Bench Dips (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)


Bench Dips are an easier, more beginner-friendly of one of my favorite upper-body strength movements – Dips. Bench Dips also only require a bench (or even a sturdy box), something most garage gym owners probably have in their gym.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Bench Dips including important coaching tips and alternative exercises you can sub in their place if need be.


How To Do Bench Dips


Equipment Need

  • Bench (a sturdy box can also work)

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps, Chest and Anterior Deltoids

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Sit on the side edge of a bench and place the heels of your hands on the bench, fingers wrapping down over the edge.
  • Place feet out in front of you, legs straight, heels on the ground.
  • Push your body up by extending your arms and position yourself so your butt and torso are just off the edge of the bench.
  • Bend the elbows and lower yourself down beside the bench.
  • Stay close to the bench and keep your torso upright.
  • Once the triceps become parallel to the ground, drive yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see made with Bench Dips is getting the body too far away from the bench. This puts excess strain on the shoulders and can make the movement very uncomfortable. Keep your back close to the bench throughout the movement.

You can make bench dips easier by bending the knees and placing your feet flat on the floor. Bench Dips too easy? Try one of the variations listed below.


Bench Dip Variations


With a few minor variations you can alter the difficulty of Bench Dips. Here are a few ways you can make them a little more challenging.

Feet Elevated Bench Dips

Find another sturdy object you can place your feet on, like a bench or a plyo box. Instead of placing your feet on the floor, place them on the box. By elevating your feet, you’re shifting more of your bodyweight towards your arms, making each rep more difficult.

Weighted Bench Dips

Another way to increase the difficulty of Bench Dips is to add resistance in the form of a weight plate. Place the plate (or plates) on your thighs and then perform Bench Dips same as usual.

Weighted Bench Dips can be combined with elevating the feet to double the challenge. Be aware though, that this can be uncomfortable on the knees depending on how much weight you have sitting on your legs.


Bench Dip Alternatives


Don’t have a bench? Looking to add some variety to your workouts? Whatever the reason, here are a few alternatives to Bench Dips that you may be able to try out.

Want more options? Here are 10 of my favorite alternatives for Bench Dips.

Dips

Dips (1)

If you have access to a dip attachment or a standalone dip stand, I would highly recommend Dips over Bench Dips.

The only exception to this is if you’re not quite strong enough yet to perform quality reps. If that’s the case, keep improving your strength and every few weeks come back to Dips and give them a try.

Close Grip Pushups

Close Grip Pushups

If you’re short on equipment, Close Grip Pushups can be the perfect alternative to Bench Dips. They require zero equipment, so they can be done almost anywhere at anytime.

They’re also an extremely effective exercise at developing strong triceps. Just make sure to keep your elbows close to your body throughout the movement so it keeps the emphasis on the triceps.

Band Triceps Pushdowns

Band Triceps Pushdowns is an effective triceps exercises that only requires a resistance band. If you use Bench Dips as a burnout type finisher at the end of a workout, Band Triceps Pushdowns can be used in a much similar way. If you’re looking to add a little variety to finish off your chest and triceps day, give these a shot.

More Links and Info

If you’d like to check out more exercises to develop strong biceps, triceps and forearms head over to the Arm Farm section of our Exercise Library.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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