The dip is a tried and tested gym staple for many fitness enthusiasts and targets a number of muscle groups such as the pectoralis minor and major muscles in addition to the triceps, rhomboids, and more, but mastering the proper form can be harder than expected. That’s why Joel Seedman, the kinesiologist and leader of Advanced Human Performance took to social media recently, and he had a great solution for sloppy dip technique that involves executing what he calls the hardest dip exercise… ever.

“Most try to over manipulate their body on dips in an attempt to target different muscles,” said Dr. Seedman in an Instagram post made on May 29, 2024. “However, the goal should be optimal human biomechanics on all movements, then let the intended outcome occur. This longitudinal trap bar variation instils perfect dip form, as anything less (than perfect form) results in extreme instability.”

Dr Seedman explains that many people “butcher” their dips by trying to manipulate and contort their body into unnatural positions as a means of isolating or targeting different muscle groups, thus failing to get the greater benefits of an evenly distributed load. “Stop doing this!,” he exclaims. Instead, the social media fitness influencer, with more almost half a million IG followers, wants us to focus on optimal human biomechanics (dealing with forces on the body) and osteokinematics (the movement of bones around the joints) in order to let the natural stimulus and responses occur. “If you want to target triceps more, do triceps press downs or triceps extensions,” he says. “If you want more chest, do more flys and chest presses. Don’t alter your dip form to hit these areas more.”

“Hardest Ever” Longitudinal Trap Bar Dips

To illustrate how the body should respond to the natural stimuli of the dip, Seedman takes a trap bar and puts it down on a squat rack. He then places himself in the centre of the trap bar and performs dips by lowering and raising himself back up, through the bar. As he does so, the trap bar rocks from side-to-side.

“The longitudinal trap bar dip gives immediate feedback regarding symmetrical loading,” says the expert regarding finding the proper form. “That’s because there is mediolateral (side-to-side) instability as the bar wants to rotate and rock.” The Doctor explains that for those with a tendency to favor a particular side of the body, they can push more with one arm, or tilt to a side that suffers with poor symmetrical alignment. “The bar will tilt to the side, providing immediate feedback about your dip technique,” he illustrates.

As Seedman points out, these are very difficult dips to execute, because they are “exponentially” more unstable than traditional dips. Here, the bar wants to twist, shake, and rotate. “In addition, the trap bar tends to oscillate with subtle yet frequent perturbations, similar to oscillating kinetic energy (i.e. hanging band technique), making these some of the most challenging upper body movements you’ll ever attempt. Form must be perfectly dialed in,” he says. “Due to the incredibly precise body mechanics needed for these, the lifter inevitably ends up finding the ideal 90-degree joint angle (humerus is above parallel, since forearm is angled slightly),” adds Dr Seedman. “Many lifters over-stretch with excessive range of motion on dips. Besides placing undue stress on shoulders and pectoral tendons, it actually reduces tension to targeted musculature as the chest and triceps have to somewhat relax to allow the collapsed position to occur.”

For more innovative takes on finding proper form, follow Dr Joel Seedman AHP

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