Powerful shoulders assist the pectorals during dips.
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When you want to feel the burning sensation in your chest and triceps, you perform dips. This body-weight exercise pushes your upper body to the limit. Give thanks to your shoulders too, as without the anterior deltoids, your dips would be impossible.
Although the dip primarily works your pecs and triceps, the anterior deltoid contributes to the movement.
Take a Dip
The dip focuses on your pectorals or your triceps, depending on the width of your grip. When using a shoulder-width grip, you engage more of your triceps. A wider grip concentrates on your pectorals. Either way, to do dips, start by standing in between parallel bars and place your hands on the bars. Straighten your arms to raise your feet from the floor. Bend your elbows and lower your body until the tops of your arms are parallel with the floor or until you feel a pull in your chest. Exhale and straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
Be Shoulder Savvy
You may feel the pull of the dip high on your chest and into the fronts of your shoulders. The shoulder muscle - the deltoid - has three heads to it. The anterior head is located on the front of your shoulder. The medial head is on the side of your shoulder at the very top of your arm. The posterior head is on the back of your shoulder joint. The head that contracts during different exercises depends on the way your arm moves.
Activate the Anterior Delt
The anterior deltoid is responsible for arm flexion. When your arm moves from behind your body to your side or from your side in front of you, the anterior deltoid contracts. This flexion occurs during the dips when your arms change from a bent position with your elbows behind you to a straight position. The anterior deltoids are considered synergists during the dip. A synergist is a secondary muscle; it doesn't receive the greatest benefit from the exercise, but it is necessary to perform the movement.
Rest and Recover
When you include dips into your workout routine, plan for two days of recovery before you perform dips again. You can help your anterior deltoids rest and repair by stretching them. An easy shoulder and upper chest stretch is to lace your fingers together behind your back. Straighten and lift your arms behind you until you feel the stretch across your front. Maintain the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat two or three times.