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Wide Vs Narrow Dips? What’s The Difference

wide vs narrow dips

Wide dips vs Narrow dips

Dips are a great muscle-building exercise for the upper body because they allow you to overload your muscles with significantly more weight than you’re used to for an isolation exercise—and often for relatively high reps (in terms of your strength). depending on the level of strength, of course).

What muscles are you building with the dips? And the answer is, it depends on the grip. One targets the chest and the other emphasizes the triceps. So, what’s the difference between wide vs narrow dips. Most people don’t know, so I’ll explain it point by point for you.

Which muscles do dips work?

Target core muscles

The main muscles targeted by the dip are your chest, triceps and your anterior shoulders.

  • Chest

The upper and lower pecs are activated through the shoulder adduction, which is when you bring your arms toward each other across your body.

  • Triceps

The muscle on the back of your arm, unlike your biceps, is activated through elbow extension, which occurs when you straighten your arms.

  • Anterior Deltoids

Your anterior shoulders are stimulated by raising your arms straight out in front of you.

  • Supporting muscles

It’s important to remember to retract and depress your shoulder blades before dipping to keep your shoulders safe.

To retract and depress your shoulder blades you can roll your shoulders back and down and hold them to prevent your shoulder from rolling forward and placing undue stress on your shoulder joint.

One of the risks of dipping incorrectly is a shoulder injury. Since there’s a lot going on in your shoulder area, it’s easy to create unnecessary friction that can lead to injury if you lack form.

  • Stabilizing muscles

Your stabilizing muscles are made up of your core musculature, which mainly includes your glutes, abs and lats. While your core is made up of many different muscles, your core stabilizers are activated, which support and push your body’s weight onto your arms.

Difference Between Wide vs Narrow Dips

While you can’t really isolate one or the other, you can vary the emphasis of the exercise by adjusting your arm position and torso angle.

Wide grip dips for Chest

Wide grip

The wide grip is the best grip you can use to really explode the chest. Whether you stay straight or lean forward, your chest muscles will get the most work. Compared to regular width dips, wide grip dips will target the lower and outer chest muscles more because the wide grip limits the range of motion at the top of each rep.

With this grip, you want to flare your elbows out of your body, while leaning forward with your torso and keeping your feet behind you. Lower yourself until you feel a stretch in your chest, but be careful not to go too far as this can put extra stress on your shoulders.

Narrow grip dips for Triceps

wide vs narrow dips

Narrow grip

This is the best grip to target your triceps. This is further facilitated by placing your feet under your body or slightly in front of you so that your torso is more upright and your elbow close to your body to stimulate your triceps more.

You can do dips on both the parallel bar and the single bar. The parallel bars will make it easier to target the triceps because you can bend your elbows thanks to the narrow grip.

As you lower your body, keep your elbows at your sides and pointing back. This last point is important. Locking elbows — the last few inches of the rep — are all triceps.

Keep your scapula (shoulder girdle) still and focus on slow and controlled movements.

10 Benefits of wide vs narrow Dips

  1. It’s a very good upper body exercise

Dip is a compound movement. They require the use of multiple joints at once while forcing your body to stabilize. In addition to stimulating more muscle growth, improving your strength and potentially enhancing your performance in other lifts, they can be done almost anywhere. Also, lifting your entire body weight using just your arms can be quite satisfying.

Dips can also be effective in speeding up your metabolism through changes in body composition if your goal is to lose weight.

It takes more energy for your body to grow and support the muscles. So, by adding more muscle to your frame you’re telling your body to be more efficient at burning calories and fat, which leads to a leaner, stronger body.

  1. Build More Muscle

Dips can be more effective in building your chest and triceps than bench presses. More muscle fibers are required to jump into the sport when you’re performing a compound movement that also requires you to stabilize your body.

When you are doing a bench press your body is supported by the bench you are pressing with your back, as well as the floor where your feet are planted. So, if you take the bench out of the equation and start moving your full body weight, it increases the intensity of the exercise because more muscles are being recruited.

The more you increase your intensity and engage multiple muscles at once, the more your strength and hypertrophic, or muscle-building, gains will improve. Yes, bench pressing can be made more intense. However, it won’t target your chest the way a dip would.

  1. More effective than push-ups

If someone asked me to name a bodyweight upper body exercise that works your chest the first thing that comes to mind would be the push-up. For the longest time, I thought they were the best overall body weight chest builder and arm chisel exceptional exercise.

In the push-up position, your arms are mostly supporting the weight of your upper body.

But during a dip, you are supporting your entire body weight with just your arms. Your core also really comes in handy to keep you from swinging because you don’t have the extra stability support of keeping your feet on the floor as you do during push-ups.

Basically, dips give you more bang for your buck when it comes to chest and triceps development.

  1. Functional Exercises

Functional exercises help you improve your movement patterns and can enhance your quality of life by reducing your aches and pains during everyday activities. While resistance training is great for building strength and changing your body composition, as far as your smaller muscles are concerned, it can sometimes leave you deficient.

Bodyweight and functional exercises train your muscles to work better together, making your movements more efficient and thereby reducing the chances of twisting something because the right muscles are recruited or targeted.

Bodyweight exercises often encourage a greater range of motion and protect your joint health than heavy lifts with external weights that can lead to some compensation if you’re not paying attention.

  1. Tangible Progress

Whether you’ve mastered the dip or you’re working on getting your first, it’s an exercise that lends itself to really solid progression measures.

It’s understandable that when you’re first starting out it can be a little frustrating not being able to hold your body weight in a steady way, not to mention trying to reduce and feeling pain. Which tells your body if you don’t stop you may actually die.

  1. Improve pushing strength

Pushing is one of the fundamental movement patterns. These are the movements that you do in your daily life that will help you to perform tasks like squatting up to pick up a heavy object appropriately and then pressing them in the air.

You have probably met or currently know someone who has changed something while doing normal, everyday mundane activity. These variations often occur because they are not paying attention to their form and as a result go wrong, causing the muscles to tighten through over-compensation.

However, in addition to helping you in your daily life, taking a dip can make you stronger by contributing to your overall strength.

This translates into making your  lifts such as bench presses, push-ups and overhead presses when you strengthen your ability to push in different positions.

  1. Target Your Chest

Bench pressing may be a popular go-to for chest day, it may be worthwhile adding dips to your routine.

As far as building your chest is concerned, the angle of your chest during the dip does a few things to your advantage.

You also get the added benefit of involving a bit more core in the movement, which further aids in building more anabolic, or muscle, signals to your body to encourage growth.

It makes a lot of sense that lifting heavy during the bench press will also promote muscle growth. Although the superiority of calisthenics exercises as far as reducing injury goes, it is slightly an effective way to target your chest, without the risks of pushing yourself to heavyweights that may require the help of a spotter.

Dips don’t require a spotter. You can do these anywhere. And you will definitely feel them, and see results provided they are programmed and performed correctly.

  1. Stabilization

Your core is primarily responsible for stabilizing your spine and protecting it during all activities. It is made up of a set of different muscles at the front, sides and back of your torso and contributes greatly to engaging in exercise with proper form.

Since your body is basically hanging in the air while you dive, a lot of stabilization is needed to keep your body from moving everywhere. Often, if you only do exercises where your body is supported by the floor, a bench, or a machine, you may miss out on training your smaller, helpful stabilizer muscles.

These muscles have myriad benefits when it comes to building a stronger and more defined body, not to mention where a lot of your power comes from. So, the more stable your core, the stronger it becomes, and the stronger you become overall.

  1. Wide Chest

As you increase the stretch at the bottom of the movement, it facilitates achieving better contraction through muscle fiber activation. An increase in muscle fiber activation will increase the intensity of the exercise, creating more stimulation for your chest to build muscle.

While it is difficult to isolate your outer chest, a greater muscle-building stimulus executed through added intensity will ultimately contribute to overall chest development which can give you the impression of having a wider chest.

  1. Improve Your Bench Press

Dips are very helpful in improving your pushing strength which can also contribute to your bench press.

Avoid these mistakes when doing wide vs narrow dips:

  • No swinging or bouncing – if the move isn’t perfectly smooth, you’re doing it wrong. If this is too difficult for you, reduce the range of motion until you get a little stronger.
  • Don’t lock the elbows on top – pause a bit before full lock.

Dips at home

You don’t need a gym to do a dip! There are many tools you can find online or around your home that can help you with your dips.

  • Dip Stand
  • Suspension Strap (like the popular TRX)
  • A playground near your house
  • stools/chairs
  • kitchen counter

As you get better at the exercise, you’ll want to add some weight to challenge your muscles as they adapt so you don’t plateau and stop seeing results.

Should I Do Weighted Dips?

Weighted dips are a great way to add some external resistance to continue progress. However, it is important to learn to go through a few bodyweight dips and be able to maintain proper form before adding weight to the exercise. This will help you prevent injuries and muscle imbalances.

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