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Will Doing Dips Help Your Bench Press?

author image Heather Hitchcock
Heather Hitchcock has been writing professionally since 2010. She has contributed material through various online publications. Hitchcock has worked as a personal trainer and a health screening specialist. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science.
Will Doing Dips Help Your Bench Press?
A man is bench pressing. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Both parallel bar dips and bench presses are compound exercises targeting the chest, front deltoids and triceps. Dips work the same muscles as the bench press, but from a different angle. Because you are using your body weight, they might not directly improve your bench press results as much as other exercises. However, including dips in your training routine will not hurt your bench press, either.


There are two types of dips that strengthen the upper body: chest dips and triceps dips. Perform chest dips by supporting yourself on parallel bars and bending forward while lowering yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor or just past parallel. The farther you bend forward, the more your chest is engaged; the more upright you are, the more your triceps are engaged. Chest dips are good for stretching and improving flexibility the chest, which may benefit the bench press. Hanging a dumbbell or barbell plate around your waist adds extra resistance to the exercise.

Bench Press Technique

Improving your technique is one of the most effective ways to increase your maximum bench press. Lie flat on the bench, keeping your feet flat on the floor and your bottom on the bench throughout the entire movement. Do not allow your low back to arch off the bench. Grasp the bar using an overhand grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Begin in the up position with your elbows extended. Slowly lower the bar until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Do not bounce the bar off your sternum, which can cause a fractured sternum or broken ribs.

Assistance Exercises

Maximal, or heavy-weight bench pressing recruits muscles throughout your body, so it is essential to train all of your muscle groups are least once a week. More specifically, focus your shoulder and triceps training with exercises similar to the bench press. Shoulder exercises such as military press or overhead dumbbell press will help strengthen the front deltoid, which you use in the bench press. Including some internal/external rotator cuff exercises at the end of your shoulder routine will help to strength the four small muscles used to stabilize the shoulder joint during pressing exercises. Triceps muscles are used primarily in the upward motion of the bench press. Close-grip bench press is the most effective way to strengthen your triceps for the bench press, followed by triceps dips.

Chest Workout

Always begin your barbell chest workout with one or two warmup sets with a light weight, followed by two or three working sets of four to eight repetitions. Follow the bench press with three sets of 10 to 20 repetitions each of chest dips. Conclude your chest workout with three sets of eight to 12 reps of incline dumbbell presses, close-grip bench presses and triceps dips. Train your shoulders and rotator cuff on a different day. Allow at least one day of recovery between the chest and shoulder workouts. Thoroughly stretch your pecs, triceps and shoulders after each exercise session.

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