How Much Should I Bench For My Weight And Height Parallel Bar Dips – The Upper Body Squat

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Parallel Bar Dips – The Upper Body Squat

The bench press is usually called the king of upper body exercises, but that’s just not true. Yes, it’s a big compound movement that works most of the upper body muscles, but it doesn’t really get the job done. Barbell squats are called the king of lower body exercises, and this is true, while the leg press is an also run. Why? For the same reason, bench press takes a backseat to parallel bar dips.

What makes parallel bar diving superior? First off parallel bar dips are a balancing exercise with only your hands to support you, just like barbell squats with only your feet to support you.

Second, the entire upper body must work together to stabilize itself as the arms go from extended to fully bent and back up again just like barbell squats except for the fact that barbell squats force the entire body into the movement, making it superior in that regard.

Third, the extreme range of motion possible with parallel bar dips cannot be matched by the bench press, even the dumbbell version, which has a higher risk of injury due to trying to control two heavy dumbbells when you start to tire and begin to lose control of two independent scales. Parallel dips mimic barbell squats in their vertical trajectory, extreme extension, resulting in the highest possible degree of stretch, providing the greatest potential for complete development throughout the range of motion. This is a very important aspect when choosing any exercise, as the stretch is just as important as the contraction.

Fourth, parallel bar dips are one of the few multi-joint exercises that maintain tension on the muscles involved in the movement from extension to lockout, yes I said lockout. Like barbell squats at lockout, the upper and lower arm bones lock out just like the upper and lower bones of the legs, but unlike the knee joint where you can lockout and hold the weight, even resting for a few more reps, the triceps muscles cannot rest when the arms are locked out when you do parallel dips like they can when you do the bench press.

Due to the body being suspended over the hands and the forward pull in this position, the triceps have to fight to keep the elbows locked. Also unlike the bench press, the pectorals are never allowed to rest, even at lockout they contract hard to prevent you from falling forward. The front and side split deltoid heads work throughout the range and lockout. The amount of muscle fiber stimulation, continuous tension, time under tension, the totality of muscle groups involved, extreme reach and extreme stretch make parallel bar dips the king of upper body exercises, a worthy equal to barbell squats.

To break down the mechanics of parallel dips and compare it to barbell squats, the triceps act as the quadriceps, the biceps act as the hamstrings, the forearms act as the calves, the pectorals act as the glutes, the deltoids act as the hips, the trapezius act as the lower back, the abdominals and spinal erectors act as stabilizers to keep the body still and hold position and the latissimus act as a solid base for the upper arms to push off and work with the triceps to move the arms into a straight arm position and help the triceps guide the body into the bottom position, which acts like a spring that tightens.

The trapezius, latissimus and triceps work together to get the body out of the hole and as the body rises the deltoids and pectorals take on greater roles, the pectorals and trapezius work together, the latissimus braces the deltoids and triceps as they move to locked out. A really powerful move.

The possible strength potential with parallel bar dips is significant, I myself have used well over a hundred extra pounds strapped to me for reps. My brother at the higher end of the possibility has parallel bar dips for five reps at full range with front delts touching the hands at the bottom to extended arm lockout with two hundred and five pounds of extra weight strapped to him with a body weight of one hundred and ninety pounds , quite a sight to behold.

As with any exercise, good form is essential to avoid injury and ensure complete development, especially with an exercise like parallel bar dips. Trust me, you can’t fake heavy dips, they will kick your ass and quickly show you who’s boss. This is a true power exercise and one that must be respected, you must have total focus the entire time, there is no room for daydreaming or sloppy form, drop to the bottom position and if you must do partial reps, stay close to the top of the movement, so you can handle some heavy weights, you’re wasting your time and have missed the whole point of doing this movement.

Let’s quickly go over the execution of the movement, starting with your arms locked, supporting your weight, with your hands grasping two bars placed about two feet apart and at a height so that your bent knees do not make contact with the floor at the bottom of the movement, focus completely on remaining still and lowering yourself by bending your arms in a slow controlled manner, keeping them close to your sides, feeling your muscles tighten like a spring until you come to a smooth stop with your hands in contact with your front delts with your arms bent as far as they can bend, feel the stretch in your chest and then stay tight start pushing yourself back up, don’t bounce off the bottom and keep your body as still as possible for straight arm lockout.

Do not let the elbows snap at lockout or drop out of lockout on the downstroke, if you do this you will be using too much extra weight and not having control of the weight.

You may also have heard that there are two ways to do parallel bar dips, by leaning far forward for the chest and keeping the body as vertical as possible for the triceps. It is best to do parallel dives in a natural neutral position that feels comfortable and is easy to maintain.

If you do parallel dips in the bar with an excessive forward lean, the elbows and front parts as well as the rotator cuffs are negatively loaded.

Doing parallel bar dips with a straight up and down position is difficult to maintain as the reps become more difficult as well as the fact that the muscles have enough to handle to keep you balanced over your hands while in motion.

If you want to target the triceps more than the pectorals, bench dips are a far superior choice as they actually place your upper body in front of your arms, shifting more stress to your triceps, making it easy to maintain position so you can focus all your attention on the tricep action while still getting the benefits of extreme range of motion, superior triceps and pectoral stretch improved shoulder joint mobility beyond even regular parallel dips in the bar, and continuous tension though making the lockout easier to hold and thus the need to not hang during lockout.

Parallel bar dips fit nicely anywhere in a routine, used in the beginning you could do a lot worse than parallel bar dips and cross bench dumbbell pullovers in building size and strength in your chest, deltoids and triceps in a simple basic mass format.

Performed at the end of the chest portion of your workout, parallel bar dips can push your chest and deltoids hard when you use more isolated exercises beforehand.

Performed at the end of the triceps portion of your workout, your chest, shoulders, lats, and traps can push your triceps to greater size and development.

If I could only do two exercises for the upper body, I would choose shoulder width under grip chins and parallel bar dips, upper body squat.

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