Pain-free Dips by the Uncommon Succes Coach

learn pain-free dips by uncommon succes coach keegan smith

Pain-free Dips by the Uncommon Succes Coach


We could consider the pain-free dip the squat of the upper body. There’s benefits by having a deep dip ability. But just because we want it, doesn’t mean we can have it immediately. Like everything, there is a safe way of getting dips step-by-step. It’s crucial to keep your joints healthy in the process. Think regress in order to progress. Especially for the dips! Following are a couple important tips.



Old-School Dips

Dips have been a popular exercise in the world of bodybuilding for decades. In fact, they have been used by bodybuilders for over a century to build upper body strength and size. The exercise was first introduced to the fitness world in the early 1900s by German physical culture pioneers, who believed in using bodyweight exercises for strength training.

Older bodybuilders have been performing dips as a key exercise for chest, triceps, and shoulder development for many years. They have become a staple exercise in many strength training and bodybuilding programs, it is a great addition to any upper body workout routine.

Even though dips have been around for a long time, they are still widely used by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts of all ages. With proper form and technique, pain-free dips can be a safe and effective exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass. In fact, many older bodybuilders continue to incorporate dips into their training routines as they age, as the exercise can help maintain muscle mass and joint mobility.



Tips for performing pain-free dips safely:

Full depth position is important for upper body workouts.

  • Full depth position provides benefits for shoulders, triceps, elbows, and wrists.
  • Similar to the squat, getting into a full depth position is crucial for other upper body movements.


Proper form is important in strength training.

  • Going too far in a movement can cause joint pain. Especially in the dip, where the movement gets harder on the tendons the deeper you go.
  • Strength in the top of the movement doesn’t necessarily mean you have that strength through a full range of motion. Most of us lack strength in the bottom portion, just because we haven’t been there very often.


Pay attention to pain or tension on one side more than the other.

  • Check your range of motion and lower the load if necessary.
  • Decrease weight by putting feet on the floor. You can even take lower dip bars to reach the floor earlier or by stacking some weights on the floor.


On the left is a side view of the deep position, on the right, you can see a regressed version which could be a place to safely start.

keegan showing a deep dip from the side and a parallel dip from the front


You start at the range you are comfortable with and then slowly over time work your way to the bottom, decreasing weight if needed. Once you’re strong in the bottom position, you can play with staying there longer and increasing the time you spend in the bottom part of the movement.

Progress from a short position to a deep position to unilateral movement.

  • Slowly get comfortable with the deep position.
  • Shift to one side for unilateral development.


Once you’ve mastered the bottom position and feel comfortable there, you can make it even more challenging on the joints by moving unilaterally.


Progressive training leads to stronger connective tissue

  • Training progressively leads to more adaptation in connective tissue, reducing likelihood of tendon issues or muscle strains.
  • New tendon tissue is laid down through progressive training.


Stretching in a more stretched position leads to more anabolic effects

  • Connective tissue pulls harder in stretched positions.
  • Muscular tension creates a tug of war effect, leading to more inflammation and new muscle growth.


Shortened pec range is still valuable for different purposes and different movements

  • Shorter range positions are useful as well, think bloodflow and positional strength for other movements you want to learn.
  • Long range movement for the pec is important for healthy shoulders and top speed


Proper shoulder extension is crucial for sprinting

  • Shoulder extension affects arm movement and top speed
  • Shoulder extension is not just a superficial or bodybuilding thing


The pain-free dip is a long-range athletic movement for the pec, shoulders and triceps. It’s very important for keeping and maintaining healthy shoulders. Even for sprinters during top speed, this ability in the shoulder is crucial for maintaining speed and velocity. This is not just a superficial or bodybuilding thing, it’s something we all need to look at!


Done right, pain-free dips are too good to be neglected or forgotten”


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