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Assisted Shoulder Dips

Shoulder dips, also known as triceps or chest dips, target either your triceps or pectoral muscles. In either case, dips also work the anterior deltoid muscle in the front of each shoulder. If you’re not ready to perform standard dips, use an assisted dip machine, which employs a counterweight to make the exercise easier.

  1. Warm up for the exercise by performing five to 10 minutes of light cardio activity, then do some dynamic stretches. Do 10 horizontal arm swings at shoulder height to loosen your shoulders and chest, plus 10 side bends to each side to stretch your triceps and upper back.

  2. Set the desired amount of weight on the assisted dip machine to counterbalance some of your body weight. Unlike most machines, the more weight you select, the easier the exercise becomes.

  3. Climb onto the machine by either stepping onto the resistance lever or kneeling on the resistance platform.

  4. Grip the parallel bars with your palms facing your body and extend your arms completely. Keep your legs straight if you’re standing on a resistance lever while doing triceps dips. Flex your knees and lean forward a bit if you’re performing assisted chest dips.

  5. Inhale as you lower your body by bending your elbows and shoulders. Stop when your upper arms are about parallel with the floor.

  6. Exhale as you push yourself up to the starting position.


    Some dip machines feature adjustable handles. Set the grip at shoulder width to emphasize the triceps, or a bit wider to focus on your chest.

    Perform eight to 12 repetitions. Set the weight so your final reps are challenging.


    See your physician before starting a new exercise routine, particularly if you’ve been inactive for a while or you have any health issues. Stop performing assisted dips if you feel pain.

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About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

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