Form for Dips

Discussion in 'Bodyweight' started by Steve Freides, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Certified Instructor

    I have just started working on dips - have done some bw, some bw + a 10 lb plate on a belt. Leaning forward at the bottom, locking out fully at top.

    When coming up from the bottom, my legs want to kick out behind me. I'm able to control it and stay tighter at the bottom by using more abs/core. Is this a variable others think about when doing dips?


  2. Philippe Geoffrion

    Philippe Geoffrion More than 500 posts

    I love dips, but I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say your legs kick out behind you. Does this mean your torso wants to become more horizontal and you end up leaning forward a bit? A video may help here.

    I think most BW exercises are underrated as core exercises, and perhaps in this case, as you've stated, core control is the answer. Maybe too much forward lean going down? I usually descend very slowly into dips, as my shoulders have had rough days, and let my body naturally lean.
  3. rwrjr

    rwrjr Double-Digit Post Count

    I just went to the dip station to try BW and weighted dips to see if I felt any leg movement. I don't get the kind of action you are describing. You mention leaning forward at the bottom. Is this to emphasize the pecs more than triceps or just the natural path you take as you move down? From a mental exercise standpoint I can only think that your legs want to kick out to the back to counterbalance the forward lean of your upper body.

    I myself don't use the forward lean. I've tried it in the past because it is supposed to switch some of the emphasis from the triceps to the pecs. The forward lean method I tried was an upper body forward lean with the legs also moved forward. Kind of like a partial pike position, but you maintain the forward lean the entire range of the rep. It did not feel natural to me so I tossed it.
  4. Maine-ah KB

    Maine-ah KB Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I love dips! IMHO its one of the very best upper body pressing exercises you can do. The kicking back on they way is something that can happen to me when I've either gone past the point of common sense for reps or it gets heavy. its also a legitimate specialized variety, as a way to focus to an authoritative lockout for the triceps (Chinese weightlifters do dips this way). the only way around it I've found is like you said to really brace the abs and squeeze my glutes. if the dip station is tall enough a hollow position with a more open chest is the position really does away with the kick back. if there short I do tuck my legs behind me but still try and focus on bracing my abs/glutes. I feel it lets me put more focus on technique.

    I wouldn't say that that the leg kick back is bad, if its done for the right reason, like training the triceps to quickly lockout.

    Again the above is IMHO and in my experience, but its worked for me.

    Heres Lu Xiaojun, the Chinese weightlifter I was referring to
    Machete and fractal like this.
  5. Nate

    Nate Triple-Digit Post Count

    Uptight or angled back, i go with the version that feels easiest on my shoulders. I've also found that setting the height to have upper arm parallel to ground when feet touch prevents me from going lower where i tend to internally rotate my shoulders. I can still do a lot that way but there is significant anterior shoulder pain so I'd rather keep it higher.
  6. Marc

    Marc Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    If you keep a slight posterior pelvic tilt by having your abs and glutes engaged any unnecessary leg move will be limited. Another option would be to extend the legs in front of the body (very low l-sit to l-sit). This will call the pectoralis into action heavily.

    Slightly ranting: A lot of people get shoulder pain from dips. This is, IMHO, mostly due to two factors:
    1. Using a ROM unappropriate to their shoulder extension capacity. If you lack shoulder extension don't force an excessive ROM. Generally speaking: Below 90 degree is not wrong per se but unnecessary for most people (due to lost muscle tonus) and dangerous for some. Only if you have enough shoulder extention AND the ability to control your muscles throughout the full ROM you may go below 90 degrees.
    2. Fail to control internal rotation: If you watch most people you will observe that they don't keep an external shoulder rotation. The crook of the arms will slightly twist towards the body which in turn rotates the head of the humerus inwards. This is not optimal and the aim should be to keep the shoulders externally rotated, i.e. with the crook of the arms constantly facing forwards and parallel to each others.
    fractal likes this.
  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Certified Instructor

    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

    I am going way down as a shoulder and lat stretch, a very full range of motion. It feels great.

    Tightening my middle seems to keep my legs under me.

    I notice in the video, the weights are behind. I have had mine hanging in front on a dipping belt.

    I’ll try to take a video soon.

  8. Machete

    Machete SFG II, SFB Certified Instructor

    The aforementioned upright dip for the triceps that Chinese Weightlifters perform emphasizes more of an elbow flare to strengthen the lockout for the Jerk. They categorize their training sessions into either "weightlifting" or "bodybuilding." I believe this is the latter.

    Upright dips can also be performed by placing one's weight all the way up front into an L-sit Russian Dip.

    Dips with the weight upfront force the legs behind the center of gravity, emphasizing more shoulder extension.

    That's what I think.
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Certified Instructor

    My full-range dips. I have all kinds of shoulder issues so the full ROM at the bottom is a big stretch and why my muscles are shaking sometimes.

  10. J Petersen

    J Petersen SFG1/SFB Certified Instructor

    Have you already tried them on the rings?
  11. Maine-ah KB

    Maine-ah KB Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Looking good @Steve Freides the only thing I saw (which is something I'm also guilty of) is on the way up you look up. when you look up your lower body tends to swing forward a little. maybe try packing your neck? (I'm no expert, I just like dips so a grain of salt is required when listening to me.) I personally wouldn't muck around with ring dips, there sort of like the bottoms up press of dips, great but hard to do.
    Steve Freides likes this.
  12. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Certified Instructor

    Yes, sir, but I am looking for a maximum stretch at the bottom and it’s harder to really sink into that when you also have the additional instability of the rings.

  13. Marc

    Marc Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Steve Freides
    Actually your form looks solid.
    Just a few minor points:
    You say you have all kinds of shoulder issues. What exactly do you mean? Your depth is very good, but if it bothers your shoulders a 90 degree bent suffices. Do you let your muscles relax at the bottom? In order to stabilise your shoulders keep constant tension and avoid falling into your structures.
    Try to really lock your pelvis into posterior tilt. That way your legs will stop shaking. (Not to say you have excessive leg movement).
    It looks a bit as if you have your shoulders slughtly shrugged up. Try to keep your scapula depressed and retracted troughout. Maybe make a concious effort to really depress your shoulders at the top of each rep.
  14. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Certified Instructor

    @Marc, I am getting a big lat/shoulder stretch at the bottom of my dips on purpose. That range of motion isn't dangerous for me, and the stretch helps. I have an extra 10 or 15 lb on a belt in that video, and that's also perfectly fine for me. I'm doing the dip more for the stretch than as a strength exercise, if that makes any sense. I may start doing them differently at some point.

    I like the idea of locking my pelvis in - I go for a solid lockout at the top, but I haven't been paying attention to that during the rest of the movement and I should. I think I am keeping my shoulders down at the top, but I may be able to do that better throughout as well.

  15. Marc

    Marc Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Alright, I see. Don't get me wrong, I really does look solid, my critique is next level nerdy.
    Steve Freides likes this.
  16. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Certified Instructor

    Thank you, @Marc. I am just exploring what these can do for me.

    Marc likes this.

Share This Page