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5 Best Chest Dip Alternatives

Chest Dips Alternatives

Dips are one of the best chest exercises out there. It’s a classical movement that bodybuilders and athletes use to build upper body strength and power.

This exercise can be challenging to some people and way too easy for others. And, in some cases, you may not even have access to appropriate equipment like dip bars or a dip station.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 chest dip alternatives that you can use to train the major muscle groups in your upper body like your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

What is a Dip?

It’s a compound exercise that helps you work on a huge group of muscles simultaneously using your body weight and strength. The exercises majorly involve using parallel, dip, or pull-up bars.

Most individuals use the exercise to build their upper body strengths, as the exercises target the shoulder, triceps, and chest muscles. Depending on your desired muscles, we’ve got different dip variations you can use. The variations involve changing the arm, form positions, and even the angles to help alternate the focus on the muscle groups.

What Muscles Do Dips Work?

Most individuals use dips workouts to build the upper body weight, as the workouts target some upper body muscles. Below are the muscles that the dip exercise works:

Triceps brachii muscle

Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii is a muscle running down your upper arm’s longest bone. Dips are essential exercises that help fix flabby arms look that most individuals usually struggle with. Apart from their aesthetic benefits, they are also helpful in stabilizing your shoulder and elbow.

Pectoralis muscles


Chest dips exercises are important for targeting both your minor and major pectoralis group of muscles. When strengthening this group of muscles, you can dramatically sculpt your chest and enhance your forward arm rotation.



They are upper back muscles vital in pulling your shoulder blades. The pulling helps to stabilize your shoulders. Chest dips are important exercises to ease the pain or pops in your shoulders and any frequent upper back knocks.

Levator Scapulae

Levator Scapulae

Fitness experts consider it an upper back muscle, but the levator scapulae are a group of muscles running from the shoulder to the neck that chest dips targets. Any tightness or weakness of these muscles results in neck pain or shoulder blade and severe & frequent headaches.

Latissimus Dorsi

Latissimus Dorsi

It’s one of the largest back muscles that allow the proper movement of your shoulders from the body. Additionally, the muscles help accommodate the spine to allow you easily access your things out of a normal reach.

Teres Major

Teres Major

It’s an essential shoulder muscle important in helping the other muscles achieve a stabilized and wider range of motion. The teres major muscles are important to help us extend our arm despite its flex. Chest dips will be essential to achieving this goal.

5 Chest Dip Alternatives

Chest dips are vital to upper body strength. However, due to various reasons such as inadequate equipment or physical limitations, it may be challenging to achieve these exercises. We’ve got some alternative chest dip exercises you can choose from and achieve similar or identical benefits. Below are the best alternatives:

1. Cable machine tricep pushdown

It’s a special exercise that targets the triceps, important in defining your body’s upper arms. You can use a resistance band when exercising instead of the machine. While executing the exercise, you’ll have to face the cable machine with the bar adjacent to your chest. Then grab the machine bar with your arms facing downwards, hands at shoulder width, then brace your abdominals.

After bracing your abdominals push the bar down towards your hips, ensuring that your elbows are close to your body. Once you have completely extended your arms, bring the bar back slowly to the starting point and repeat the procedures.

2. Decline dumbbell bench press

It’s a slight variation of the dumbbell flat bench press, requiring you to set the training bench at 15 to 30 degrees horizontally. It’s an important position that emphasizes your body’s lower pecs and helps work out shoulder muscles and triceps effectively. When performing the exercise, you’ll have to lie on the declined training bench with your back and hold the dumbbells in your hands.

Hold these dumbbells directly above your chest cavity and ensure you have fully extended your elbows and have your hands perpendicularly to the ground. Then lower the dumbbells slowly to your chest sides by bending your elbows and holding them closer to your body. This position creates a 45-degree angle at the movement’s bottom. Hold this position for approximately five seconds before getting it back to the original position.

3. Push-ups

It may not be one of the interesting exercises, but its simplicity is the key feature that makes it an essential exercise. Push-ups are essential for your shoulder muscles, pecs, and triceps. In addition, the exercises are important for stabilizing your back muscles and core. When executing the exercise, you’ve to get to a plank position. Ensure your palms are comfortably on the floor (preferably use a mat to enhance comfort), your hands must be under your shoulder and the legs straight to achieve optimal results.

While positioning ensures you can engage your core to maintain a proper form during the push-ups. Then lower your chest slowly towards the floor. It’ll be good to avoid lying down, curving or bending your back, or lowering the knees on the mat. After getting your chest on the flow, raise yourself slowly and repeat the process severally.

4. Rings or straps dips

Most fitness experts refer to it as a suspended chest press due to the nature of the exercise. Strap chest press mimics the parallel bar or chest dips motion. This chest dip alternative effectively targets your core, chest, and shoulder muscles. When executing the exercise, grab your straps handles, ensuring that the anchor points behind you.

Importantly, ensure that you keep the handles at your shoulders and the arms straight. Then lower yourself gently until your arms meet the chest. The lower position should mimic the push-ups movements. It’ll be good to ensure your elbows are level with your shoulders. After achieving the proper position, raise your back slowly by squeezing the arms together. Repeat the movement several times.

5. Barbell bench press

It’s a common exercise important for your upper body muscles and strength. It provides greater benefits for your forearms, front shoulders, triceps, and chest muscles. Additionally, it works indirectly with your neck and back muscles, vital for supporting your body.

When executing this workout, you have to lie on your training table with your back. Grab the barbell with a width slightly wider than shoulder width. Importantly, ensure the barbell is at an angle coming at your middle chest, but avoid touching your chest when lowering the weight. Then inhale and lift your weight until your arms are upright. Wait for approximately two seconds, and lower the weights while breathing out slowly. Have several sets of this movement to achieve optimal results.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between chest dips and triceps?

The triceps and chest dips are the main dip variations that target the pectoral or triceps muscles. Both dips use a dip bar to execute the movements and workouts, but they slightly differ based on the hand’s position when executing the workouts.

When executing the chest dip, you should have your elbows flaring to the sides and your trunk leaning forward. In addition, you must lower your body into the workout dip, and the hips & knees must bend during the workout. This positioning and movement are essential to target your pectoral muscles, which increase your chest muscles and strength.

In contrast, when having the triceps dips, you should have the upper arms closer to your body than the chest dips. You’ll have to hold your torso upright while bending your elbows straight-back when lowering into the dip when executing the workout. Additionally, when having this dip, your lower extremities will remain in an extended position, unlike in the chest dips, where your lower extremities will be in a flexed position.

How to perform chest dips?

You’ll have to lower your body between two parallel handles or bars on a dip station when performing chest dips. You can also choose chairs or benches if you lack the appropriate equipment. Importantly, you can choose to add some weight or use your weight when having the dips.

Nevertheless, it’ll be vital for beginners to start with their weight before adding more weight to the process. While executing the process, you can either kneel or sit on the bench, then have several sets of chest dips. When using the machine, you can adjust the weight to suit your preferences or fitness level.

What are the benefits of doing chest dips?

Chest dips are essential upper body exercises important for various fitness and health goals. They help individuals gain extra weight on their bodies, enhance the effectiveness of the exercises and provide a greater challenge. In addition, it’s the appropriate workout if you’re seeking to build your upper body strength, and mass and significantly sculpt your muscles.

Final Thoughts

Chest dips on appropriate equipment or dip machines are essential to ensure an effective and quick way to build your upper body and arms muscles. However, most individuals might find it challenging to achieve this workout due to inadequate equipment or fitness requirements. We’ve got a chest dip alternative that uses resistance bands or dumbbells to achieve similar benefits. These alternative workouts are essential to enhance the upper body and arm strength and muscle growth.