Dips are another great, old-school exercise to build your chest and triceps.
I was first introduced to the dip exercise back in my high school days when I was on the football team. It was part of strength training, and it was even part of our strength test–we’d see how many dips we could do along with our max rep tests.
I was pretty good at this movement. I “graduated” to weighted dips in my 20′s as I got stronger. I could do them with the heaviest dumbbell in the gym hanging from my waist (over 100 lb if I remember correctly).
But using such big weights on dips is one of my greatest training regrets. I’m fairly certain going too heavy on them is what caused my AC joint injury in the 90′s–an injury that required surgery (after cortisone shots only provided temporary relief). The AC joint can really take a pounding on this exercise–especially if you are as foolish as I was.
Fortunately I’m able to keep training to this day, despite the injury. But I have to avoid dips at all cost now.
Should you do dips? Yes–if your shoulders are healthy. This exercise is part of some of the programs I promote here, like Muscle Gaining Secrets (for beginners) or Minimalist Training (for intermediate/advanced trainees.
But I agree with Ferruggia’s recommendation–never use over 45 lb for dips. Go for higher reps or other challenges (like using gymnast rings) if you are already strong enough to dip with a 45 lb plate. The risk of injury with heavy weights is too great–I have a scar to prove it.