Dips are a popular exercise that builds mass in the upper chest muscles and strengthens them using only body weight. If you want to give your triceps and pectoral muscles a good burn, then you should include dips in your workout. 

Although chest dips are considered an essential exercise, it requires a lot of upper body strength and control to shift the entire body weight. Because of this, some people just cannot execute this exercise correctly, leading to pain and discomfort in the shoulder muscles. 

Fortunately, it’s not the end of the road if you do not have a Portable Dip Bar or it’s a challenge for you to do a chest dip. A Power Tower might be worth considering if you are looking for a Dip Bar that includes entire body exercise.

There are various Home Chest Dips and alternative exercises that you can do! So, without further adieu, here are 10 chest dip alternatives to buff up your chest muscles without suffering any setbacks!

Chest Dips Alternative Exercises (Our 10 Recommendations)

1. Decline Bench Press

If your aiming to target your lower pectoral muscles, then this inverted version of a typical bench press is what you need! Decline bench presses lessen the strain on your shoulders and back while carrying the extra effort to the lower chest. When doing a decline bench press, it’s best to have a spotter. Also, this exercise is considered the most similar to a chest dip.

How to do it

  • Set up a decline bench press.
  • While laying at a 45-degree declining angle, position your shoulders directly under the bar.
  • Put your legs firmly under the leg brace to keep a secure stance during the exercise.
  • Steer the base of your hand through the bar and wrap your thumb around it.
  • Using the weight of the bar, drive your shoulders back into the bench.
  • Produce additional tension by pulling your traps downwards and pushing your chest upwards.
  • After unracking the bar, bring it forward until it’s in line with your lower chest or upper abdomen. 
  • Control the bar by rowing it down towards your lower chest or upper abdomen. 
  • When you reach the bottom, direct the weight of the bar away from your torso until your elbows are completely extended.
  • Repeat as many reps as necessary. 

2. Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a perfect alternative because it adds muscle mass to your upper body and recruits your triceps and chest muscles. Since this exercise has a narrow hand position, it has an increased range of motion than a bench press. With a close grip bench press, you’ll experience greater duration, mobility, and challenge. 

How to do it

  • Lie under the bar. Keep your shoulders slightly in front of it to lessen the line of travel after you unrack.
  • The hand placement should be about shoulder-width apart or slimmer than a conventional grip.
  • Move the base of your hand through the bar, and wrap your thumb around it.
  • With the weight of the bar, direct your shoulders back into the bench.
  • Produce additional tension by pulling your traps downwards and pushing your chest upwards. 
  • After unracking the bar, bring it forward until it’s parallel with your lower chest or upper abdomen.
  • Slowly propel down the bar to your lower chest or upper abdomen.
  • When you reach the bottom, guide the weight of the bar away from your torso until your elbows are completely stretched.
  • Repeat as many reps as necessary.

3. Push-Ups

Another alternative to include in your workout routine is Push-Ups. This exercise can be one of the best bodyweight training that you can do if you nail the correct form. Like chest dips, this exercise target muscles in your chest and triceps but, it’s much easier to execute and easily adapted. 

Just avoid flaring your elbows as you lower yourself because the tighter they are to your body, the more challenging the push-ups become.

How to do it

  • Keep your shoulder, elbows, and wrist aligned. Then, put your hands flat on the floor with your arms extended.
  • Your legs should also be straight behind you with your toes touching the ground. For a more convenient version, you can put your knees on the floor instead of keeping your leg straight.
  • Bend your elbows and lower yourself down towards the floor, but don’t let your body touch it.
  • Use your hands to push yourself up until your arms are straight. Then, return to the starting position.
  • Repeat twelve to fifteen times or do as many as you can.

4. Diamond Push-Ups

Similar to having a closer grip on the bench press, this variation of the traditional push ups engages the pressing mechanics of your triceps. Because diamond push-ups are a bodyweight exercise, you don’t need any equipment, making it an excellent home workout.

Because of the closer proximity of the hands, more shoulder stability and range of motion are needed to be exerted to execute this exercise. If your target is bulking up your triceps, then this alternative will help you achieve your goal.

How to do it

  • Form a diamond using your index finger and thumb.
  • Place your hand on the ground under your lower chest or upper abdomen.
  • With your face lying down, push the ground away from yourself until your elbows are completely extended. 
  • While doing the movement, make sure that your hips don’t drop or shift so much.
  • Repeat as many reps as you can.

5. Dumbbell Bench Press

If you’re comfortable doing bench presses, then a Dumbbell Bench Press will not be a problem. This upper body workout allows for a broader range of motion, enabling greater muscle recruitment in your pecs and triceps. 

Since dumbbells allow more freedom with movement, the weights are not fixed in one direction. Because of this, there’s a challenge in the stability of the pectoralis muscles, triceps, and shoulders. The more you improve the strength in these muscles groups, the healthier your pecs and shoulder muscles will be.

In addition, the manner in which you press the weight can be customized, allowing you to change the stress on your shoulders. If you compare this with fixed dip handles, the dumbbells will enable you to move in a way that’s also protecting your shoulder muscle. 

How to do it

  • Get the dumbbells that you’ll be using for the set and let them rest on your thighs.
  • Drive the dumbbells back into the starting position as you begin the set.
  • With your palms facing down, assume a pronated hand stance for the whole duration of the exercise.
  • Now, lay down on the flat bench like you are going to do traditional bench presses. 
  • Bring the dumbbells down until they are parallel with your lower chest or upper abdomen.
  • Push the dumbbells away from your torso until your elbows are completely extended.
  • Repeat as many reps as you can or as prescribed.

6. Ring or Straps Chest Press

Straps chest press copies the movement of chest dips or a parallel bar dip. Aside from your shoulders and chest, it also trains your core intensely, improving your balance and overall strength. Also, instead of the normal weights, this workout uses suspension cables, challenging your body to perform the movement while in an unstable environment. 

How to do it

  • Attach the cables to an anchor point above your head. The handles or rings should hang down at about your waist height.
  • Hold the handles with your hands facing opposite the anchor point.
  • Lean forward until your body is at a 40-degree angle. Keep your body linear from head to toe by extending your arms straight and engaging your core.
  • Lower yourself while bending your elbows until your chest reaches the handles’ level at the center of the cables.
  • Breath out as you push yourself upwards. Maintain a tight core and go back to the starting position. This counts as one repetition.
  • Repeat as many as necessary.

7. Incline Push Up

This variation to a staple bodyweight exercise mainly works your chest muscles, but you’ll also have to engage your core to protect your back. While a traditional push-up works your chest, arms, and shoulders, an incline push-up ease some pressure off your arms and shoulder to allow a more substantial chest workout. Here, your upper chest is doing more work.

How to do it

  • Put your hands on a flat bench. Keep your legs straight behind you so your toes are on the floor and your body is in a straight line with your arms stretched.
  • Bend your elbow and lower your torso towards the bench. Stop just before you make contact with it. 
  • Drive-up using your hands and push yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat twelve to fifteen times or as necessary.

8. Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks

Another exercise to substitute chest dips that you can include in your workout routine is Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks. With this, you’re primarily focusing on building your upper body strength, particularly your triceps. Although it is simple enough for beginners to perform, it’s easily customizable to suit your fitness level. Just adjust the weight and increase your reps!

How to do it

  • Start with your knees bent and feet close together. Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and with your back straight, do a slight bend forward. 
  • Bend your elbows, lining up your upper arms with your back, so your biceps point towards the ground.
  • Lift the dumbbells backward, straightening your arms without moving your tricep. Concentrate on driving your elbows alone because this range of motion engages your tricep despite remaining still.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat as many times as necessary.

9. Parallel Bar Dip

Unlike performing dips against a flat bench or chair, this chest dips substitute allows for a better form since you can dip your bodyweight down instead of forward. You can do Parallel Bar Dips on a dip machine or use a set of gymnast bars. If you want to do this at home, you can purchase a set of Dip/Parallel Bars

Since this is a compound exercise, you’ll be able to work a larger area of muscle mass through various joints. If you have a few minutes to spare for your workout, then this exercise is an excellent choice. One routine hits two birds with one stone – tricep, and chest engagement.

How to do it

  • Stand in between the parallel bars and adjust it to your height. If the bars are stationary, get a riser so you can easily lift and lower yourself.
  • Hold a bar in each hand and lift yourself up until your arms are entirely straight and your elbows locked. Your neck and spine should be aligned. 
  • Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows until your feel a stretching sensation in your chest muscles. Your elbows should be around a 90-degree angle.
  • Slowly push yourself up, engaging your triceps once you reach the top.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat as many reps as you can.

10. Pec Deck Machine

Aside from chest dips exercises, a pec deck is another workout that can help you increase your upper body strength and muscle mass in the chest. This exercise stabilizes your shoulder blades and strengthens your torso. 

Aside from that, it also engages your supporting muscles like the serratus anterior. Using the machine makes you sure that you’re executing the correct range of motion.

How to do it

  • Choose an appropriate weight for the machine. Then sit on the platform.
  • Press your back securely against the back of the platform with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Grab a handle with each hand. Depending on the model you’re using, the machine may have a resting pad. If that is the case, put your forearms on each pad. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle and keep your elbows at chest level.
  • Pull the handles together, so they reach the middle of your chest.
  • Return your arms and handle to the starting position with a controlled movement.
  • Repeat ten to twelve times or as many as you can.


Chest dips are undeniably one of the best chest exercises that you can do to bulk up your upper and lower chest muscles, as well as your upper arms and shoulder blades. 

However, if it’s difficult for you to perform dips because you have issues with your shoulder joint, then you can do all these alternatives. With these exercises, you can still develop your chest musculature without experiencing any pain.

Out of the ten we enumerated, the top two chest dip alternatives are push-ups and decline bench press. They are the most similar to chest dips as they have the same range of motion and target the same muscle groups. If you’re only selecting a few to include in your chest routine, then these two should make the cut!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you pair dips with pullups in the same routine, then you should not do them consecutively. You’ll be activating the same muscle group without giving them the necessary time to recover. Depending on how intense your workout is, you need to wait 48 to 72 hours. The harder your workout, the longer your body requires to recuperate.

This depends on your body structure and the exercises that you do. Although bodyweight exercises like dips can build initial levels of muscles and maintain them, at some point, you’ll also need to add more resistance to continue building mass. If you do the same exercise repeatedly, your muscles will get used to the burn.

By nature, dips are not bad for your shoulders. They only work as stabilizers during the exercise, and they are not actively recruited. Also, your shoulders will not be moving that much due to the range of motion of the dips. If you do experience any discomfort, you should stop and correct your form or select more comfortable and enjoyable alternatives for you to do.

Dips are better when you’re targeting specific muscles. It’s the ideal workout for your triceps, pectoralis major, trapezius, and anterior deltoids. If you’re aiming for a firmer chest and shoulders, you’ll be able to speed up the process with dips rather than doing a push-up alone. 

Start by doing tricep dips on a table, chair, box, or bench. This will help you develop some of the muscles that you need to perform dips on parallel bars. Aside from that, you can also do the exercise we enumerated above since they can help. 

While training your chest dip muscles, you should aim to move your body weight while being suspended off the floor. So, you have to work up to the same amount of weight.

If you’re having a hard time doing chest dips or simply don’t have the right equipment, then alternatives are your best option. So, what makes an excellent chest dip substitute? The exercises that you’ll be doing must target the same muscle groups and strengthen the pressing ability of your chest and triceps. 

That being said, the muscles that you should be focusing on are pectoralis major, triceps, and anterior deltoids. Although, the amount of activation in specific muscle groups differs depending on your torso’s angle as you do the dips. The more you lean forward, the greater the burn in your chest. The more upright your position is, the more prominent the stress on your tricep muscles.

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