How to do dips at home with and without equipment

Doing dips at home is no big deal if you know the equipment you need and the precautions you need to take, so don’t hurt yourself up. Many beginners and traveling individuals prefer to do dips in their homes or at their rental places. The reason could be many like maintaining their body or even building strength and foundation before going to the gym. Theoretically, dips are a killer bodyweight exercise that can bring the right amount of strength and muscle mass to your upper body and arms.

This article is about all the ways and techniques on how to do dips at home and exploring the equipment you already have at your home which can be used to perform dips in your house. So please read the article as it talks 1-on-1 about dips at home and precautions you need to take while performing them.

Also read: 5 dumbbell chest exercises without bench

Why are dips important?

Dips are a compound movement exercise and work on three of your upper body muscle groups which are your pectorals, deltoids, and triceps brachialis. These three muscle groups make up the major part of your upper body and strength matrix.

Dips are known to be the most effective movement for the lower chest. Bringing definition and more clarity in your lower pecs, making them look more rounded, mostly people lack on their lower pectorals. This is an exercise to take those lower pecks to a whole another level while also hitting the entire chest.

Dips are an easy and convenient movement and can be performed anywhere with minimum requirements and in a minimum area. This is the beauty of this exercise that is so effective and yet easy to perform, convenient and has many variations.

A study published by t-nation for best chest exercises shows that dips were significantly better than most of the other chest exercises in terms of EMG values i.e chest activation in lower pecs. The following diagram shows how dips outperform pushups and 60kg bench press in terms of lower pectoral activation.

Benefits of dips

1. Strengthen up your upper body – Dips uses most of your upper body muscles. Performing only dips can also strengthen your upper body and lead to muscle gain.

2. Helps in shaping your back – You can shape your upper back by doing partial dips and even correct your back posture.

3. Dips can be performed without equipment – Dips require no equipment, they can be performed on any rigid object having a solid grip.

4. Flexibility and joint movement – Your joint movement around your arms and upper body flexibility will increase.

5. Get stronger – You will get stronger as you increase intensity, reps and add more weights.

6. Multi muscle worker – It hits on most muscles which include triceps, chest, shoulders, abdominals, etc.

7. Triceps strength improves – Dips is a killer movement for your triceps and increases your triceps strength.

8. It helps you to master balancing your body weight for other athletic activities.

Dips activate following muscles during movement:

  • Pectoralis major (your chest)
  • Anterior deltoid (shoulder caps)
  • Triceps brachii (back of your upper arms)
  • Pectoralis minor (outer chest, beneath armpits)
  • Rhomboids (inner upper back)
  • Levator scapulae (outer neck)
  • Latissimus dorsi (mid-back)
  • Teres major (outer back, beneath armpits)
  • Lower trapezius (inner middle back, as a stabilizer)

Dips variations

There are three variations to dips that can be performed at home

Negative dips

Negative dips are best to start for beginners and can be performed at first if you are new to dips. This helps you understand the motion and puts less strain onto your muscles in this movement one has to come down from an up position and only do the eccentric movement on the muscles.

Assisted dips

These are also perfect for a beginner and can be even performed by intermediate to professional individuals. These could focus more on your triceps as in-home; the assistance could be only in the form of keeping your legs onto an object or pushing yourself up with the force of legs or a resistance band in the dip movement.

Hanging dips 

Hanging dips are the real deal, and anyone can perform with some practice, and one can add some extra weight to their body to increase the difficulty of the exercise and add more strength to their muscles. This is the real dips performed by regular gym-goers and professionals, in which no assistance is taken. In these, the body is hanged, and all the movement is performed by your pectorals and triceps movement majorly.

Follow these tips and precautions 

Do not slip through any object or surface make sure it is dry before performing and a grip can be made at that point

Make sure the surface is rigid and tough before performing and can withstand a weight more than your bodyweight

Take protective measures to add a mat below where you perform as many accidents have taken place and might happen with you even after taking other precautions.

Do not put your head and chin up while performing dips as it might cause neck pain.

Do not swing during movement try to balance your weight at one position.

Keep abs contracted to add more balance.

Elbows and shoulders should be locked and not move in the outer direction during the whole exercise.

How to do dips at home

  1. Hold firmly to the object, lean forward, and the width between the arms should not be more than shoulder length; wider grip might cause injury or instability to our body.
  2. Head straight up before performing the movement.
  3. Using your triceps and pectorals, push the holding object to make you lifted in a hanging position.
  4. Use triceps and pectorals movement to go down; feel more while the eccentric movement, it is better for the muscle growth.
  5. Chin down for extra reps- chinning down while training can help you add some extra reps to your exercise And focus more on your muscles
  6. For Tricep Activation do not go too deep and fully extend your arms.

The following video shows the difference between activating your chest or your triceps in dip movement

Home Objects or tools to use for Dips (Equipment Alternative)

In general, in terms to perform dips, we need an object which has two parallel holdings onto which we can put our arms and perform the dips. (and if not present, we will make one using some general objects present at household.)

Parallel bar or similar object

This would be the best of all the other things one can look out or perform. As it would make the natural movement for your dips the best examples are railing of stairs at home, your grandpas walking assistance or a parallel dip bar for home, etc. (you have to find one) there are many options in the house which could land you up with a parallel bar comparable object

Variations that can be performed – negative, assisted, hanging.

Primary muscle-chest

Between chairs

Between the chairs is the most used way at home to do dips from the old Arnold era. This has been going on till now for many intermediate and beginners and will help you to get some pump when you are not able to make it to the gym or are lockdown in the pandemic (Maybe even in future pandemics). But make sure the chairs are rigid and firm and can hold a decent amount of weight, and don’t forget to add weights on the sitting end.

Variations that can be performed – hanging, negative avoid assisted.

Primary muscle-chest or triceps

Corner of the kitchen 

This alternative works like a charm. It is available in every home; just make sure the surface is well dry and non-slippery; keep your balance towards your torso and not to your head. Another thing to look at is the width between your arms should not be too much, only a bit more than shoulder length.

Variations that can be performed – hanging, negative avoid assisted.

Primary muscle-chest or triceps

Between a table and a chair

The table and chair combo is something very feasible and hits your triceps like none other. Best for tricep activation, these fall under un-assisted dips as your legs would be on the table and arms on your chair make sure the table has a lower elevation than your chairs or do the vice-versa.

Variations that can be performed – Assisted (best for triceps activation)

Primary muscle-triceps


Chest dips are a must exercise to build lower chest and overall pectoral muscle development along with its benefits on triceps and shoulders. These can be performed in your home, park, gym, anywhere, and even with added weights or chains for extra strength development, any variation of dips exercise should be done with proper knowledge and precaution mentioned above to stay away from any injury.

Also read: Outdoor pull up bar – DIY, benefits, best variations


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