Bench Dips – Triceps Builder Or Shoulder Destroyer?

| by Truth Seeker |

Bench dips are often part of workout DVDs such as P90X. However, they aren’t a joint friendly exercise because of the extreme shoulder stretch. You are risking a rotator cuff injury as well as shoulder impingement.

Without a doubt, bench dips work your triceps muscles really hard, and you are going to get a great arm workout, but at what cost?

Believe it or not, regular parallel bar dips place less stress on the shoulder joint compared to the bench version.

Of course, the parallel bar dips require more strength, which is why many people, especially women, perform bench dips.

This is wrong. It’s better to do push-ups instead. They are a safer exercise that works the pushing musculature just as hard.


I don’t experience shoulder pain during bench dips. Should I stop doing them anyway?

In general, there’s not much value in bench dips, especially if you are strong enough to do the classic parallel bar version. The triceps stimulation during regular dips is even higher.

I like doing bench dips as a triceps finisher. I don’t use added weight. Is that ok?

Close grip push-ups on handles are a better triceps finisher.

Does this mean that Tony Horton has been doing it wrong?

Many of the exercises presented in P90X are poorly engineered as far as joint safety is concerned. The program is based on the so-called muscle confusion principle and targets the naive population which believes that variety equals progress.

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