Dips vs Push ups: Comparing Two Popular Chest Exercises

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You can call me the Fitness & Health GEEK. I've been involved in the fitness industry since 2015. Exercise and Nutrition are my bread and butter.

In the fitness world, many controversial topics confuse people causing big problems with results. Beginners and self-coaching folks get confused when a controversial topic comes in, as there are two sides to any story.

You will see many people vouch for one side and many others vouch for the other one while you are the one drowning in the topic.

In this post, we will break down the Dips vs Push ups controversial topic and discuss every little detail in it.

Comparing dips vs push ups gets confusing because both exercises are trendy among the fitness industry.

Have you ever seen a single bodybuilder not doing dips or push-ups? A single calisthenics player not doing them?

push ups

The answer is, No.

Because these two exercises are so popular, people get confused about them, which one should I do, which one is better than the other inactivating specific muscle groups, and so on.

Both exercises are bodyweight-based but yet so effective. Bodyweight-based exercises get the rep that they are only for beginners, which is totally wrong.

Bodyweight-based exercises target the muscle in the same way resistance-based exercises target the muscles. The only difference is that you use your body weight instead of external weight.

However, several mechanisms allow you to use these bodyweight-based exercises as resistance-based and increase the intensity. We will talk about each exercise and mechanism later in the post.

Dips

Dips are a great exercise that you will see every great bodybuilder do regularly. Of course, that is for a reason. Dips exercise usually needs a dip bar to be done, or if you have two bars parallel to each other in the park, that would be great.

Dip bars are found in most of the commercial gyms and even garage gym setups. Usually, you will find a dip bar and a standing pull-up bar that is more convenient and more affordable.

Another way to do it is to do the tricep dips, which are on a regular bench. Unfortunately, this variation only targets your triceps and front shoulders.

Dips exercise works your chest muscles, triceps, and front shoulders primarily. Dips are usually done in the chest day as it is a great chest exercise that targets the lower chest heavily with great stimulus.

The dips exercise could also be done in the push day as it targets all the push muscles at once. As dips is a bodyweight-based exercise, it could be a resistance-based exercise as well.

Dips could be weighted with loads in the form of plates or dumbbells. Ideally, you would choose to get a dip belt and hang weight plates on it.

Less ideally, you would hang a dumbbell in between your legs, but of course, you will handle a little bit of instability, but it will do the job.

Pros

  • Could be done for various fitness levels: Dips exercise has the ability to be a great and effective exercise for both beginners and advanced athletes. You would do some triceps dips on a bench for a while then you will be able to progress to regular dips on a dip bar.
  • You could increase intensity: When you perform the dips exercise regularly, the exercise gets easy and would require more weight to feel effective and get you results. To do that, you will have to put on the dip belt. The dip belt will allow you to load real weight on your body and challenges it to grow. What is so good about it is that you will be able to put as much weight as you want.
  • Targets different muscle groups: The dip exercise is great because you have the ability to control how much you target this specific muscle. For example, if you are standing straight while doing the dips, you will target the triceps more. But if you leaned forward a little bit, you will target the chest more. Having the ability to target different muscle groups with different concentrations allow you to balance and develop your entire body as you desire.

Cons

  • Shoulder pain: Many people experience shoulder joint pain while doing the dips, and they can’t take it anymore. This pain is often caused by the wrong technique and not tucking your shoulders in and down at the same time. If you have a previous injury in the shoulders or experiencing shoulder pain while doing the exercise, consult your coach about your technique.
  • Requires equipment: The big downside of dips is that it requires equipment to be done. For example, the regular dips require parallel dip bars to be done. The triceps dips variation requires a bench to be done, and so on.

Push-ups

Push-ups exercise is by far the most popular exercise in the fitness industry, but it is popular among various populations and communities.

Everyone nearly does push-ups, many friends in high-school compete with each other by doing the biggest reps in the push-ups, and by that, they build a great foundation in their youth.

The push-ups exercise is a bodyweight exercise that targets your chest, front shoulders, and triceps. Unlike dips, the push-ups exercise targets your whole chest heavily, not only the lower part.

It also has so many variations that target and focus on different muscles. Some variations focus heavily on the triceps, while other variations focus on the upper chest more.

Unlike dips, push-ups exercise does not require any pieces of equipment to be done. You will do it on any floor or space available to you.

However, there are different variations of the push-ups that would usually require a bench, such as an incline and decline push-up variations.

The push-ups exercise gets the rep that it is only effective for beginners. Obviously, this claim is so wrong. Push-ups could be loaded with weights just as the dips but with less effectiveness.

You could load the push-ups exercise with weight plates on your back, but you will face some stability and balance issues. Another brilliant idea is to wear a weight vest.

You will not face any stability issues by wearing it, and it would load the exercise properly. Also, it could be done with resistance bands for higher intensity.

Pros

  • No equipment needed: What is so special about the push-up exercise is that it does not need any equipment to be done. The push-up’s simple and effective variation would require a floor or a space to be done. However, some variations would require equipment such as a bench to perform decline or incline push-up.
  • A different focus on different muscles: The push-ups exercise such as the dips could focus on different muscles with different variations. For example, the decline push-up variation focuses more on the upper chest than the regular push-up variation. The incline variation focuses more on the lower part of the chest and the triceps more.
  • Could be loaded: The push-ups exercise could be loaded in many ways, such as the dips. It could be loaded with a weighted vest, weight plates placed on your back, or with a resistance band. The most popular way to load the push-ups is to do it with resistance bands.

Cons

  • Not as good for strength purposes: The push-up exercise is good for hypertrophy sessions and goals as it is not the best exercise to increase the strength capabilities. Unlike dips, the push-ups exercise is best for high rep ranges resulting in great hypertrophy results.
  • May not be effective for advanced lifters: Push-ups exercise tends to be not as effective for advanced lifters because they need high loads and intensities to challenge their bodies and muscles.

Why should I be doing them?

As we said, dips and push-ups are two of the best exercises for the chest, shoulders, and triceps. They can build a tremendous amount of muscles as well as the ability to increase strength.

If you have the goal of building muscles and losing fat altogether, these exercises should be the first on your workout list.

Related

Dips vs Push Ups in Conclusion

In conclusion, each one of these exercises has its pros and cons. The dips could be the best exercise done on your push day as an advanced lifter, and it could be loaded heavily to allow for progress and enough stimulus for advanced lifters.

Not only that, it is a good option for beginners and intermediates too as it has variations that are suitable for different fitness levels.

We have discussed all aspects regarding the dips vs push-ups controversial topic. All you have to do is to read carefully and know which one is the best for you.

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