Well, today I'll get to an oft discussed issue when it comes to dips (one of my favorite exercises, as those who have been following this blog will know) - that being "Are dips bad for the shoulders"?
I'm sure you've seen a lot of discussion on this one, be it in the gym or the internet - and a lot of popular opinion seems to gravitate towards the "yes, they hurt the shoulders" category, while those who do them regularly seem to swear by them.
And as you can tell, I fall into the latter category, so my answer probably won't come as a surprise, but before you dismiss what I'm saying outright, take a minute to read through what I have to say, and then make your decision.
First off, as with any other tough exercise, dips are meant to be done in GOOD form - and good form is often what we do NOT see when we see folks performing dips. And as with any other exercise, you run the very real risk of hurting yourself on any exercise done with poor form, and dips are no different. That however doesn't mean they are bad for the shoulders - quite the contrary - in fact dips are one of the BEST chest/shoulder exercises you can do, period.
Second, like I said, dips are TOUGH - and TOUGH exercises seem to get a bad rap for no reason. Ever heard folks complaining about the bench press being too tough, or the pec-deck being bad for the body? I bet not - but funnily enough both of those activities are not normal for the body, and are nowhere near as beneficial to your overall strength and conditioning as dips are. Think about it - pressing a bar up while laying down as opposed to pushing your ENTIRE bodyweight through space for reps - which one is tougher?
Third, and most importantly, you progress in the dip as you would any other exercise. You do NOT try and bang out 20 reps per set the first time you do these and then get a severe case of shoulder pain and stop doing altogether. It's amazing, but there's still a plethora of folks out there who think bodyweight exercises are somehow "easy" because they are plain bodyweight exercises, and they over-do things accordingly. Big, big mistake.
So, long answer short - no, dips are not bad for you, per se - in fact, they are one of the best upper body strength builders out there. I've personally had great gains in my shoulder/upper body strength while doing this exercise, and I bet you will too. And no, this exercise is NOT "just for skinny people" - much like other exercises involving your entire bodyweight (handstands, pull-ups etc), this one can be performed just as well by a bigger individual as a small one.
Now, does this mean everyone should do dips, period - and not worry about hurting themselves? Well, no, not really - if you've had prior shoulder issues, or if you don't do too well in the dipping position due to a dodgy joint, well, then you probably shouldn't be doing a lot of these. But, the exercise is FINE to do for the vast majority of folks out there - and the comments I've recieved on the book vouch for that.
As for form, see Fast and Furious Fitness - I give you detailed instructions along with pictures on how to perform this challenging bodyweight movement. Get started TODAY - and let me know how you do!
And that's that for today. If you work today - make sure you make it a GREAT one!!