Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dips "The Upper Body Squat"

The late, great bodybuilder Mike Mentzer referred to dips as the upper body squat. They are one of the top exercises in my book. They work all the pushing muscles of the upper body, chest, triceps, medial and rear deltoids. Dips are a compound (multi-joint) movement, meaning they burn more calories, work more of the body, and help to better regulate male and female hormones. Meaning, if you're a guy and you want bigger, stronger muscles, compound moves will raise your testosterone and growth hormone levels naturally. Females will benefit from increased strength, and shapelier arms and shoulders, unless a woman is using steroids and eating 20x her bodyweight in calories; she isn't going to get "big and bulky.

Be careful not to hurt your shoulders while dipping. A great thing about dips is that you don't need a partner to do forced reps. Just dip to momentary muscle failure. Slide a box over, step on it to where your torso is placed in the top position. Bend your legs, and slowly perform the negative portion of the dip.

3 Types of Muscle Motion
>>every exercise has 3 parts Positive, Static, and Negative. Think of a bicep curl- Positive (lifting), Static (stationary, top of exercise), and Negative (the lowering.)The negative portion of the exercise works deeper into the muscle fibers, as the negative portion will always be stronger than positive. Therefore negative muscle failure will always be a deeper working (and require more recovery time) than positive muscle failure. I can best illustrate this idea with the following scenario. I walk up and hand you a large, heavy dumbbell slightly to heavy for you, and say curl this. You try but can't. I then guide your arm to the halfway portion of the exercise and say, "Hold (Static) this for 5 seconds." Easy, you say. Then I guide your arm to the top of the bicep curl with the heavy weight, and say, "Slowly lower this to the starting position." Easy-peezy-lemon-squeezy.

Adding Weight to your Dips
As you progress in your strength and ability with dips you will need to eventually add more resistance. You can hold a dumbbell between your knees. You can wear a weightlifting belt, and loop a chain through the front, dangling heavy plates between your knees once you're really getting up there in strength. When you start comfortably doing sets of 12 - 15, is a good time to start thinking about adding weight. Because you really want to avoid repetition injuries to the joints. Weight training is, after all, about making the body, mind, and soul stronger; not beating it to a pulp.

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