Dips vs Pushups

There are many individuals who are indecisive, when it comes to the selecting the right workout plan. Many people face the dilemma of choosing. One of the biggest dilemmas faced by people in the field of exercise is to choose between dips and push-ups. Although both exercises are known to increase strength and build muscle, many are oblivious about their relevance, actual benefits and variations. A workout plan must be made based on the results one wants to achieve. This is why it is imperative to know about exercises such as dips and push-ups in depth.

Dips and push-ups are upper body exercises, which focus on muscle groups such as the chest, triceps, shoulders and core in differing ways and at varying levels. These two exercises have their own distinct set of advantages, disadvantages and variations, which will be covered in this article.

Key Differences Between Dips and Push Ups

  • Dips belong to the vertical push exercise group, whereas push ups belong to the horizontal push exercise group.
  • Push ups can be done by novices with ease and is a great way to build the strength needed for dips training.
  • On the other hand, it is difficult to start out with dips as it is a more advanced exercise targeting fewer muscles, which involves more bodyweight and less base support.
  • There are more variations of push ups when compared with dips.
  • Muscles such as chest, shoulders, triceps, abdominals and wings are targeted by push ups. In dips, muscles like chest and triceps are primarily targeted along with anterior shoulders.
  • It is relatively easier to increase the number of repetitions, when it comes to push ups. While, dips need additional shoulder mobility because of a greater range of motion.
  • Certain equipment is required for dips, whereas push ups can be done anywhere without equipment.

Key Similarities Shared by Dips and Push Ups

  • Both dips and push ups are calisthenics exercises that are done for a certain number of repetitions using one’s body weight.
  • Lower back muscles and gluteal muscles can be developed with these two exercises.
  • Both exercises are good to increase endurance, power and speed strength.
  • Additional equipment is needed for advanced variations of dips and push ups, which are less stable.
  • Proper push ups and dips are done by heavily resisting gravity.
  • Both have similar movement mechanisms when it comes to elbow flexion, where the wrist is subjected to maximum pressure.

Dip Variations

Dips can be done in many ways, the most popular variations being the bar dip and the bench dip. The first variation is done on a parallel dip bar, where the person’s arms support the entire weight of the body. Resistance is increased in advanced versions of bar dips by placing a dumbbell between legs, wearing a weighted vest or using a dip belt. Alternatively, resistance bands can also be used. Furthermore, there are types of bar dips, namely tricep dips and chest dips.

There is more elbow flexion involved in a tricep dip, which is done by maintaining an upright position and keeping the feet below the body. Whereas, in a chest dip, the body leans forward and the feet are kept behind the body. Parallel bar dips primarily focus on the chest, delts and traps.

The bench dip is an easier variation of the bar dip. In this variation, hands are placed on the bench and the legs are straightened away from the bench horizontally. There is lesser resistance in a bench dip as the weight lifted is reduced significantly. It is a great alternative, when there is no equipment available.

Push Up Variations

There are several variations of push ups that can be performed without equipment. In a standard push up, only the hands and toes touch the ground, while the back and legs are kept straight above the ground. The body is lowered by bending elbows and then the body is brought back up to its former position.

Weighted push ups are performed by placing barbell plates on the upper back. The exercise can also be done with a resistance band. Although, the chest is the main area of focus, other muscles include triceps, delts and core. A popular push up variation called the diamond push up focuses more on the triceps and shoulders. It is performed by placing the thumb and index finger of one hand next to the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Knuckle push ups are done by using knuckles instead of palms.

There is an exciting variation known as the clap push up, which is done by pushing oneself above the ground and then clapping mid-air. The areas covered in a wide grip push up are the chest muscles and the shoulder muscles.


It is great if both exercises are incorporated into the workout program. Push ups need to be prioritized over dips. It does not mean that dips must not be given any importance. Push ups cater to more number of groups as it is ideal for those looking into fitness, health, quality of life and functionality.

They are versatile and can be done by individuals of all age groups and levels, thanks to its numerous variations. Yet, dips are good for those individuals who have mastered push ups and are looking to increase upper body strength and build muscle. Push ups are more common when compared to dips because they can be done anywhere and require no equipment.

Additionally, there are higher chances of injury from dips. Nevertheless, both are great exercises that have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. People, who have the strength and endurance to perform these two exercises, must do so on a regular basis. This way they will be able to achieve the desired results. However, it must be noted that without proper form, one would be susceptible to injuries. Lastly, the workout plan is determined by the individual’s unique goals. Individuals can make use of the different variations to make a workout plan.