Thursday, January 5, 2012

4 Things to Know About Offsets Dips

The purpose of dips is to strengthen muscles in the arm, shoulder and chest. Since dips are a body weight exercise, no equipment is required and they can be easily incorporated into a home or outdoor exercise program. To perform dips, place your hands on a bench, step or other stable surface and bend your arms to lower your hips. Press through your hands to straighten your arms. The exercise is easiest with feet flat on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees. Straightening one or both legs or lifting one foot off the floor will increase exercise difficulty. Dips also can be performed on a bar specifically made for this exercise, which increases difficulty even more because your feet are not in contact with the floor.

Muscles Used to Perform Dips

Dips involve movement at the shoulder and elbow joints, with stability of the shoulder blades and core also being important to successfully execute the exercise. At the shoulder, the anterior deltoid, middle deltoid, pectoralis major and pectoralis minor are working to control extension on the way down and cause flexion on the way up. The triceps are responsible for movement at the elbow during dips, controlling flexion on the way down and causing extension on the way up. The triceps are the primary muscle for this exercise.

Exercises to Strengthen Opposing Muscles

The muscles that directly oppose those in the dip exercise at the shoulder are the posterior deltoid, upper and middle trapezius, rhomboids and latissimus dorsi. In the arm, the triceps are opposed by the biceps. Body weight exercises that will strengthen these muscles are pullups and rows. Note that these exercises along with dips require simultaneous movement at the shoulder and elbow. These are multijoint exercises that are more functional and similar to real life movements, which are more effective to train the muscles.

Importance of Joint Stability

Stability of the shoulder joint also is essential to safely perform dips. As you lower your body, the shoulders should not hunch up and your body should remain upright with just a slight lean forward. The muscles responsible for maintaining stabilized shoulders are the lower trapezius, rhomboids, serratus anterior and rotator cuff muscles. If you are unable to maintain a stabilized shoulder joint, the exercise should be modified to one of the easier options, and strengthening of the shoulder stabilizers should be done before progressing to more difficult levels of dips. In addition, strength of the core stabilizers, transverse abdominis and obliques, also is important to keep the body from leaning forward too far or swinging as the exercise is performed. As with the shoulder stabilizers, moderate core strength is required to safely perform dips.

Importance of Balanced Joint Strength

The shoulder joint complex is made up of the humerus, clavicle, and scapula bones and is a very complicated joint in both structure and function. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body but because of this also is the most susceptible to injury. To ensure health of the shoulder, it is important to do a variety of exercises that strengthen muscles that stabilize and move the joint. Combining dips with either of the opposing exercises listed here, and performing them correctly, is a way to build both strength and stability of the shoulder.

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