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Tricep Dips & Chest Dips. The Big Difference!

You’ll note in THT 4 that I talk about 2 different types of dips. Understanding the difference is important guys, so please read this one and put it to work right away!

There is one type of dip that is optimized for the chest, and one that is optimized for the triceps.

You’ll notice the difference in both these body parts when you make these important tweaks!

The difference lies in…


Tricep & Chest Dips – Exercise Variation

Let’s look at the chest dip first.

In THT 4 I refer to DEEP Dips (some refer to these a “wide” dips). This would imply that at the bottom of the rep, you go as deep as possible.

Do this:

1) As you lower your body, really lean forward into the movement

2) As your upper arms reach parallel to the floor, allow your elbows to flare out wider. This will allow you to go deeper

3) Now go right to the bottom where you’ll feel a real stretch across your pecs.

4) Now perform the positive part of the rep but stop short of locking out at the top

5) The last approx. 3 inches of the rep are all taken on the triceps. Don’t work in this range. Stop short and start the negative again.

6) Including those last few inches would ensure that you fatigue the triceps and almost certainly mean that the set would prematurely end at failure of the triceps, not the chest.

Now let’s take a look at Triceps Dips.

1) While you still need to lean into a tricep dip just a little, you should keep your body more upright than the chest dip.

2) Most importantly, do NOT go lower than when your upper arms are parallel to the floor on a tricep optimized dip.

3) Your elbows don’t need to flare out here. Stop short of going deep because that is the range of motion where the pecs are doing all the work.

4) Now perform the positive part of the rep and go all the way to the top to force a FULL contraction of the triceps.

NOTE: If you’ve never performed these 2 different versions of dips, you’ll most likely be able to tricep dip more than you can chest dip (if you are adding weight). Don’t be shocked by this as it is quite normal.

Start these right away, guys! And I’d love to hear your feedback on them.

Train With Intensity!


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Mark McManus
Mark McManus
Mark is now available for 1-on-1 consultations to help you take your results to the next level. Click here for more details.
Mark McManus is a trainer & author from Ireland. His work has been featured in major publications all over the world. He is the creator of the free growth-promoting workout Targeted Hypertrophy Training' (THT) and author of the NEW fat-torching system Total Six Pack Abs.
He has also created the BREAKTHROUGH arm and chest maximizer programs The Arms Blast' and 'Chest Blast' workouts.
And if you're a fan of delicious high-protein recipes to fuel your muscle growth, check out his cook book 'Buff Baking' here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wouter June 27, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Semi-related, but still : ever since I watched the Larry Scott training video I’ve been doing reverse grip dips. They’re heavier on the elbows and you do need dip bars that are angled outwards, but imo they hit the pecs much harder than any normal grip dip variation I’ve tried.

  • John A Davis June 27, 2011, 6:14 pm

    Now you tell me!

  • Michael Pearson June 27, 2011, 6:29 pm

    What you say is true. I have training since 1968 and all the old school trainers knew this distinction. It seems now in the gym everyone is looking for an easy way to do dips and not focusing on the muscle being targeted.
    Good information!

  • jason June 27, 2011, 6:33 pm

    will give it a try mark, i’m abit bummed as ive joined a gym and i can do most of the stuff you tell us to do, the only thing is that i can’t increase the weights in small increments. the cable machines have fixed weights and the squat rack only has 20/15/10/5kg plates..no 1’s or 2kg plates.. any suggestions?

  • Sam- Look Like An Athlete June 27, 2011, 6:51 pm

    One trick I have been doing for a long time for chest dips is keeping my chin tucked in while doing a dip. By tucking the chin this helps my upper body lean in more and thus shifting weight to the chest muscles. For an emphasis on my triceps I don’t tuck my chin.


  • Paul June 27, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Hi mark i have been doing chest dips for years, they are brilliant at carving the middle part of your chest

  • Bob June 27, 2011, 7:49 pm

    They are called the upper-body squat for good reason!

  • pete June 28, 2011, 1:52 am

    you should try gironda dips great chest builder

  • Jackie June 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Would it be appropriate to do weighted tricep dips in the place of decline tricep extentions in my workout?

  • Mark McManus June 28, 2011, 2:14 pm

    @John. It’s in the book, dude.
    @Jason. Afraid not, man. Use their free weights as well. You may have to do higher reps before increasing weight because moving up by 5 or 10kg on some lifts is a hell of a jump!
    @Jackie. That would be ok for a cycle. In your next cycle I would recommend factoring in tricep extensions, they’re awesome.

  • Bob June 28, 2011, 8:45 pm

    Hey Mark.
    I some how missed getting THT 4. I tried to put my name in the Box up in the right corner but it says I am already subscribed. I dont know how I missed it but is there any way I can get it please.