Are Push Ups Better Than Dips For Chest Growth?

push ups with backpack
July 25, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are push ups better than dips for chest growth?”. Both exercises are great for building your chest and improving your pressing power.

They both involve moving your body through space as well, so activate lots of stabiliser muscles. This article will explore whether push ups are superior to dips for building a big chest. I hope you will find it informative.

Are Push Ups Better Than Dips For Chest Growth?

Push ups are on the whole easier to perform than dips for most people. This is because you are in a stronger position mechanically when doing push ups.

Getting stronger on the push ups and performing lots of reps regularly will certainly help to build your chest. Dips also work the chest well but you have to lean over more.

There are generally more injury risks associated with the dip. Some people shouldn’t perform dips as the movement pattern isn’t suited to their anthropometry.

You can load both exercises heavy. For push ups you can make them harder using bands and also by adding weights on your back. I prefer bands personally, dips can be loaded heavy using a dipping belt and plates.

Push ups work the triceps and anterior delts as well and so do dips. Dips work the triceps more heavily in the main. Overall, I would say that push ups are better for chest hypertrophy in that they are safer and work your chest in a similar fashion as the bench press.

push ups with backpack

How Push Ups And Dips Target The Chest

Push ups and dips both target the chest heavily as well as other pressing muscles. Grip width plays a role with both exercises. A narrower grip on push ups and dips will target the triceps more.

A wider grip will hit the chest to a greater degree. With the push up the pectoralis major is worked heavily and the exercise will induce great muscle pumps. Dips require you to lean forward more to target the chest better.

If you are more upright on your dips, your triceps will be worked very heavily. Dips are more effective for working the lower pecs, whereas push ups work the pecs as a whole.

Dips tend to require more stabilisation than push ups. I find that as the push up puts you in a very strong mechanical position, it isn’t too hard to remain stable throughout the range of motion.

weighted dips for chest

Push Ups Are Less Stressful On The Joints

Overall, push ups are less stressful on the joints than dips. A lot of people simply cannot do dips safely because the exercise puts too much stress on their shoulders.

You have to try the dip for yourself and see if the movement feels natural for you. I used to perform weighted dips but haven’t for a long time. I find that this exercise places a lot of stress on my shoulders and pecs.

Push ups are an exercise that can be loaded more safely. Maybe it is more difficult to load up the push up than it is to maximally load a dip. This is because you can attach loads of weights to the dipping belt.

Because push ups can be done more safely and enables greater longevity in your training, I would say that push ups are a superior exercise for working the chest.

Dips also have their place, if you become brutally strong on the dip then this will transfer to lots of other pressing exercises. The same is also true with push ups, there are various calisthenics athletes that have increased their bench press just by getting stronger on push ups.

Previously I have compared the weighted dip with the bench press.

Is 100 Push Ups A Day A Good Idea?

Doing high volume push ups daily is a great way to add more volume work for your chest and build it up.

However, is 100 push ups a day a good idea? I would say doing so many pull ups daily is not a clever idea. You would interfere too much with recovery from your normal workouts.

You will be breaking down muscle, your body needs time to recover and build back stronger. If you are doing this volume of push ups daily, you will not see the gains that you are expecting.

In the video, Jeremy Ethier cites a 2015 study where participants did three sets of push ups to failure twice a week. Over eight weeks they experienced an 18% increase in the muscle thickness of their pectorals, and a 9.5% increase in growth of their triceps.

Machine Benching Is Also Great For Chest Hypertrophy

I would say that I feel more soreness in the pecs from machine benching compared to flat barbell bench pressing. 

This exercise differs from dips and push ups as you are not moving your body through space. But modern chest press machines nowadays are highly effective at isolating the pectoral muscles.

There are hammer strength incline and flat bench machines which can be a good addition to your training. Many bodybuilders actually prefer these machines over free weight benching. 

Previously I have examined whether the chest press is all you need to build a big chest. 

Final Thoughts

Are push ups better than dips for chest growth? First let me say that both exercises are very effective for building up the pecs. 

If you get very strong in either of these exercises, your bench press and dumbbell bench will also benefit. Push ups are slightly safer on the whole and put you in a mechanically stronger position.

For a lot of people, dips place too much stress on the shoulders and pecs. In order to work the pecs more on a dip, you have to lean forward more. This can also put your shoulder in a more compromised position.

The push up allows you to be in a more stable position and you can load the exercise with bands, chains and even put weight plates on your back. The chest pumps that I get from push ups are superior to those from other pressing movements.

If you have any comments on this debate, please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Is The Decline Bench Press A Waste Of Time?

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