thousands of ab work out. But aside from crunches, dips can also help you gain a strong core. It may not be obvious, but your flexibility, balance, and posture are also improved.

If you take it seriously, dips and other forms of physically stimulating exercise can help you maintain weight and gain confidence too!


Dips is a great workout routine. Many muscle groups of the upper body are involved and can be potentially developed when done properly and consistently.

Just bear in mind to take necessary precautions when performing this routine as it may potentially cause injury if you lack the strength to do so. If you are not confident enough, you may want to have assistance from your local gym instructor or your gym buddy.

You may have wondered what muscles do dips work, now, I hope you have learned a thing or two! If you had fun reading this post, leave me a message or contact me on the comments section below. I will be happy to answer your questions and help you with your query! Feel free to share this page!

Emily Brathen

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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