How to Do a Bar Dip: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Dips are a body-weight compound exercise that can help you build upper body strength.

Raise yourself on two dip bars with straight arms to perform a proper Dip. Lower your body until your shoulders are below your elbows, then push yourself back up until your arms are straight again.

To maintain proper form during Dips, keep your shoulders back and down, and only lower yourself until your shoulders are below your elbows.

How much weight should you lift to see results?

For best results, stick with the fixed Dip bars rather than alternative forms such as Ring Dips. With correct form, doing Dips can make a big difference in developing the chest, shoulder, back and arm muscles.

Doing dips is an important way to target the arms, not just for those wanting to build arm strength but also as a complementary exercise for other lifts like the squat.

It’s crucial to understand proper form when doing this move and it pays dividends in terms of results.

This guide covers proper form for doing dips, as well as variations like weighted dips.

How to do a Dip With Proper Form

To perform a proper dip exercise, follow these steps: 

Step 1: Start by gripping the parallel bars (or rings) with your hands, and then hoist yourself up so that your elbows are slightly bent. Make sure to look straight ahead and contract your abdominal muscles throughout the entire exercise.

Step 2: At this point, you can optionally bend your knees slightly to help with stabilization, but make sure to keep your head up and look straight ahead at all times. 

Step 3: Begin to lower yourself down until your triceps are parallel to the floor. It is important not to go lower than this, as it puts too much strain on the shoulder joints at an awkward angle which could lead to injury or discomfort. 

Step 4: Once you reach parallel, begin pushing back up until you return to the starting position where you began with slightly bent elbows. Repeat this movement for as many sets and reps as desired. 

Step 5: Upon completion of a set, rest for a few seconds before moving onto the next set and repeat steps 1-4 until finished with the desired number of sets and reps.

What Muscles Do Dips Work?

Parallel bar dips are an excellent exercise for strengthening the chest and upper arms.

This type of dip targets several muscle groups by using the body’s own weight, including the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, front deltoids, rhomboid, latissimus dorsi, and levator scapulae.

Participants can see an impressive increase in strength and muscle tone as they progress through their dip routine with proper form and technique.

Users may want to lean forward during the exercise to put more emphasis on the chest muscles rather than the tricep muscles to enhance the experience and produce better results.

When it comes to dip workouts, this minor change can help users maximize their growth potential.

Muscles Worked When Doing Dips

Dips are an incredibly effective exercise as they engage more than just your triceps.

In addition to working your triceps, dips also target your shoulders, chest and back muscles, making it a compound exercise that is ideal for increased strength.

With more muscle engagement due to the compound nature of this exercise, you can go heavier when doing dips than with exercises that only target a single muscle group.

Muscles worked on Dips are:


The triceps are a crucial element for developing strong, muscular arms. As the largest muscle on the back of the upper arm, a strong tricep will enhance both arm size and strength.

Regularly performing exercises that target the tricep will result in increased mass, power, and endurance.

In addition to toning the tricep muscles themselves, forearm muscles also work to keep bars secure during exercises such as pullups or chin-ups.

Chest & Shoulders

Dips are an excellent exercise for developing the chest and shoulders.

Dips, as opposed to the Bench Press, involve pushing your body up in a vertical motion rather than horizontally pressing the bar away.

To effectively work the targeted muscles, proper form must be maintained so that the upper-arms can reach a parallel position to the floor at the bottom and become completely vertical at lockout.

It is important to keep the right form when doing dips so that you can work your muscles as much as possible.


Keeping the lower back in a neutral position while the body moves is essential to maintain proper posture, and this action is supported by the abdominal muscles.

The rectus abdominus muscles are especially helpful here, as they provide extra stability to the torso and protect it from excessive arching.

Through regular exercise, these core muscles can be strengthened and toned, which leads to improved posture and a more aesthetically pleasing “six pack” look of the stomach. 

The Bench Press, Pushups and Dips all work the same muscles, but depending on your goals, you may want to add additional load.

On the Bench you can easily add weight by loading plates onto a barbell. If you want heavier Dips, you can use a dip belt for the extra resistance.

When it comes to pushing your limits with weighted Pushups, things get a bit more complex you may need an x-vest or chains around your neck to up the intensity, or recruit someone to put a plate on your back while doing Pushups.

Parallel Bar Dip Benefits

A fantastic exercise for changing between back, shoulder, and chest exercises is the parallel bar dip.

Without using barbells or dumbbells, it enables you to move through a wide range of motion at the shoulder and elbow.

Simply add more weight by putting weight plates between your feet or attaching them to a dip belt when you discover that you can perform 2 or more reps more than your target count.

This workout is excellent for strengthening and toughening up your arms, chest, and upper body.

How much weight should you lift to see results?

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