How to Do Dips at Home

by Marie Mulrooney

If you're lucky enough to have dip bars on your home gym, you can do regular dips, using only your arm strength to press your body up and down between the bars. But if you're not strong enough to do full dips yet, or if you don't have the advantage of dip bars but still want to work your triceps, you can still do another dip variation at home. This style, known as bench dips, allows you to use your legs as little or as much as you need to help you complete each repetition.


Step 1

Sit on the edge of a bench or a wide, firm-edged chair. You can also do this exercise off the edge of a bed or a chair with a soft forward edge, but the exercise is easier using a firmer surface.

Step 2

Place your hands on either side of your hips, fingers lapping forward over the edge of the seat. Plant both feet on the floor and scoot your hips forward off the seat.

Step 3

Bend your arms, lowering your body. Keep your torso upright, hips as close to the bench as possible. Use your arm muscles as brakes to control your descent, helping out with your legs only as necessary to keep the movement under control.

Step 4

Stop when your shoulders are level with your elbows, or just before. Your elbows should stay directly over your hands throughout the movement; this helps keep your body close to the bench.

Step 5

Straighten your arms, pressing yourself back up to the start position. Again, use your legs to help out as necessary, but focus on powering as much of the movement as possible with your arms.


Items you will need

  • Bench or wide, firm-edged chair
  • Weight plate or dumbbell (optional)


  • Some so-called "door gyms" or leverage-mount pullup bars also double as dip bars. You use them the same way you use a bench for dips, but because these "dip bars" rest on the floor and only elevate your body a few inches, they offer only partial range of motion. You're better off using a bench or the edge of the bed; it's free and offers a more complete range of motion.
  • If you're ready for a more difficult variation, elevate your feet on another bench or chair, or carry a weight plate or dumbbell in your lap.


  • Consult a doctor before starting a new exercise routine, particularly if you have an injury or health condition.

Photo Credits:

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or