Parallel bar dips are an advanced variation of the tricep dip exercise on a bench or elevated surface. Both moves work your triceps, chest, shoulders, and arm muscles.

To perform parallel dips, you can do body weight or add extra weight during the exercise by:

  • wearing a dip belt with weights attached to it
  • wearing a weighted vest or a heavy backpack
  • holding a dumbbell between your ankles

Weighted dips should only be performed if you already have good upper body strength and can perform the exercise with good form at body weight. If you’re new to weighted dips, try doing regular bench dips first to get the move down and build your strength or add assistance to the dip machine until you are able to perform the move at body weight.

What are the benefits of dips?

Dips help strengthen the muscles in your: chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back, and lower back.

When done correctly, weighted dips can add muscle mass to your upper body. This exercise can also help build your strength for other exercises like bench presses.

Another benefit of dips is the ability to work opposing muscle groups at once. This is due to the fact that dips are a closed kinetic chain exercise.

With kinetic chain exercises, the hands or feet are pressed against an immovable surface — in this case, parallel bars or a bench. These exercises are beneficial because they work multiple opposing muscle groups at the same time and isolate the muscles you are trying to work.

Follow these steps to do weighted dips safely and with good form.

  1. Align your body in between the two parallel bars on the assisted dip machine. If you are needing assistance, make sure the assisted knee pad is in it’s upright position and place your knees on top of it. As it lowers to your starting position with your arms straight, tighten all the muscles in your body.  Hold onto the bars as you hold your body at arm’s length — arms and elbows straight and locked. Keep your head in line with your trunk, wrists in line with your forearms.
  2. Inhale as you slowly start to lower your body. Let your torso move slightly forward and your elbows to flare out alongside your body’s path of travel.
  3. Once you feel a stretch in your chest, and your elbows are close to a 90 degree angle or slightly less, breathe out and start to push yourself slowly back up to the starting position squeeze the triceps hard.

Repeat the movement.