Dips (aka Tricep Dips / Bench Dips)

The shoulder joint is intricate and fragile in both structure and function. There is a lot of action going through it and not much space to do it in. Everything is packed in pretty close together and because of this, there is not much room for error in function due to its’ structure.
The three segments that comprise this complex: humerus, scapula, and clavicle must all work together in a synchronized fashion to prevent any type of internal impingement and maintain the humeral head in optimal contact with the glenoid of the scapula for efficient force production. Compared to the hip, which is a ball and socket joint, the shoulder is more like a ball and saucer joint held together by a network of ligaments and tendons.
Given all this, it is amazing that anyone would be willing to compromise this fine-tuned machine by performing any exercise that violates skeletal range of motion and puts the joint in a weakened, less stable, and hazardous position. Yet, any given day you can walk into a weight room and see people literally hoisting weights overhead, out to the side, bent-over, or out to the front, not respecting the joints’ capabilities and complex, intricate function. This HRLB exercise is just one of the many commonly performed where the shoulder complex is put into a potentially dangerous position.

The traditional Tricep Dip is performed on two parallel bars about shoulders’ width. The exerciser lowers the body to the point where the upper arm is parallel to the floor, or creates a 90-degree angle (or so) with the lower arm. The biggest problem with this exercise is that it violates anatomical range of motion in extension of the glenohumeral joint. Force wise, this exercise has the load is increasing while the shoulder joint is weakening and becoming less stable.
The goal of this exercise? Most say Tricep development. Sure, the Triceps are performing the brunt of the work; but at what cost?
If you want to build strong and defined Triceps, do what the muscle was intended to do, straighten the elbow. Various forms of the cable pressdown and supine (lying) tricep extensions (not behind the neck; that’s another story, same plot!) will accomplish your goal.
The other major muscle involved, the Anterior Deltoid, is the most over-worked muscle in the body and excessive emphasis and development forces the shoulder into internal rotation and contributes to rounded shoulder posture, hunched shoulders, degradation of the biceps tendon, palms facing backward, the missing link, you get the picture.
Lower chest development? Even the most inexperienced exerciser can tell you better choices for Pectoral development.
The bench dip is the same exercise but even worse since you are starting in an internally rotated shoulder position with your arms behind you and going even further and deeper into instability. A poor position of the wrists as well.