There are certain exercises you will see that can be performed in a number of ways and will hit different muscle groups depending on how you stand, drop, lean etc. An exercise that I want to write more about today and give you the heads up on is dips. This exercise will work your chest, triceps and shoulder muscles depending on how it is performed. The dip exercise is great for building lean muscle and improving core strength and you can perform it virtually anywhere. For this article I am going to be explaining in more depth how you can maximise your workouts with dips from using the dip frame which is usually attached to a pull up frame. The two muscles that a dip will work is the chest area and the triceps with your shoulders acting as a secondary muscle to help support the movement.
Some people that I will speak to are unsure of the difference in how to work the chest muscles completely separate to the tricep muscles. Naturally, during both movements both muscle groups will act as secondary muscles but the main focus can be on just one muscle. So lets start with the chest muscles and I will explain how you can solely work this muscle without having too much help from your tricep friends.
Begin by taking an overhand grip on the bars and lift yourself up from the ground. From here, tuck your knees up into your chest and bring them forward slightly. By doing this you will automatically bring your whole body forward and immediately you will start to feel a tender pull on the chest muscles. Once you can feel that you know you are in the correct position and its time to dip away. As you begin to lower yourself through the movement be sure to keep the knees tucked in and the body leaning forward. The trick here is to keep forward because this will mostly work your chest muscles and not the triceps. Bend at the elbow to around 90 degrees (or as far as your body will let you go) and push back up. Perform your desired amount of repetitions and then slowly return to the floor. To increase the exercise and to make it harder you can add a dumbbell and place this between your legs or you can fasten a weight belt to your waist and add weighted plates to your body. Make sure if you do this that you are still keeping a strict eye on your technique and you remain leaning forward and keep the knees high.
So that's chest, what about the triceps? Well in order to work the triceps begin again by pushing yourself up from the floor and adopt an overhand grip on the handle bars. Once here remain as upright as possible and bend at the elbow to 90 degrees. The trick with this one is to remain upright and not lean forward. Keep the body fixed and only concentrate on working the tricep muscles by giving them a good squeeze when you lower and push back up. Again, to further the exercise and make it harder you can add additional weights to you or you can simply increase the repetitions or slow the tempo in which you perform the exercise.
So the two main differences are, leaning forward to work the chest and keep upright to work the triceps muscles.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking to yourself that you wish you could perform this exercise but you can't because your shoulders hurt when you do it. If this is the case for you I suggest you look at a stretching program for your shoulder to release any tension in there. Joining in on a yoga class or just actively stretching the shoulder muscles a few times a day over a certain amount of weeks should help free it up.
Remember to use your maltadextrin to help you recover quicker and grow stronger so that when you do your dips again you will be able to increase the weight or increase the number of repetitions you perform.