Alternatives to Dips are a tough but effective exercise that can produce some serious upper body play. However, not everyone has the form and functionality they need to execute the exercise correctly. Equipment limitations also limit one’s ability to do dips.
Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises to choose from when looking for an alternative to dips. Here are some moves to add to your workout routine and the basics for this workout.
10 Best Alternatives to Dips
Alternatives to Dips are an exercise that bodybuilders often use to build larger triceps. However, a slight forward slide as you complete this exercise shifts the target muscles to the chest. When looking for an alternative to dips exercise, it’s crucial that you clarify what you’re aiming for.
1. Single-Arm Resistance Band Extensions
The resistance band is a must-have piece of equipment for upper body training from anywhere. Resistance bands are versatile and powerful, offering a unique bell-shaped power curve when used in resistance training.
Band extensions target the triceps muscle group with a greater focus on the long head triceps muscle. Since the long head triceps muscle makes up most of the arm, targeting this area can effectively increase your arm mass.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. One foot should be slightly in front of the other.
- Place the resistance band under the back foot, while holding the band, extend your arm upwards.
- Extend your arm and keep your core tight, slowly lower the band behind your head until your elbow reaches a 90-degree angle. Keep your upper arm and shoulder in a stable position.
- Pause at the bottom, then extend upward until your arm is fully upright.
Adjusting your feet on the resistance band can increase or decrease resistance.
2. Close Grip Push-Ups
Dips are a pushing exercise; It is a movement that causes muscle contraction when the weight is pushed away from you. The push-up, like the dip, uses this form of movement with your body weight and gravity. It is this similar move that makes push-ups such an effective substitute for bottoms.
Maintaining a close grip position ensures that the movement during this bodyweight exercise targets the triceps rather than shifting to the shoulder joint.
- Get into plank position with your hands just outside shoulder-width, toes stacked, and a strong core.
- Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lower yourself until you are about an inch off the ground or your chest is touching your thumbs. Allow your elbows to bend back to accommodate the movement – avoid expanding to the side.
- Pause at the bottom, then push up vigorously until you return to the starting position.
Allowing the elbows to widen will shift some of the movement to the pectoral muscles. However, this can put excessive strain on the shoulder muscles. It’s better to adjust the position of your hand rather than letting your elbows go out of alignment.
3. Close Grip Bench Press
The close-grip bench press works similarly to the close-grip push-ups. Tricep dips and bench presses have a complementary relationship, and each helps strengthen the other in one training regimen.
Like the close-grip push-ups and dips, the main target of this move is the triceps muscle group.
- Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and your scapular muscles are tight and tense.
- Grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and your wrists under the bar.
- Brace your core and lower the bar in a slow, controlled motion, keeping your elbows at your sides.
- Once the bar touches your chest, push hard upwards until your arms are extended. Be careful not to overextend or pull your shoulders.
You should keep your elbows and wrists bent to avoid injuries while performing this dips replacement exercise. Start with a lighter weight than your regular bench press, as the close grip reduces shoulder and chest engagement.
4. Cable Machine Tricep Pushdowns
Cable machine tricep pushdowns are exercises suitable for beginners. You can complete this exercise with either a rope or a flat bar on a cable machine. The straight bar targets the long head of the triceps muscles, while the rope hits the side head more effectively.
- Stand in front of the cable machine with your feet slightly apart. The string or stick should be at chest level – adjust as needed.
- If using the rope on both sides with your palms facing each other, grasp the bar overhead by placing your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Brace your core and push the bar or ropes down toward your hips. Keep your elbows bent and your upper arms in a stable position.
- Pause when your arms are fully extended, making sure your back is straight and your chest is high. Allow the bar or ropes to return to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner. This is a representative.
If you don’t have access to a cable machine, you can use a resistance band to replicate this alternative for dips.
5. Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks
This effective alternative to falls uses an extension move to target the long head triceps. These are best performed on an incline bench to maintain proper balance while working through the full range of motion.
- Lie on an incline bench at a 45-degree angle with your feet firmly planted and your chest flat on the bench. Support your core and make sure your spine is straight and aligned.
- Squeeze your elbows by holding your wrists by your sides while holding two dumbbells.
- Extend and straighten your arms until they are parallel to your body. Pause at the top of the movement.
- Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled movement. Your upper arms should remain in a stable position throughout the movement.
Use a lighter dumbbell to get used to this move, because good form is essential for achieving the best possible results.
The drop dumbbell bench press is a great alternative to chest dips. This beginner-friendly workout is easily scalable with limited equipment. The lowered position focuses on the lower pectoral muscles by engaging the pecs as you push the weight.
- Position a bench so it is slightly inclined. If you have a fixed bench, it will suffice to put a plate or tampon under it.
- Lie on your back on the bench with your head down. Put your feet on the high end of the bench.
- Grab your dumbbells and position them just above your chest with your elbows at your side.
- Push up, extending your arms until your elbows lock.
Lower the dumbbells in a slow, controlled motion until they return to the starting position. This is a representative.
Do not allow the dumbbells to bind at the top of the movement as the momentum can affect your shoulder joint. Instead, keep your shoulders at least an inch apart at the top of the movement, squeezing them tightly to keep them engaged.
7. Dumbbell Hex Press
The hex press is a great alternative to weighted chest dips. This often-overlooked accessory move targets the pecs and also works the delts and triceps. The extended range of motion throughout this exercise also makes it an effective warm-up with lighter weights.
- Lie on your back on a flat bench and grab two dumbbells overhead.
- Press the dumbbells together holding the dumbbells about an inch above your chest with your palms facing each other.
- Squeeze tight and push the dumbbells together, extending your arms overhead until they’re locked. The dumbbells should remain pressed tightly against each other.
- Lower the weights in a slow, controlled motion, maintaining contact between the dumbbells. Pause just above your chest before moving on to the next rep.
This chest dip substitute is best performed with hex dumbbells, hence the name. If you’re using round dumbbells, be mindful of slamming throughout the movement.
8. Pec Deck Fly
As the name suggests, the pec deck fly targets the pectoral chest muscles. This machine-based exercise is a beginner-friendly alternative to full dives. While the machine lifts the brunt of form, it’s essential to maintain slow, steady movement to get the most out of this workout.
- Adjust the machine height so that the bottom of the armrests is at chest level.
- When positioning is correct, sit in the seat and place your arms on the armrest holder. You can press your arms into the pads or hold the handles above.
- Support your core and maintain a strong back, bring your arms forward in a slow, controlled motion until the two armrests almost touch.
- Tighten your pecs, then reverse the movement, maintaining a steady pace until you return to the starting position. This is a representative.
Do not let the two arms touch each other when you bring them together. Focus on keeping a straight spine and engaged core without leaning into the movement.
9. Standing Dumbbell Chest Fly
The standing dumbbell chest fly is another alternative to dips that replicates the chest deck machine while targeting the upper pectorals. This is a useful alternative for home workouts or when limited equipment is available.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, using an underhand grip, with dumbbells in both hands.
- Bending your elbow slightly, lift the dumbbells up and toward the center, standing at chest level with the weights almost touching.
- Pause and tighten your chest muscles before slowly returning to the starting position.
Be sure to avoid rocking movements while doing this alternative exercise for chest dips. Keep your core engaged and your eyes looking ahead.
10. Ring or Straps Chest Press
Rings and straps are another versatile piece of equipment that bodybuilders can use to train anywhere. Not only are the rings an effective alternative to parallel bar dip, but they also open the door to other chest-focused dips.
- Grasp your rings or strap handles and keep them away from your body.
- Lean on the straps, keeping your arms and wrists straight to support your weight. Maintain a strong core and a straight back.
- Keeping your shoulders back, slowly lower yourself into the loops or grips.
- When you reach the limits of your range of motion – ideally at chest level with the rings – pause and push yourself back to the starting position.
Let your elbows move away from the body as you target the chest for this move. Strap length will ultimately determine the intensity of this exercise. The longer the straps, the harder the upper body workout.
When looking for Alternatives to Dips, remember to determine whether you’re targeting the chest, triceps, or both. Many of these exercises can be modified to target the other area by squeezing or squeezing the elbows. Work with proper form while doing these exercises to make sure they don’t cause any injury to the shoulder joint – slow and controlled movement is the key to success.