12 Best Alternative to Dips for Chest and Triceps

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Alternative to dips for chest and triceps

We all may have seen or done dips to strengthen our chest and triceps. But what if you don’t have access to a dip bar? Or if you wanted to do some other alternative to dips, which will give you similar results. Then you are in the right place.

Here, you will find the best alternative to dips both for your chest and tricep. But before landing on to the exercises, let’s know about the differences in chest and tricep dips.

Dips for Chest

When you do dips specifically to target the chest, your body has to lean forward and stretch your chest as you go down. Here, your lower chest will work the most.

Dips for Triceps

To specifically target the tricep, your body has to be straight and should not lean forward when you do dips. You should stay more upright as you go down. Here, all the head of your triceps will work but it works your lateral head a little more than the long head.

Alternatives to Dips

Let’s first talk about some alternatives to dips specifically for your chest.

1. Decline Bench Press

Instructional Fitness - Decline Bench Press

This is probably one of the best alternative exercises to build the strength of your lower chest. This exercise also puts your shoulders in a better position which may reduce the chances of injuries.

Targeted muscles – Pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Lay down on a decline bench with your feet supported at the high end of the bench.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your chest. This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down. Your elbow should be at about 45° angle.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up.

Keep in mind that your hips should not come up during the movement. Also, remember to have a spotter behind right till the end. You can go heavy on this, but your form should be perfect.

2. Single-Leg Incline Pushups

This exercise is another great alternative to dips. You can easily perform this even at home. You just need a table or a bed to perform the exercise. Incline pushups done with a single leg will increase core activation which increases the difficulty level.

Targeted muscles – Pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Place your hands on the edges of the table or a bench. Both hands should be slightly wider than the shoulder width.

2. Keep your legs straight and your toes on the floor. Now move one leg up and hold it there. This will be your starting position.

3. Now start going down by flexing your elbows and reach the edge of the table or a bench. Your lower chest should almost touch the edges. Your one leg should always remain up.

4. Pause at the bottom and then press yourself up to the starting position.

Your hips should not come too up or go too down. It should remain in line with your spine. If you can’t do one leg push up, then do it with both the legs.

3. High Cable Fly

Targeted muscles – Pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Attach the pulleys at the top end of the cable machine. Hold two handles of the cables and stand in between the machine. Place one leg forward and maintain the balance.

2. With your body upright and chest up, start moving the cables forward like you want to hug someone.

3. Your elbow should face up and your hands should go down. There will be a slight bend in the elbow as you move your hands.

3. Pause at the bottom when your hands are underneath your chest. Don’t bend forward, keep an upright position.

4. Slowly bring your hands back and stretch your chest as you move back. Don’t take it too far back.

Don’t go heavy on these cable exercises. You should do more reps on this rather than increasing the weight. Maintain your proper form and atop the exercise whenever you feel pain in the joints.

4. TRX Push-Ups

TRX Push-up Progression - Exercise Demo

This exercise is another great alternative you can use in place of dips. This exercise also requires a lot of stability, which increases the core and torso activation. It’s also a great exercise for athletes.

Targeted muscles – pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Attach a TRX suspension at the top of the cable machine or anywhere in the top where you can fix it.

2. Grab each end of the bands and stand forward with your body leaning forward and keeping your arms straight forward.

3. Keep your hands slightly down the lower chest and slowly bring your body down. Keep your legs straight and maintain the balance.

4. Pause at the bottom when your wrist comes slightly above your lower chest. Slowly blush back to the starting position.

Your shoulders should be back before moving your body. Always keep your chest forward and squeeze your lats as you go down.

5. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press - Chest Exercise

Another great multi-joint exercise for your chest. This will give you a thick and strong lower chest. Do this as an alternative to dips. You can also replace decline barbell press with this.

Targeted muscles – Pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1 Grab two dumbbells and lay on a decline bench. Keep your feet under the pads of the bench for support. Use a spotter to help you lift the dumbbells safely.

2. Keep your hands straight up. The dumbbells should be in line with the lower chest and don’t overextend your lower back.

3. Now start moving the dumbbells down. Your elbow should be at about a 60° angle from the shoulder.

4. Pause at the bottom when your dumbbells are at the side of the lower chest. Don’t take it too down. Keep the dumbbells slightly above your chest.

5. Now push the weights and bring it back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Have a spotter behind you for safety purposes, but don’t completely reply to the spotter. Always use support during the last 1 or two reps. Also remember to keep your shoulders back and chest up before moving the weights.

6. Stability Ball Push-ups

This is an advanced exercise for your chest. You will require great balance and stability while doing the exercise. This can also be used in a full-body workout.

Targeted muscles – pectoral major and minor

How to do

1 Place your hands on a stability ball and slowly bring your feet back and keep it straight.. Hands should as further as the ball allows.

2. Your chest should be in line with your hands. It should not be away from the ball.

3. With your core and hips tight, start bringing your body down until your chest almost touches the ball.

4. Push back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

This exercise is an advanced exercise so beginner or intermediates should stick with the regular push-ups. Once you master the pushup, then slowly and gradually add this to your workout program.

Now let’s talk about some alternatives to dips specifically for your triceps.

7. Bench Dips

If you don’t have a dip bar machine with you, then this exercise is the best alternative for you. You just need a table for this exercise. This will be an easier version of the regular dip we do on a bar.

Targeted muscles – tricep brachii ( all the head)

How to do

1. Place your hands on the edge of the table with your back facing the table. Both hands should be at a shoulder width apart.

2. With the help of an arm, take your legs forward and take your body in front of the table without moving the arms.

3. Keep your legs straight with both feet together. Your shoulders should be rolled back and you chest should be up.

4. Now start moving your body down by flexing your elbows. Reach the bottom and then come back straight up.

You can make this exercise easy by bending your knees rather than keeping it straight forward. Remember to keep your neck neutral.

8. Diamond Push-ups

This is a bodyweight exercise for your triceps. This will be a great strength-building exercise apart from the dips.

You should never underestimate the power of a bodyweight exercise. You should do these exercises quite often to increase the overall strength of your upper body.

Targeted muscles – chest and triceps

How to do

1. kneel on to the floor and place your hands on the floor with both the tips of your thumbs and forefinger touching each other. It should look like a diamond!

2. Now take both the feet back and keep them together. Your legs should be straight and hands should be under the chest.

3. Now slowly take your body down and keep your torso straight. Your elbow should be in and your shoulder should be pinged back.

4. Pause at the bottom and then push back to the starting position.

Pro tip – After a few reps, if you start getting fatigued, then bring your knees down and then continue with the reps.

9. Incline Reverse Grip Pushups

Another awesome exercise to train your triceps and chest. You will feel more on your triceps by keeping your elbows at a 45° angle. If you want to activate your chest more, then keep your elbows in and chest up during the movement.

Targeted muscles- triceps brachii, pecs

How to do

1. Place your hands with an underhand grip on the edge of a bench or a chair. Hands should be shoulder-width apart.

2. Move your body down towards the bench. Your body should be straight and abs should be flexed.

3. Pause at the bottom and then push back up. Your elbows should be at a 45° angle from the shoulders.

You can use two chairs if you don’t have a bench at home. Keep it close to the wall so that it doesn’t move as you do the exercise.

10. Close-Grip Bench Press

This is an awesome compound exercise for your triceps. You can start your workout with this exercise. This will help you to increase the size of your triceps.

Targeted muscles – triceps brachii ( all the head)

How to do

1. Lay down on a flat bench with your feet placed on the floor. Your feet should be under the knees.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands at about 1-2 feet away from each other. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your chest. This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up.

11. Rope Pushdown

Cable exercises will be a great alternative to dips if you find dips challenging or is difficult to do. Do rope pushdowns for some time along with other bodyweight exercises and slowly you will see improvements in your dips.

Targeted muscles – triceps brachii ( lateral and medial head)

How to do

1. Attach a cable rope at the top of a pulley. Hold the end of the rope and step 2 inches away from the cable machine.

2. Keep your should back and bring your chest forward. Your elbow should be at a waist line.

3. Start pushing the ropes down with your triceps without moving your elbows. Bring your hands down and completely extend your elbows.

4. Slowly move your hands up without moving your elbows. Reach the top and then repeat the movement.

You should not swing the weights up and down. Rather do each rep slowly and maintain your proper form.

12. Side-Lying Tricep Dips

You will be surprised after doing this exercise. This looks very easy to do, but trust me it’s not that easy as it seems.

Targeted muscles – triceps brachii

How to do

1. Lay down on a flat surface with your sides on the floor. You can use a yoga mat if the floor is not clean.

2. Place the above hand on the floor, just in front of the chest. You other hand should be placed at the back of your head. This will be your starting position.

3. Start pushing the ground with your hands and bring your body up. Your leg and torso should not move. Pause at the top when your elbow is fully locked.

4. Slowly come back to the starting position and repeat the movement.

You can very easily do this exercise at home. But keep in mind that you should not feel any pain on the joints during the exercise. Stop the exercise whenever you feel pain.

Final Words

So these were some best alternatives to dips. Some can be done very easily at home. All these bodyweight exercises like dips are great to build the strength and size. So do these bodyweight exercises at least once in a week.

If you find this article helpful, then share it with your friends so they can also get the information.

Photo Credits- People photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com


Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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