When you first hear the word “dips”, the first thing that comes to your mind might be chips. However, we are not talking about those dips.

What Muscles Do Dips Target?

Dips are a form of exercise that targets many parts of your body depending upon how you are incorporating them in your workouts. There are plenty of variations when it comes to dips and you can target many areas of your body including the chest, biceps, triceps, pecs, and muscles on your back.

Dips are a great way to build your upper body muscles and enhance your core strength. The best part of this exercise is you don’t need to own any special equipment to perform this exercise.

Types of Dips

There are two main types of dips, Parallel Bar Dips and Bench Dips. Parallel bar dips are performed using two parallel bars usually supported with the help of sturdy stand or stands, whereas bench dips are done with the help of a bench or benches.

Here we’ll go in-depth to figure out how these differ and which muscles these exercises target.

The first thing that we need to keep in mind is that dips basically are a bodyweight exercise. This implies that the force of resistance required for these workouts is generated from a part or complete weight of your own body.

Another thing you should know is that after using your body weight for resistance for a while, you’d find the need to add more weight and for that, weight plates will be a good option to go for.

These plates may be attached to your body with the aid of a dips belt when training with parallel bars. You could also place them in your lap while working with two benches.

Dips are one of the best upper body exercises to enhance core strength and build muscles, however, the key is to perform these exercises properly. A lot of times, people don’t pay attention to their posture and techniques which could be the reason for not obtaining the desired results.

This is a compound exercise i.e it targets more than one muscle group in your body which makes it quite versatile. Dips are great for working out a number of upper body muscles simultaneously.

They are also a great source of increasing strength and flexibility that will also help you in other upper body workouts like push-ups, bench press, and chin-ups.

1. Parallel Bar Dips and Target Muscles

Parallel bar dips, also known as chest dips, are typically done with the help of a parallel bar machine which is designed specially to perform parallel dips.

You can also use any other object that is sturdy enough to stand your weight and has a height equal to that of your knees in order to obtain the perfect position.

How To Perform Parallel Dips

To perform this exercise, grab the parallel bars, one with each hand, and try to push your body up, exerting your entire body weight on these bars.

Keep your arms stretched while being in this position. You can also keep your legs straight or bent at the knees depending upon the height of the bars. Perform this exercise with at least 10-12 counts to complete one set. Repeat with at least 3 sets per workout.

Why Parallel Dips?

Parallel dips require you to exert your entire body weight which results in providing increased resistance and improved workout sessions.

They also prove to be quite flexible as you can focus on target areas while positioning your body accordingly. This could either be your chest or triceps.

Parallel dips target muscles like pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, the anterior deltoid and rhomboid in the shoulders, the triceps as well as the lat muscles in the back.

2. Bench Dips and Target Muscles

Bench dips, which are also known as triceps dips, are usually done with the help of one or two weight benches or any surfaces of equal height. This provides flexibility, enabling you to easily perform this exercise at home.

This simple exercise can be performed using just one bench or any wide chair, sturdy enough to stand your weight. If you’re a beginner, you can keep your feet on the floor, but as you progress, you can place your legs across a surface of an equal height, which will result in a more challenging workout.

How To Perform Bench Dips

You can start this simple exercise by placing your hands behind you on a bench with your hands facing forward. Place your heels on the floor or another bench depending upon your fitness level or intensity of the workout.

Keep your arms straight and push yourself up, maintain this starting position. Then, lower yourself until you reach the point where your arms form a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position to complete one repetition.

Why Bench Dips?

Bench dips are an excellent exercise if you want to build muscles at the back of the upper arm. They especially target and build tricep muscles.

It has also been observed that bench dips work and enhance chest muscles. Triceps, as well as legs, get a really good workout from performing bench dips.

They do not require any fancy equipment and can be easily done on a regular bench, or any surface sturdy enough and of the same height.

The versatility of dips doesn’t end here and there are plenty of other variations of dips such as Ring Dips and Straight Bar Dips that we did not discuss here.

To sum up, whatever technique or version of dips you would like to go for, you will still be able to build and strengthen your upper body muscles easily at home.

It is strongly recommended to incorporate dips in a well-rounded workout session that focuses on every part of your body. Once you reach the desired fitness level, you can add weights to make your workouts even more interesting and challenging.


An avid fitness geek, who is mostly lifting in the gym. A computer junkie on the side. Started ClassikaFitness to teach people what I learned over the years.

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