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How Do You Hit Shoulders With Dips?

    Dips may seem easy, but people who incorporate them into their exercise regime know what a killer they can be. Dips are a compound movement using many muscles, but how do you hit shoulders with dips?

    To hit shoulders with dips, you need to lean forward slightly so that your forearms are vertical to the floor and break parallel with your upper arms. This position change increases the recruitment of shoulder muscles, specifically the anterior deltoids found in the front part of the shoulder.  

    How Do You Hit Shoulders With Dips

    There are factors to consider when performing dips to amplify the use of the shoulders.

    The execution is essential because if you get it wrong, you might hurt your shoulder joint or even cause impingement of the nerves in the shoulder. See our post on shoulder workouts for bigger delts.

    See the products below if you are in a hurry to see the best equipment to hit dips effectively and safely.

     

    The Actions of Shoulder Muscles and How They Link to Dips

    The Actions of Shoulder Muscles and How They Link to Dips

    To understand how to recruit your shoulder muscles during a dip, you must understand how the shoulder works to execute the movement.

    The shoulder joint is complex, with many muscles, tendons, and nerves. To understand the whole shoulder structure, you can visit Science Trends to learn more about your shoulder ligaments.

    This article will look at the primary muscle forming the shoulder, making it less complicated. These muscles shape the rounding that we see on the shoulders.

    This deltoid muscle divides into three parts: anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid. 

    Dips use the anterior deltoid, which is part of the front of the shoulder. The action of the anterior deltoid is arm flexion, bringing the arm forward or up in front of the body and overhead. See more in The Ultimate Shoulder Workout Routine.

    The Actions of Shoulder Muscles and How They Link to Dips2

    Dips primarily recruit the chest and triceps muscles. Still, the anterior deltoid acts as a synergist, meaning “helping” to perform the exercise, and performing the movement with a more upright posture – as in the original dip – will conclude that you will use more triceps and less of the anterior deltoid.  

    To place the focus on the shoulders during dips, you can execute it precisely with the correct form but only lean forward slightly.

    You immediately change the angle and activate the arm’s flexion when coming up from the movement rather than just lowering as straight as possible. 

    The second part is to focus on going low enough to break the parallel position of your upper arms.

    The Actions of Shoulder Muscles and How They Link to Dips3

    You are not low enough if your upper arms are lateral or higher. This angle will ensure you use more anterior deltoid when pressing up again. 

    These focus points apply to all variations of dips. You will have to start with the beginner version, get your form perfect, and progress to more difficult variations to increase your strength.

    You first must accomplish a good form of the dip before thinking about progression or targeting different muscles.

     

    Progression of the Dip Exercise 

    Progression of the Dip Exercise 

    You can do many variations of dips, but it is essential to know which ones to master first before you progress to the next.

    There are also different apparatuses you can use for dips.

     

    Different Equipment to Do Dips On

    Different Equipment to Do Dips On

    Here follows a list of the various dips on different equipment:

    Using a bench: This is your most basic dip equipment and hardly uses the shoulder muscle and instead forces your shoulder forward, which can cause damage. 

    Using rings: These are very advanced and also very dangerous. They work the same as dip bars, but the rings can move, thus placing your shoulders in danger of injury if you cannot keep them close to your body.

    Dip machine: Various machines can help you to do dips. They are ideal if you struggle with the real deal and need to start lighter than your body weight.

    Dip bars: the only equipment you should consider when doing dips. They help you execute the descent flawlessly and minimize the risk of injury if your form is correct.

    See our top three recommended dip equipment below.

    Preview
    Best Overall
    BangTong&Li Power Tower Workout Pull Up & Dip Station Adjustable Multi-Function Home Gym Fitness Equipment
    Best Alternative
    Lebert Fitness Dip Bar Stand - Original EQualizer Total Body Strengthener Pull Up Bar Home Gym Exercise Equipment Dipping Station - Hip Resistance Band, Workout Guide and Online Group - Black (XL)
    Best Budget
    BalanceFrom Multi-Function Dip Stand Dip Station Dip bar with Improved Structure Design, 500-Pound Capacity (Red), Model:BFDB-1YLParent
    Product Name
    BangTong&Li Power Tower, Pull Up Bar Dip Station/Stand
    Lebert Fitness Dip Bar Stand - Original Equalizer Total Body Strengthener Pull Up Bar
    BalanceFrom Multi-Function Dip Stand Dip Station Dip bar with Improved Structure Design
    Material
    Heavy Duty Steel
    Steel
    Heavy Duty Steel
    Color
    Black/Red
    Black
    Red
    Item Dimension
    50.39 x 13.78 x 5.91 inches
    ‎29.6 x 27.3 x 2.5 inches
    36.6 x 13.8 x 5.4 inches
    Item Weight
    22.68 Kilograms
    ‎9.55 Kilograms
    13.79 Kilograms
    Recommended Weight Load
    330 Pounds
    400 Pounds
    500 Pounds
    Best Overall
    Preview
    BangTong&Li Power Tower Workout Pull Up & Dip Station Adjustable Multi-Function Home Gym Fitness Equipment
    Product Name
    BangTong&Li Power Tower, Pull Up Bar Dip Station/Stand
    Material
    Heavy Duty Steel
    Color
    Black/Red
    Item Dimension
    50.39 x 13.78 x 5.91 inches
    Item Weight
    22.68 Kilograms
    Recommended Weight Load
    330 Pounds
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    Lebert Fitness Dip Bar Stand - Original EQualizer Total Body Strengthener Pull Up Bar Home Gym Exercise Equipment Dipping Station - Hip Resistance Band, Workout Guide and Online Group - Black (XL)
    Product Name
    Lebert Fitness Dip Bar Stand - Original Equalizer Total Body Strengthener Pull Up Bar
    Material
    Steel
    Color
    Black
    Item Dimension
    ‎29.6 x 27.3 x 2.5 inches
    Item Weight
    ‎9.55 Kilograms
    Recommended Weight Load
    400 Pounds
    Interested?
    Best Budget
    Preview
    BalanceFrom Multi-Function Dip Stand Dip Station Dip bar with Improved Structure Design, 500-Pound Capacity (Red), Model:BFDB-1YLParent
    Product Name
    BalanceFrom Multi-Function Dip Stand Dip Station Dip bar with Improved Structure Design
    Material
    Heavy Duty Steel
    Color
    Red
    Item Dimension
    36.6 x 13.8 x 5.4 inches
    Item Weight
    13.79 Kilograms
    Recommended Weight Load
    500 Pounds
    Interested?

     

    Progression of the Forward Leaning Dip

    Progression of the Forward Leaning Dip

    Dips might be seen as mediocre because they use bodyweight. For instance, you can start with light dumbbells and work your way up when you do a shoulder press.

    See the top three adjustable dumbells we recommend below.

    Preview
    Best Quality
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Best Plates
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
    Best Connector Options
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
    Product Name
    Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 52.5 pounds
    Up to 25 pounds
    Up to 50 pounds
    Best Quality
    Preview
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (pair)
    Product Name
    Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbell
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 52.5 pounds
    Interested?
    Best Plates
    Preview
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell - 5-in-1, 25lb dumbell Adjustable Free Weights Plates and Rack - Hand Weights for Women and Men - Adjustable Weights, 5lb, 10lb, 15lb, 20lb, 25lb (25 Pounds - Pair)
    Product Name
    Lifepro Adjustable Dumbbell
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 25 pounds
    Interested?
    Best Connector Options
    Preview
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells - 50 lb Dumbbell Weights (Pair)
    Product Name
    Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
    Set Of Two Dumbbells
    Adjustable
    Wider Weight Range
    Up to 50 pounds
    Interested?

    With dips, you start heavy with the weight of your body. To start lighter, you can use dip machines to set your weight lighter than body weight and train your mind-muscle connection to execute the dip with good form, increasing the weight until you reach body weight. learn more in

    The ultimate way to get good at parallel bar dips is to do them.

    Bar Dip

    If you struggle to do even one, do negative dips. They require that you lower down into the descent, stop at the bottom of the movement, and place your feet on the floor. Jump up until you are at the starting position with locked-out arms and go again. 

    As soon as you can do a dip, you can progress by adding reps, adding sets, and adding a weight belt.

    See our top three recommended dip belts to protect your spine below.

    Preview
    Overall Best
    Hawk Fitness Dip Belt With Chain For Men & Women Dipping Pull Up Belt Crossfit Weight Lifting Training Gym Bodybuilding Weightlifting LIFETIME WARRANTY!
    Best Alternative
    DMoose Fitness Dip Belt with Chain for Weightlifting, Pullups, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding Workouts, Long Heavy Duty Steel, Comfortable Neoprene Waist Support (Black)
    Best Price
    Jayefo New Neoprene DIP Belt (Black, ONE Size)
    Product Name
    Hawk Fitness Dip Belt
    DMoose Fitness Dip Belt
    Jayefo DIP Belt
    Inner Padding
    Fully Adjustable
    Can Hold
    300 Pounds
    225 Pounds
    350 Pounds
    Steel Chain
    36''
    36”
    36”
    Warranty
    Lifetime
    Lifetime
    Lifetime
    Overall Best
    Preview
    Hawk Fitness Dip Belt With Chain For Men & Women Dipping Pull Up Belt Crossfit Weight Lifting Training Gym Bodybuilding Weightlifting LIFETIME WARRANTY!
    Product Name
    Hawk Fitness Dip Belt
    Inner Padding
    Fully Adjustable
    Can Hold
    300 Pounds
    Steel Chain
    36''
    Warranty
    Lifetime
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    DMoose Fitness Dip Belt with Chain for Weightlifting, Pullups, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding Workouts, Long Heavy Duty Steel, Comfortable Neoprene Waist Support (Black)
    Product Name
    DMoose Fitness Dip Belt
    Inner Padding
    Fully Adjustable
    Can Hold
    225 Pounds
    Steel Chain
    36”
    Warranty
    Lifetime
    Interested?
    Best Price
    Preview
    Jayefo New Neoprene DIP Belt (Black, ONE Size)
    Product Name
    Jayefo DIP Belt
    Inner Padding
    Fully Adjustable
    Can Hold
    350 Pounds
    Steel Chain
    36”
    Warranty
    Lifetime
    Interested?

     

    Also, see an in-depth visual illustration by Jeff Nippard on how to perform the dip and fix the mistakes you might be making.

     

    How to Prevent Pain in Shoulders During Dips

    How to Prevent Pain in Shoulders During Dips

    Pain in the shoulders is typical with dips and is called shoulder impingement. This problem occurs when the shoulder blades come in contact and press on the rotator cuff muscles, leading to difficulty when trying to lift the arms.

    Shoulder pain can be prevented by following these tips:

    1. Do not add extra weight too soon – when progressing and starting to add weight, you might over-stress the shoulders, causing pain. Take it slow by first mastering the dip without load and then adding weight and sticking to it until you have mastered it.
    2. Make sure your form is perfect – This is the most crucial part of any exercise. Dip bars need to be hip-width apart and when lowering down, only go down until you feel a slight stretch in the shoulder.
    3. Previous injury to the shoulder – Dips require constant shoulder joint tension. Avoid this exercise and focus on machine exercises if you have a weak shoulder because of previous injuries. 

     

    Frequently Asked Questions on Building Shoulders With Dips

    Dips FAQ

    Here are some related issues you may find interesting regarding dips.

    How to Get Stronger at Dips?

    To get better at dips, you must perform them more than once each week, adding variations such as negative dips and dips with a band around your knees (which will help you do more reps).

    What Are The Best Shoulder Exercises?

    The best exercises for the shoulders would be compound movements that engage the shoulder as a whole. Overhead presses with barbells and dumbbells; or front-, lateral- and rear raises using dumbbells and cables.

    Conclusion

    how to recruit your shoulder muscles during a dip

    So, how do you hit shoulders with dips?

    Well, if your goal is to better your shoulder mass, it would be wise to incorporate more exercises that target the lateral- and posterior deltoids together with the dips. 

    Various exercises for the shoulders will ensure consistent shoulder growth, as dips only recruit the anterior deltoids.

    Overhead presses with dumbbells or barbells and even cable exercise can help you build the shoulder caps most people desire.

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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