Form Focus: Dips


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Dips

Muscle Groups: Chest and Trieps

Importance: Dips are a compound upper body exercise that are an excellent representation of upper body pushing strength.

Proper Form:

  1. Start by gripping a dip bar with your intended grip width where your hands will be placed underneath your shoulders (try to use a bar with handles no higher than your chest if possible; use a box or step if necessary)
  2. Keeping your grip, jump up into a position with locked arms and find a proper balance point
  3. Bend or cross your legs behind you so that they are comfortable and will not hit the ground on your descent
  4. Lean your torso slightly forward and begin to bend at the elbows to slowly descend
  5. Once your shoulders reach a point below your elbows, begin to re-extend the arms and drive yourself back up
  6. Lock your arms out at the top and get your chest back up at the end of each rep
  7. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions


  • Do not shrug your shoulders
  • Keep your forearms vertical throughout the movement
  • Do not let your elbows flare out
  • Keep your head in line with your torso and look at the floor out in front of you
  • Progressions/Regressions: Machine/partner assisted dips, dip negatives

Sample Workout:

  • 1 dip, 9 pull-ups
  • 2 dips, 8 pull-ups
  • 3 dips, 7 pull-ups
  • 4 dips, 6 pull-ups
  • 5 dips, 5 pull-ups
  • 6 dips, 4 pull-ups
  • 7 dips, 3 pull-ups
  • 8 dips, 2 pull-ups
  • 9 dips, 1 pull-up