Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things to Know About Chest Strengthening Dips

The chest muscles, formally called pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, can be targeted in various exercises. Bar dips are traditionally used for exercising the triceps brachii, which is positioned in the back of your arm between your elbow and shoulder. However, with a slight modification you can use bar dips to exercise the chest muscles as well.

Chest Anatomy

The pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor, "pecs" for short, are located above the abdominal muscles and below the neckline. The pectoralis major has two heads located at the clavicle, which can be targeted with incline bench presses, and the sternum which can be targeted with a flat bench press and the chest dips. Additionally, the chest dip also targets the pectoralis minor, which is located on the outside of the pectoralis major. The pectoralis minor is attached to the third, fourth and fifth ribs.

Muscular Strength

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), muscular strength can be attained through anaerobic training with repetitions in the range of four to 12. Make sure to choose a weight that's challenging but still allows you to complete the desired amount of reps within this range. The lower the reps, the heavier the weight, which is designed to build power and maximum strength. Use a weight belt with an attachment chain for plates or a dumbbell to increase the weight on chest dips. Add enough weight so you can still perform these chest dips in three sets of four to 12 reps.

Chest Dips

Chest dips require use of a bar dip apparatus. To begin, grab each bar and push yourself up so that your bodyweight is shifted to your hands and your feet are off the floor. As you lower yourself toward the ground, lean your torso forward at a 45-degree angle. As you lean forward and lower yourself, your elbows are allowed to flare out. Lower yourself until the bottom portion of your chest is even with the bars, pause for a second and then push yourself back up. To prevent injuries to your elbow and shoulder joints, do not lock your elbows at the top when you push back up and do not rock back and forth during the movement. Perform this exercise in three sets of four to 12 reps.


Seek a consultation with a personal trainer before attempting chest dips. He or she can evaluate if this exercise is appropriate for your fitness level. Additionally, a personal trainer can teach you proper form, how to use the equipment properly and safety. If you feel any pain in your chest, elbows, or shoulders while performing this exercise, stop immediately and see your doctor. He or she should be able to diagnose the cause for this pain.

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