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Difference Between Tricep Dips & Chest Dips

author image Laura Niedziocha
Laura Niedziocha began her writing career in 2007. She has contributed material to the Stoneking Physical Therapy and Wellness Center in Lambertville, N.J., and her work has appeared in various online publications. Niedziocha graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She also has her Associate of Arts in communications from the Community College of Philadelphia.
Difference Between Tricep Dips & Chest Dips
Vary your body position and grip to work your triceps or chest muscles with a dip. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Dips use your body weight to challenge your muscles and can be varied to work different muscles. For example, the setup and execution can mean the difference between working your triceps and chest muscles. Understanding the difference between the chest and triceps dip can make for a better knowledge of your anatomy as well as more effective time spent in the gym.


Both the triceps dip and the chest dip use a dip bar that can be found in any gym. This is an elevated semicircular bar that you stand inside and use to lift and lower yourself. For the triceps dip, you must use a shoulder-width dip bar to execute the maneuver. For the chest dip, use a wide-grip dip bar to isolate your chest muscles.


The execution of each exercise varies. To perform both of these exercise, you will grip the dip bar. For the chest dip, you will grip the bar so that the bar is held diagonally in your hand. For the triceps dip, the bar will rest straight in your hand. During the execution of each exercise, your form should differ. When doing the chest dip, flare your elbows out to each side as you lower your body into the dip. When working your triceps, keep your upper arms closer to your body and only allow your elbows to bend straight back. Finally, when doing a dip for your chest, you will bend both your knees and hips, but for the triceps dip, your lower body will remain extended.

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Chest Dip Muscles

The chest dip focuses its target on the pectoralis major muscle. This is the large muscle on your chest that originates at your sternum. Assistant muscles to this exercise are the delts, triceps, the clavicular attachment of the pec major, pec minor, lats, rhomboids, levator scapulae and teres major. Your trapezius muscles work to stabilize your spine.

Tricep Dip Muscles

The biggest difference between the triceps dip and chest dip are the target muscles. The triceps dip exercise targets the triceps brachii muscle, which runs up and down the back of your arm, originating at the shoulder joint and attaching to your ulna. Assistant muscles of the triceps dip include the delts, pecs, lats, rhomboids and levator scapulae. Your biceps help stabilize your elbows while your traps stabilize your spine.

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