Although these bodyweight exercises mainly targets the triceps, it also hits your chest and anterior deltoid, or the front part of your shoulder.⠀
A great way to progress towards full dips is by first practicing with your feet resting on the ground. This is typically accomplished by placing your hands on a bench or other object positioned behind the back, with your hands in a pronated (palms down) grip. Make sure to hold your chest up high and try not to let your shoulders shrug.⠀
The jump from bench dips to parallel bar dips can be a big hurdle. You’ll likely need to be able to do at least twenty bench dips before you’ll manage even one dip on the parallel bars. ⠀
First, you need to tilt your torso forward a bit to maintain proper shoulder alignment when performing parallel bar dips. Your elbows should stay approximately over your hands, so your shoulders will wind up in front of them.
You can vary the degree to which you do this, and doing so can change which muscles are emphasized – the more you lean forward, the more you’re working your chest; the more upright you stay, the more you’re working your triceps.⠀
Also, remember to stay mindful of keeping your abs engaged and maintaining a tight body throughout the range of motion. You don’t want your hips or legs to swing at all during your dips.⠀
When doing parallel bar dips, you want to achieve a minimum of 90 degrees of flexion as measured along the outside of your elbow, which is deeper than most people realize. ⠀
If you have healthy shoulders and can increase the range of motion without discomfort, feel free to go all the way down until the bars are practically in your armpits. Make sure to come to a full extension at the top of each rep, too.⠀