How to do straight bar dips – technique & progressions

Are you tired of the same old push-ups routine? Looking to spice up your upper body workout? Look no further than the straight bar dips! This exercise is a powerhouse that works multiple muscle groups, including the chest, triceps, and shoulders. But beware, the straight bar dip is not for the faint of heart. With improper technique, you may find yourself flailing like a fish out of water. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with tips on proper form and progressions to take you from a dipping newbie to a pro in no time.

Proper Form for Straight Bar Dips

So you’ve decided to take the dive and try straight bar dips, but before you do, make sure you have the proper form down pat. The key to a successful and safe straight bar dip is maintaining the correct body positioning throughout the exercise. Here’s how to get started:

Steps to Get into Starting Position:

  1. Find a straight bar that’s secure and can support your weight.
  2. Stand facing the bar with your arms extended and grasp the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip.
  3. Lift yourself up onto the bar so that your arms are fully extended and your body is suspended above the ground.

Correct Body Positioning During the Exercise:

  1. Keep your core tight and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.
  2. Lower your body towards the ground, keeping your elbows tucked close to your body.
  3. Push yourself back up to the starting position, making sure not to lock out your elbows.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Flaring your elbows: Keep your elbows tucked close to your body to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your shoulder joints.
  2. Arching your back: Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels to keep your core engaged and avoid putting pressure on your lower back.
  3. Going too deep: Avoid lowering your body too far, as this can put extra stress on your shoulder joints.

And there you have it, folks! With these tips, you’ll be dipping like a pro in no time. So go ahead, give it a try.

Progressions for Straight Bar Dips

So you’ve mastered the proper form for straight bar dips, but now what? The good news is, there are plenty of progressions to keep your dips challenging and exciting. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there’s a dip for everyone!

Beginner Level: Box Dips and Bench Dips

  1. Box Dips: Place a box or bench underneath the bar to reduce the range of motion and make the exercise easier.
  2. Bench Dips: Find a sturdy bench or parallel bars and place your hands on the edge. Lower your body towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your sides, then push back up.

Intermediate Level: Negative Dips and Assisted Dips

  1. Negative Dips: Start in the fully extended position and lower your body as slowly as possible, taking 5-10 seconds to reach the bottom. Push back up with your legs or a spotter’s assistance.
  2. Assisted Dips: Attach a band or have a spotter assist you by holding onto your ankles to help with the push up.

Advanced Level: Weighted Dips and Muscle-Up Dips

  1. Weighted Dips: Add weight to your dips by holding a weight plate between your feet or wearing a weight vest.
  2. Muscle-Up Dips: The ultimate test of upper body strength, the muscle-up dip involves transitioning from a hanging position to a dip, then back to a hanging position.

So there you have it! Progressions for straight bar dips from beginner to advanced. Start with the box dips and work your way up to the muscle-up dips. With dedication and practice, you’ll be a dip master in no time! And remember, dips are not just for shoulder day, they’re for every day!

Incorporating Straight Bar Dips into Workouts

Now that you’ve learned the proper form and progressions for straight bar dips, it’s time to integrate them into your workouts. But how often should you be doing dips, and how many sets and reps?

First of all, dips are a compound exercise that target several muscle groups, so they can be considered a full-body exercise. As such, they can be incorporated into your upper body or full-body workout routine. For best results, aim to do dips 2-3 times a week.

As for sets and reps, it depends on your goals and current fitness level. If you’re a beginner, start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps. As you get stronger, increase the sets and reps. For more advanced lifters, aim for 4-5 sets of 8-12 reps, or even 5 sets of 5 reps for maximum strength and muscle building.

Adding Variety with Grip Variations

One way to add variety to your dips is to change up your grip. Try narrow, wide, or parallel grips to target different muscle groups and keep your dips fresh.

Narrow Grip: Hands close together on the bar Wide Grip: Hands spread apart on the bar Parallel Grip: Hands parallel to each other on the bar

Integration with Other Upper Body Exercises

Dips are a great addition to your upper body workout routine but don’t forget to incorporate other exercises to target different muscle groups. Pair dips with exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and rows for a complete upper-body workout.

Dips are a fantastic full-body exercise that can be incorporated into your workout routine 2-3 times a week. Mix up your grips and integrate them with other upper body exercises for a complete and effective workout. Now go forth and dip, my friends!


Congratulations, you now have all the knowledge you need to perform straight bar dips with proper form and progressions! Remember, proper technique is key for not only getting the most out of your dips but also for avoiding injury.

To recap, start with box dips or bench dips if you’re a beginner, and gradually work your way up to negative dips, assisted dips, and even weighted dips. Mix up your grips for added variety and integrate dips into your upper body or full-body workout routine 2-3 times a week.

And last but not least, don’t forget to have fun with your dips! It’s important to enjoy your workouts, and incorporating a sense of humor can help make the time fly by. Who knows, you may even find yourself looking forward to dipping day!

So, go forth and conquer those dips, my friends. You’ve got this!

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