Parallel bar chest dips, assisted or not, are an excellent and efficient muscle builder. Unlike traditional triceps dips, this version will place additional emphasis on your chest.
The ultimate aim is to be able to ‘dip’ your entire body weight unassisted. But don’t worry if you can’t, just use the assisted machine and work your way to unassisted in your own time.
How to perform chest dips
Chest dips, aka; parallel bar dips, are different to the more common triceps dips performed on a bench.
This is because parallel bar dips (or assisted dips on the assisted dip/pull up machine) will place more emphasis on your chest, triceps and shoulders.
Of course, there is no shame in using the assisted pull-up/dip machine for these if you need to.
Start by gripping the parallel bars, with a hand on each side. Then pull yourself up so that you are holding your bodyweight up on fully extended arms.
Next, lower your body down, bending at the elbow. As you ‘dip’ lean forward slightly to shift your weight onto your chest.
Finally, push back up and go again for reps. Maintain good upper body posture throughout.
Chest dips: Common mistakes to avoid
Ultimately you want to avoid twisting your torso and using momentum.
Also, be sure to maintain good posture throughout a clean and controlled movement.
Finally, make sure you ‘dip’ all the way down and come all the way back up through a full range of motion.
As always, sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. If you are performing your parallel bar dips with incorrect form, you may poorly engage the intended muscle groups, which will hinder your gains at best and result in injury at worst.
Last but not least, remember to keep the muscle you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise, this is the ideal way to ensure best results.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, your parallel bar dips should be worked into your overall bigger picture. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.
Typically, beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. Don’t overcomplicate things early on, worry about laying a solid foundation and the rest will come with experience.
And finally, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond chest dips...
More chest exercises coming soon...
Just so you know, this list of chest exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive. We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates. Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.