How to do Dips

Dips are one of the 5 basic exercises you need to master in order to progress in calisthenics. Along with push ups, sit ups, pull-ups and squats, dips should be at the core of your workout routines. In my opinion you should be doing these everyday. Even if you only have time and motivation for one set of each, do them everyday!

The rule is: the basics are the basics and you can’t beat the basics.” – Charles Poliquin – Strength training legend.

With Charles’ wise words fresh in our minds, let’s talk about how to do dips…



The primary muscles utilised when performing a dip are the triceps. To perform a dip you will need to find an elevated surface that comes to about knee height, such as a park bench or a chair. Make sure the surface is stable otherwise you could injure yourself. Don’t use a chair with wheels that might roll away halfway through the exercise.

How to do a Dip:

1. Once you have found a suitably elevated surface, seat yourself at the edge and place your hands by your sides. Take hold of the surface area and proceed to life your body away form the surface, all the while maintaining a firm grip with your hands. Lower you body down and stretch your legs out straight in front of you.

Once you are in this position you are ready to start.

2. Keeping your legs straight and your back straight, lower yourself down until your elbow are at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that your feet don’t move during your decent and be sure not to go lower than the 90 degree mark.

3. Engage your tricep muscle to lift yourself up and back into the starting position.

4. Congratulations you’ve completed your first dip!



Dip Variations:

There are a few variations of the dip. These include dips with elevated legs, side-to-side dips, ring dips, the challenging Korean dip and bar dips and the near impossible one-handed dip.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Dips | Modern Calisthenics

Follow the advice of Charles Poliquin and start with the basic bench dip or chair dip. Once you’ve mastered these you can think about moving on to some of the dip variations.

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