The Dogma of the Week – Dips

Happy Monday to everyone and welcome to the latest installation of “The Dogma of the Week”.

The topic I have decided to discuss for this week will be on another damaging exercise: Dips

Dips are one of the most damaging of all exercises (in terms of functionality) I have encountered in my personal training career.

People use dips in an attempt to train their upper body, however very few of the people who utilize this exercise know the destructive capabilities it can place on their body in the long term. I myself happened to be one of the victims of this exercise anytime I tried it. I would have friends recommend it to me for the development of bigger triceps and pectoral muscles, but more than anything got more pain than gain. Specifically speaking, the pains were happening in the rotator cuff.

As I began to intuitively learn biomechanics on the movements utilized in the fitness industry, I started seeing how certain exercises could carry damaging effects based upon joint positioning and misalignment. With the dip, this was exactly one of my major concerns. In terms of positioning and stability within the shoulder joint while attempting a dip, already there is a major problem. By bringing your arms behind your body during a dip you’re going to promote an excessive protraction and internal rotation of the shoulder, forcing the small posterior chain rotator cuff muscles to overcompensate for the stability of that area. Why is that a problem? Because we sit like that every day of our life in our westernized culture. By further promoting protracted and internally rotated shoulders during an exercise like this, we are promoting more physical dysfunctions that will inhibit proper motor behavior within your body. If we also take into context the range of motion covered while doing a dip, it furthermore puts the shoulder into an even more imbalanced position. The lower you go, the more imbalance you put on that rotator cuff.

If you want to workout til you’re 120 like me, I would highly recommend getting rid of this movement in your training regimens, as it carries very damaging characteristics. The risk highly exceeds the reward in this exercise and is definitely not worth putting any time into.

Here is a video of me breaking down the dip and how I personally feel about this exercise. Enjoy!!!



  1. Basil August 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Hey Naudi

    What do you recommend as alternatives to doing chest dips with the focus on developing the chest width?

    I’ve been doing chest dips for sometime now and I too have sometimes notice some pain around the rotator cuff at the top of the concetric phase if i dip too deep. If I dont dip deep (go down to where my arms are no more than 90 degrees) then my shoulders feel fine



  2. roj August 28, 2012 at 1:06 am - Reply

    Please advise what would be better alternatives, instead of dips, to workout triceps

  3. karen November 1, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Being a woman in her 40yrs looking at trying to improve imbalances and preventing future injuries.What would be the first thing you would suggest in the products and information you have available for me to start my journey.Your suggestion would be greatly appreciated.If you need more information please let me know.Knowledge is power only if we implement it.,So I must know how to do things correctly before I implement them.

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