January 14, 2011
Want to build serious upper-body strength? Bill Starr says you should be dipping—regularly.
It wasn’t until my third year of training that I came across dip bars, in the weight room at the Wichita Falls, Texas, YMCA. From that day on, dips have been a part of all of my programs for Olympic lifting, powerlifting and strength training in general, and they’re even my current routine in which I do really high reps.
At first, I only dipped with body weight, but once I was able to do 40 reps, I decided I needed to add resistance. Because a dip belt wasn’t available, I used dumbbells. I could lock a dumbbell between my legs, as I had seen models do in the magazines, and knock out my reps. I discovered using a weight made the movement easier to do in that the resistance helped steady me while I dipped.
I encourage all my strength athletes to dip. It’s a great way to strengthen the shoulder girdle, and the strength gained is very convertible to every sport under the sun because every sport demands powerful shoulders and arms. In addition, when dips are added to a routine, the shoulder girdle becomes more stable right away.