What Body-Weight Exercise Offsets Dips?

Senior man doing a chin-up

Dips are a body-weight exercise that involve movement at the shoulders and elbows. Standing in between a pair of shoulder-width dip bars, you place your hands on the bars and push your body up towards the ceiling. A body-weight exercise to offset dips involves pulling your body, with your joints moving in the opposite direction. Incorporating a body-weight exercise that offsets dips can help you avoid muscle strength imbalances. If you were to only do dips, your shoulders would hunch forward, leading to bad posture and eventually back pain.


When you’re performing dips, your shoulders are performing flexion, meaning that your arms are being lifted upwards towards your front. At the lowered position, your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and then as you push, your shoulders flex and your arms move forward until they’re parallel to your body. It’s the front of your deltoid muscles that are responsible for flexing the shoulders. Simultaneously, as you push upwards, your elbows are extending, or straightening. This is handled by your triceps brachii at the back of your upper arm.

Opposite Joint Movement

Dips consist of shoulder flexion and elbow extension, so the body-weight exercise that offsets dips is one that features shoulder extension and elbow flexion. In this exercise your arms need to move down towards your rear and your elbows go from a straight to bent position. The muscle primarily responsible for shoulder extension is the latissimus dorsi in the back, and your biceps brachii at the front of your upper arms handles elbow flexion.


The body-weight exercise that involves both shoulder extension and elbow flexion is the chinup. The chinup is completed by first reaching up and gripping a bar overhead with your hands shoulder-width apart. The shoulder-width hand placement is similar to what is used during dips. Your hands should be in a supine position, meaning your palms are facing you. Pull your body up towards the bar by bending your elbows and pulling them down towards the side of your torso. Once your chin reaches just above the bar, lower yourself back down until your arms are fully straight.


Just like dips, because chinups utilize body-weight for resistance, they can be a difficult exercise to complete. Your body weight may be too heavy for your current strength levels, but it is possible to modify the exercise to decrease the intensity. If you have a partner, have him stand behind you and place his hands on your hips to help you up towards the bar. If you don’t have a partner, place a chair or stool under the bar where you can place your feet. This allows you to adjust the amount of resistance on your arms.