Are you happy with your current fitness level? Do you dream of having a sculpted chest and well-defined arms? Everyone wants to have a strong chest and toned arms that complement their build. To feel comfortable in their own skin and have confidence in the outfits they wear in order to cultivate their own aesthetic.
If you’ve been consistently working out at least 3-4 days every week, but you do not see the definition in your chest and arms it might be time to switch it up for upper body day and add uneven bar pushups to your fitness routine.
But why should you do that? Today we’re going to break down exactly what this exercise is, why you should be utilizing it, and how to safely perform this movement to get the most out of your workouts and build muscle more effectively.
What are Uneven Bar Pushups?
Uneven bar pushups are also known simply as dips. There are many different variations of dips with chest dips and triceps dips being some of the most common forms. Though there are many variations of dips, one thing they all have in common is a general movement itself. Bend at the elbow, lower yourself so that your upper arm is parallel with the ground, then push yourself back up to your starting position. It is a simple, yet effective exercise.
What differentiates one variation of dips from another is the positioning and angle of the body. For triceps dips, you’ll hold a vertical body position during the exercise, but for chest dips, you’ll lean forward about 30 degrees.
Additionally, though it is typically performed as a bodyweight exercise, it is easy to build upon with the utilization of weights to increase resistance. Things like weighted belts, plates, dumbbells, or ankle weights are useful tools depending on what variation you choose.
What Muscles Are Being Worked?
Largely speaking, the main dips muscles worked during this exercise are the chest and triceps, but depending on the positioning and angle of your body other muscles will act as stabilizers to support the primary muscles being used.
Triceps dips primarily target the triceps brachii (arm muscles), but the anterior deltoid (shoulder muscles), as well as the pectoralis major and minor (chest muscles), are also activated assisting the primary muscles. The trapezius (back/shoulder muscles) assist with stabilization during this variation.
Chest dips primarily target the pectoralis major and minor (chest muscles) with the triceps brachii (arm muscles), anterior deltoid (shoulder muscles), and back muscles such as the rhomboids, levator scapulae, latissimus dorsi, and teres major assisting the primary muscles. The trapezius (back/shoulder muscles) once again acts as the stabilizing muscles during this variation.
Why Should You Add Them to Your Routine?
Dips are a great addition to your upper body routine for a number of reasons. For one thing, they can be done anywhere at any time making them one of the most convenient exercises to utilize. They are also easy to integrate into any part of your routine. They can be used as a warmup exercise to activate the mind-muscle connection, or they can be used as a burnout exercise by saving it as your last exercise and pushing until failure.
Because they are easy to scale up by adding weights to your workout, they are one of the most versatile workouts you can incorporate into your routine. This means they are beginner-friendly as well as an effective exercise for some of the most advanced athletes out there.
Variations of Dips and How to Perform Them
So now we know what dips are and why they are a great addition to any workout routine. Let’s talk about some of the different variations and how to safely perform the exercises.
Triceps dips can be performed by utilizing a countertop, a set of chairs, or raised benches if you do not have access to a captain’s chair machine. For this example, I’ll be describing how to use the captain’s chair.
Start by setting up. Climb up onto the dip station and grip the handles. Lift your body up with your arms straight and feet off the ground. You can keep your legs straight or bend at the knee and cross your ankles. Keep your shoulder back and chest up. Do not lean forward. This will activate more of your chest muscles and take the focus off of your triceps which is not what we want for this exercise. Lower yourself down allowing your elbows to bend until your upper arm is parallel with the ground and keep your arms tight to your side. This will help you control the movement. Do not go below a 90-degree angle. At this point, push up to return to your starting position.
Chest dips can also be performed on the captain’s chair or by utilizing the previously mentioned benches, chairs, or countertops. The main difference in body positioning is that you will lean forward at a 30-degree angle as you lower your body to the ground in order to focus more on the chest muscles and not so much on the triceps.
Any of the dip variations can be intensified by adding weight. If you are using the captain’s chair or dip station, we would suggest investing in a weight belt. Use this by placing the belt around your waist, adding plaits at the end of the attached chain, and double checking the plates are secured.
If you’re using benches or chairs, simply place the weight, either a plate or dumbbell, in your lap and perform the exercise as you normally would.
Overall, uneven bar pushups are an excellent workout to add to your fitness routine. They can help you achieve a beautifully sculpted chest and arms as long as you are consistent with your workout routine. As with any other exercise, it does come with some risk of injury when not executed with proper form so be sure to focus on the correct posture and get used to the movement before adding weight to any of the variations.