Weighted Dips vs Bench Press – Which Is Better?

December 27, 2021 2 Comments


In this article I will be looking into weighted dips vs bench press and coming to a conclusion as to which exercise is better for the upper body. I will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both exercises when it comes to upper body strength and size. The bench press is the exercise that is a lot more common and well known in the lifting community. Weighted dips are not as common but can provide great utility when incorporated into your training program.

Weighted Dips

Weighted dips is not a common exercise that you see lots of people doing, but it is relatively simple to perform. You would use a set of parallel bars to do your dips. Just grab onto the parallel bars with an even grip on both sides, press up to get into position. Then lower your body down until your elbows are at a roughly 90 degree angle with your shoulder and come back up. To do these “weighted” simply attach a dipping belt to your waist and hook up extra weights using the chain. If you have a dipping station where you can adjust the distance between the parallel bars then you can do so. You can adjust the bars closer to each other to engage more triceps, or further apart to engage more pecs. I personally prefer doing weighted dips with a closer grip. It is an exercise that is highly advocated by very strong bench pressers like Eric Spoto as an example.

eric spoto dips

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The Bench Press

I have discussed the bench press before on my site. This is one of the most common exercises that you will see performed in every single gym in the country. The key with the bench press is to perform it safely, for this reason it is better to perform a powerlifting style bench rather than the bodybuilding way. When you bring the bar out of the rack you want to bring it out far enough so that your elbows are starting to rotate inwards, this will then facilitate tucking your elbows in on the way down a lot better. When pressing the bar back up you want to think of “spreading the bar” and driving your back into the bench. So you are not merely pressing the bar up with your arms, you are using your back to drive into the bench. The loading potential on the bench press is unlimited and it is a great exercise for improving upper body strength and size. The most important thing is to execute the exercise with proper mechanics.

eric spoto bench

Weighted Dips Pros And Cons

Now I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the weighted dip. Here are the main advantages from my view:

  • You are moving your body through space and therefore activating a lot more muscle fibres.
  • The loading potential is high using the dipping belt.
  • Great exercise for building up the triceps.
  • Can develop the pectoral muscles even better than the bench press.
  • Can add a lot of size and strength to the upper body.
  • Has a high carryover to other pressing exercises.

Now onto the disadvantages:

  • Not everyone is suited to it. If you have poor shoulder mobility you should avoid weighted dips.
  • Can cause sternum pain in some people and increased risk of pec tear or shoulder strains.

The takeaway from this is if you are not built to dip and experience discomfort from this exercise then you should avoid it. If you are able to perform this movement without pain then you should take advantage of it and incorporate it into your training routine. It can add a lot of extra muscle to your upper body, especially in the pectorals.

Bench Press Pros And Cons

The main advantages of the bench press from my experience are as follows:

  • Is the universal guage nowadays of measuring upper body strength.
  • Unlimited loading potential.
  • Fairly safe when performed with the correct mechanics
  • Range of motion is consistent, i.e. touching the chest and locking out at the top.
  • Is a full body movement as tightness is required from all areas of the body.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • Increased risk as weight gets very heavy of shoulder strains and pec strains.
  • Increased risk of elbow pain from overuse.
  • High risk of injuries when the movement is not executed with the proper mechanics. A lot of people bench press with faulty mechanics.

The takeaway from this is the importance of learning how to perform the bench press properly from day one before you even start doing it. This will minimise the risks of pec tears and shoulder strains. Technique is very important and the bench press is a lot more technical than people think. The vast majority of the population that bench presses regularly don’t perform the exercise correctly. Therefore they are not getting all the advantages from it and are exposing themselves to higher risks.


To conclude, in this article I have examined weighted dips vs bench press. I have talked about the mechanics of both movements as well as the advantages and disadvantages of both exercises. From this it can be concluded that the weighted dip is a slightly superior exercise for building all around upper body size and strength. However this comes with a caveat, namely that the weighted dip is not suited to a lot of people. If your shoulder mobility is poor you should stay away from this exercise and instead perform the bench press. If you can perform this movement with the right technique and pain free then it is recommended that you include this exercise into your program.

In an ideal world it is best to do both the bench press and the weighted dip regularly to get the best of both worlds and the best all around upper body size and strength. Just be sure to perform both exercises with the correct technique. If you have any questions about anything I have written in this article, please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you which exercise you prefer and do you currently incorporate weighted dips into your training? As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

2 thoughts on “Weighted Dips vs Bench Press – Which Is Better?”

  1. good day, i think i would go for bench press. all through my years of exercising, bench press has been my favourite between these two and has given me more result. but i do have interest in trying out the weighted dips some day. but i still prefer bench press.

    1. yes I prefer the bench press as well. The dip in my view is great but only if you have the ideal anthropometry for it (i.e. built for it, if you have shorter arms and bigger sternum)

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