Dips Vs Bench Press – Which Is Better For Building Mass And Strength

Dips and bench press are two popular weightlifting exercises that can each help you build muscle mass, especially in your chest and triceps.

But which one should you do? Which exercise will help you achieve your goals faster?

Here’s a breakdown of their pros and cons to help you decide which one is right for you.

Bench press has been a great and popular choice of exercise among bodybuilders.

You will see most bodybuilders doing bench press in their workouts as it is an effective way to add some muscle to your chest. It works on your triceps and pectoral muscles.

The bench press can be done with different weights while dips are quite challenging because they focus more on your triceps than other upper body exercises.

Dips have their own benefits too which have made them one of the popular exercises amongst fitness enthusiasts.

So if you are looking forward to building a better physique then get ready for some serious dips vs bench press comparison workout.

Here, you will learn about both of these exercises and their differences to choose one that suits your requirements best.

What Is The Difference Between Bench Press And Dips

When comparing bench press and dips, you’ll quickly realize that these two exercises aren’t actually very similar.

The bench press involves lying on a flat surface with the weight resting on your chest and then pushing it back to lift it off of you.

To perform dips, however, you need a dip bar set up at a height that will allow you to lower yourself downward toward your toes.

From there, push up as if extending through your arms and shoulders while still balancing on your hands in line with your body.

Both of these exercises are great for building muscle mass, but they do have some differences.

For example, bench presses primarily target your pectoral muscles (chest), triceps (back of arm), and deltoids (shoulders).

Dips also work out those muscles but also target your biceps (front of arm) and lats (back shoulder).

So which one should you choose? 

Are Dips As Good As Bench Press?

If your goal is muscle growth, dips aren’t quite as effective as the bench press.

While they’re definitely beneficial to any workout program, a few limitations of dips can keep them from being your go-to exercise.

In order to build up those chest muscles effectively through dips, you need to do them correctly—and even then it might not have quite as much of an effect as the bench press.

However, if you don’t plan on ever doing bench press in your life and want to continue with dips (or don’t have access to a gym) that’s fine too!

When you compare dips to bench press, it’s important to remember that weight resistance (dips and bench press) have completely different ways of causing muscle growth.

With dips, your hands are taking all of your body weight (your arms are not in a contracted position at all), so you’re pushing some serious weight in comparison to other weight-resistance exercises.

And when you lift heavy—specifically with free weights like in bench press—you activate more of your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers grow larger than slow-twitch fibers do. And larger muscles lead to more strength and less fat overall.

How To Do Dips Correctly

When it comes to building bigger arms with dips or any other bodyweight exercises, proper form is key.

With bench press and other weight-based workouts you have heavy weights to counterbalance you so no matter how sloppy your form might be, it’s unlikely that you’ll hurt yourself.

However, with dips and other bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, your own body weight can put added stress on joints like shoulders and elbows—especially if proper form isn’t used.

In order to correctly perform parallel bar dips start by setting up at a dip station with knees bent at 90-degrees, feet tucked under the footpad, and hands placed behind the head at the bar. 

Next, lower body down until upper arms is parallel to floor (at least) then push back up until arms are straight.

Repeat these steps.

To make sure you’re doing dips properly use these tips: keep chin slightly tucked in; avoid leaning forward; don’t let elbows flare out; don’t let knees come too far forward; keep abs tight; squeeze glutes throughout exercise.

Also, remember to take breaks every few sets and stretch after each workout session!

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How To Do Bench Press Correctly

As a free weight exercise, bench pressing recruits more muscle fibers in more muscles groups than any other chest exercise.

But because it also involves shoulder joints and triceps muscles, along with your chest (the pecs), you need to perform it correctly to avoid injury.

Here’s how: Lie down on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart.

Grasping a barbell at a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip (if you’re using an Olympic bar), slowly lower it over your body until it touches your upper-chest area (near your collarbone).

Then push up until your arms are straight again.

That’s one rep.

Are Dips Safer Than Bench Press?

When it comes to safety, dips and bench press are actually quite similar.

Each exercise can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the shoulder joint and surrounding tissues if performed incorrectly or with too much weight.

The primary difference between the two exercises is their muscle involvement—dips involve more of the smaller muscles of the shoulders and arms than bench press does.

As a result, bench press often leads to issues with joints in other parts of the body like the knees or lower back because it places more strain on those areas. 

Push-ups are another great exercises to help improve your strength for both dips and bench press.

Check out my tips below in this video I recently uploaded to youtube.

Can Dips Increase Your Bench Press?

The best way to improve your bench press is to bench more.

While there are a variety of exercises you can do to strengthen your pectoral muscles (the ones used in bench pressing), doing dips won’t necessarily improve your max bench press because they recruit different muscle fibers.

In addition, dips require increased stability; if you have poor shoulder mobility or stabilization capacity, dips can exacerbate that.

Don’t get us wrong: Dips are great for building upper-body strength—but mainly as a supplemental exercise to help strengthen chest and triceps muscles.

A better strategy would be incorporating either overhead presses or banded pull-aparts into your routine as they target your pecs and shoulders while improving stability at the same time.

Benefits Of Bench Press

dips vs bench press - people-bench-pressing-in-gym

The bench press targets all three of your main upper-body muscle groups: your chest (pectorals), shoulders (deltoids), and triceps.

Your chest muscles provide most of your power during this exercise, while your shoulders help to stabilize and balance you.

If you have strong triceps, they’ll help push up any barbell or dumbbells used in a bench press.

The bench press is one of the best exercises if you want to build big chest muscles because it allows you to lift heavier weights than dips do—and stronger muscles lead to faster muscle growth.

In fact, studies show that participants who used a weightlifting program incorporating bench presses twice per week for 16 weeks had an increase in their muscle size by more than 13 percent!

Downside Of Bench Press

The bench press often puts a lot of weight on your shoulders and can be very strenuous if not done correctly.

When done incorrectly during bench presses, it’s easy to end up hurting yourself.

The more you bench press weights over time, especially when you’re not warmed up enough or in peak physical condition (or with poor form), there’s a good chance that your shoulders will get hurt.

While it’s not as common as an injury caused by squats or deadlifts, shoulder injuries are still fairly prevalent due to how much stress bench pressing places on them.

In some cases, these injuries may require surgery and long periods of rest before resuming training.

Benefits Of Dips

dips vs bench press - man-doing-triceps-dip-on-parallel-bars

Dips are an effective way to work your chest muscles.

Since your body weight is used as resistance and you can add more weight if necessary by holding a dumbbell between your feet, dips are an excellent muscle-building exercise.

They engage multiple joints in your upper body and build full-body strength and balance.

In addition to developing muscle mass and strength, dips also help shape your triceps.

The triceps are located on both sides of your upper arm (right below where your biceps meet).

These muscles extend from your elbow to just above or below (depending on which side) your shoulder joint.

Down Side Of Dips

The only problem with dips is that they are more difficult to perform.

Also, if you don’t have a bench available and want to train at home you may have difficulty getting enough range of motion with dips.

Even just getting in and out of position may be difficult.

This can make workouts hard to fit into your day.

On top of all that, when it comes to muscle building and powerlifting dips just can’t compare to a bench press.

Since your body isn’t supported by anything in dips your range of motion ends up being limited which reduces both how much weight you can lift as well as how many muscles get activated during each dip.

Different Types Of Bench Press

The bench press allows you to hit multiple muscles in your upper body. You can also use it as a main exercise or as a secondary exercise.

To get started with your bench press workout routine, here are five basic types of bench presses.

Standard Bench Press

dips vs bench press - man-in-finish-position-of-bench-press

The bench press might be considered one of the most well-known exercises in any gym.

It’s a classic pectoral move that works your chest and triceps.

To do it correctly, lie face-up on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.

Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip and lower it to about chest level.

Now push it back up until your arms are straight but not locked. That’s one rep.

Close Grip Bench Press

dips vs bench press - man-doing-close-hand-bench-press

The close grip bench press focuses on developing your triceps and chest muscles.

To do it: Lie face-up on a flat bench, only this time keep your thumbs a few inches from each other.

Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and position them directly under your shoulders.

Extend your arms straight up over your body with a dumbbell in each hand.

Lower both dumbbells to just above your lower chest area without moving your upper arms.

Pause, then lift to return to starting position.

Incline Bench Press

dips vs bench press - man-being-assisted-with-incline-bench-press

The incline bench press places more emphasis on your upper pecs and front delts.

This lift should be performed just like a standard bench press except that you adjust your bench to an incline position.

The most popular angle is 45 degrees but 30 to 60 degrees can be used depending on your ability and goals.

Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is often one of many staples in a strongman or powerlifter’s routine.

You may have also seen it at your local gym.

To perform a decline bench press properly, position yourself on a decline bench and bring a barbell to your chest with arms fully extended.

Slowly lower it to your sternum while controlling it down then back up to arm’s length.

Dumbbell Bench Press

dips vs bench press - man-doing-bench-press-with-dumbbells

To do a bench press with dumbbells:

Place two dumbbells directly in front of you and position your feet flat on the floor with your legs bent at 90 degrees.

Grasp each dumbbell using an overhand grip, with hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing forward.

Lie back on a bench until it reaches your shoulders; then place one arm at a time under your torso and rest your head against it.

Tighten your core muscles to stabilize yourself on the bench.

Different Types Of Dips

Dips are an upper-body exercise that targets your chest, triceps, and shoulders.

There are many different types of dips.

The two most common types are parallel bar dips and bench dips.

Both exercises target all muscles in these areas but they can be performed differently.

For example, parallel bar dips use a dip station while bench dips use a flat bench or chair with equal or greater support than you would get from a dip station.

Let’s Look at the 4 most common types of dips.

Bench Dips

dips vs bench press - fit-man-doing-dips-at-home

To do a bench dip, set up with your back resting on a bench and your feet flat on the floor.

With both hands placed on top of a stable object or bench (like a table), lean forward so that your arms are at 90-degree angles.

Then lower yourself toward to ground until your upper arms are parallel to it and then push yourself back up again.

It’s important to keep your core engaged throughout each repetition as well; otherwise, you risk doing more harm than good by adding unnecessary stress to your back.

If you want to make these into dips—which will target chest muscles—shift forward so that there’s tension in your chest before lowering yourself down again.

Straight Bar Dips

dips vs bench press - man-doing-a-muscle-up

To do straight bar dips, grab a high bar on a Smith machine or squat rack with an overhand grip and your arms extended past your shoulders.

Make sure to keep your upper arms close to your torso so they form a 90-degree angle at full extension.

Take a deep breath and then lower yourself until your elbows reach 90 degrees; be sure not to drop below that range of motion to prevent injury.

Straight bar dips are a challenging exercise because they heavily involve your triceps while also putting pressure on other muscles like your deltoids and chest.

However, if you’re trying to target more muscles at once—like in dip/bench press hybrids—be careful about choosing straight bar dips because it will limit which muscle groups you can work with.

Parallel Bar Dips

dips vs bench press - fit-man-doing-dips-at-the-park

Start by grabbing onto parallel bars that are set at shoulder height.

Rest your feet on top of a sturdy box to increase your reach if necessary.

Bend your arms to lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor (just above where they would be when you perform a bench press).

Then, straighten your arms again to push yourself back up.

You should be able to do at least 10 dips with good form before fatigue sets in.

If you find that dips aren’t quite working out and want a bigger chest workout, it’s time to make way for bench presses.

Ring Dips

dips vs bench press - man-doing-a-ring-muscle-up

The ring dip is a variation of dips that adds in extra challenges by making you support your weight with just your arms.

Ring dips can be performed anywhere with rings set at a height appropriate to your fitness level; all you need to do is insert your hands into them and start dipping!

If you’re new to ring dips or even working out in general, keep your feet flat on the ground and try to lower down slowly.

You can also look at getting some help from a friend when it comes time to lift back up again.

As you get stronger, try lifting one leg straight out in front of you while doing dips so that it becomes easier over time.

Eventually, both legs will be dangling straight out in front of you as well!

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Final Mop Up

In short, they’re both great exercises and will develop your chest muscles.

However, there are some differences that might make one more effective than another in any given situation.

Dips may be better if you have limited time to train and are after maximum hypertrophy (muscle growth).

In addition to working your pecs harder with each rep because of increased range of motion compared to bench press, dips also recruit secondary muscle groups such as your triceps to stabilize.

If you’re on a quest for brute strength or competing in powerlifting competitions where total weight lifted matters above all else regardless of how much muscle it takes to get there then go with a bench press.