The chair dive: how to build your upper body at home?
Can you really build your upper body with a bodyweight workout? Spoiler alert: The answer is yes. The reclining chair is the perfect example! All you have to do is master the movement and explore its different forms.
Build your muscles at home with the only equipment: a chair? It's totally possible, and the dips will prove it to you. How do you properly snorkel at home with a chair? What muscles are used during exercise? What are the mistakes that should not be made? What are the variables to progress?
Accompanied by Anthony Mew, Personal Trainer, Athletic Trainer and Pilates Instructor, I invite you to discover this bodybuilding exercise: the dips!
Dips: what are they?
Dips are a multi-joint bodybuilding exercise whose variants allow you to work multiple muscles in synergy. Dips allow you to increase your range of motion while developing your strength and gaining muscle mass.
Its main advantage? This is a practical exercise to perform! You'll only need two things: your own body weight and a chair (preferably sturdy). So chair snorkeling can be done almost anywhere, because you don't need any specific equipment.
It is also an easily adaptable movement with many variations. It can be dismissed with several versions depending on your level, it is up to you to choose whether you want to simplify or intensify your workout!
"It's definitely a bodyweight exercise, but it's really a strength-training exercise and therefore not necessarily suitable for beginners," defines Anthony Mew, personal trainer, gym trainer and Pilates instructor. And Anthony adds: “Before moving on to this exercise, I advise you to really master the push-ups, because we find the same muscle groups that work.”
Diving: which sport is useful?
The dip is a strength exercise. When we do physical preparation, we always start with general exercises and then move on to more specific ones. For example, training can begin with a general exercise whose goal is to develop overall strength as well as intermuscular (intermuscular) coordination rather than intramuscular (focused on one muscle).
"To give a concrete example, let's look at a basketball or handball shooter. During the physical preparation, training can start with push-ups (a general exercise to develop overall strength) and then continue with exercises on the pulley or throw (a specific exercise)", says Anthony.
Dips are a general strength exercise, just like bench presses or pumps. This exercise is useful for all sports that require elbow extension, such as boxing, shot put, gymnastics (bars), handball, basketball, etc.
What muscles do snorkeling work?
When you perform a movement, there are two types of muscles involved: movement muscles and support muscles (also called stabilization muscles).
Anthony makes this point: "Let's take the example of a boxer. If he wants to be strong and have strength, he will have to strengthen all the muscles that hold the arm and then develop the muscles of the arm that give him strength. If he does not develop both, he will lose efficiency and above all risk developing diseases" .
Triceps and pectoral muscles are honored
The muscle most involved in the movement of dips is the triceps brachii, which is the main muscle involved in elbow extension. It also plays an important role in the stability of the shoulder joint. The triceps muscle, as its name implies, consists of 3 muscles: its long part, the wide internal triceps and the external wide triceps.
The second muscle that is put in the spotlight during diving movements is the pectoralis major, which is mainly the lower part of this muscle, and it works during the descent as well as during the ascent.
The dips also engages the anterior bundle of the deltoid muscle. Attached to the clavicle, this bundle of deltoid muscle is used primarily for impulse resistance and internal rotation of the arm.
Finally, and to a lesser extent, the deep abdominal muscles that stabilize the pelvis (especially the transverse) are more or less involved in the exercise depending on their variables.
► Do back dips work?
yes ! Even if these are not the main muscles that work, dips are a multi-joint bodybuilding exercise, it touches a group of muscles needed for the correct perception of their movement. The main back muscles involved in dips are: the lats, trapezius and anterior serratus (a muscle on the surface of the upper eighth and ninth rib).
How do you properly dive with a chair at home?
➡️ Warm up
Do a short warm-up before warming up your muscles, tendons, and joints.
You can start by doing shoulder level rotations, then warm up your elbows by doing some extensions, before bringing in a rubber band to warm up the rotors.
➡️ Basic Mode
Sit on the edge of a chair and place your hands on either side of your hips.
Press your palms to raise your body and slide over the front of the chair until your buttocks are in space.
Your legs are in front of you, bent, hip-width apart. Rest your feet on the floor.
Your weight is supported by your hands and heels.
➡️ Perform undo movement
Land until your triceps are parallel to the floor. Then come back up without locking your elbows at the end of the movement.
Your body should remain well straight: the back is straight, the chest is pushed forward, the shoulders are low, the gaze is straight in front of you.
➡️ Breathe Breath
It will oxygenate your muscles, so they don't obstruct your breathing: inhale as you go down and exhale as you go up.
What mistakes should be avoided?
❌ Not engaging your deep muscles
"The main mistake when doing chair dives is not engaging your deep muscles during the movement. It all starts from there: most other mistakes and bad postures result from that!" our expert explains.
This is why it is important to develop the strength of your deep muscles: they are the ones that maintain our skeleton and ensure the stability of our movements.
⤷ When performing the retraction movement, remember to engage all the deep muscles involved in the movement. We mainly think of the muscles of the spine, the muscles of the shoulder (middle trapezius, lower trapezius,
❌ take a bad attitude in
The starting position is essential, as it will determine the rest of your movement.
Here are the main mistakes to avoid in the starting position when doing a dive:
● Put your feet far apart, thus asking your arms to make a movement that is no longer perpendicular to the floor already.
● Bend your head over your shoulders, thus making your shoulders too high, which causes a break in your body line and the possibility of shoulder swaying.
Leaning a lot forward
While descending as well as going up, your goal is to keep a straight line with your body (hence the importance of deep muscle grooming).
⤷ So be careful not to bend forward, risking pulling the shoulder.
❌ Descending too low
The correct position is to stop when the upper part of the arms is parallel to the floor. Flexing the arms 'too' completely is not helpful and may cause injury or cause tension.
“It is pointless to bend over too much at the risk of injuring the shoulder joints and tendons,” defines Anthony Mew.
❌ Spread your elbows when landing
During the downward phase of the movement, your elbows should remain in line. Their removal causes a chain reaction. Shoulders and back roll and there is a fracture of the spine.
❌ Lock your elbows at the top of the movement
"In bodybuilding, never lock the joint. It's a golden rule. Otherwise, it's the tendons and joints that take over and therefore get damaged," says Anthony, our expert.
⤷ During the dip movement, whether on a chair, bench, or dip bar, be sure to keep your elbows flexible as you reach the top of the movement. In other words: stop before your arm is fully extended.
❌ Push on your feet while going up
Is this cheating? completely! On going up, you may be tempted to use your feet to help push the floor away and thus lessen the involvement of your arms. Mistake: The main goal of dips is to develop the strength of your arms, especially the triceps.
⤷ Your feet are not there to help you propel while going up, so we will consider letting them rest and focusing all our energy in the arms.
What are the differences in diving exercises?
Straight Leg Diving
This first alternative slightly increases the intensity of the effort. Only one thing changes: the position of your legs.
Extend in front of you, support your heels, and do the classic dip motion. You will quickly feel the need to increase the intensity of your arms with each movement.
high leg heights
Here, we add an additional difficulty. Put a stool, chair, stool, or other object in front of you that allows you to raise your legs. The movement remains the same. Always think that your arms are what you're trying to work on, so don't tighten your legs to help you climb!
Raising your legs makes the exercise more intense because the weight to be lifted will be greater. Your abdominal muscles will also be more involved in this exercise.
raining swiss ball
The use of the Swiss ball is very interesting, because it will allow you to work with a slight imbalance and thereby strengthen the deep muscles, ensure stability when engaged and their muscles.
Place the Swiss ball in front of your seat, under your feet. And so your legs rise, on an unstable surface. Do your classic move, inhale when descending and exhale well as you go up.
This exercise works on stability and proprioception. Your deep muscles (particularly the transverse spine muscles) will be more involved than in a traditional dip motion, in order to maintain balance.
drip resistance tape
As its name suggests, the resistance band will provide additional resistance to your movement, increasing the intensity of the effort.
To perform this variation of the dips, tie the elastic band under the chair and place the other part over your shoulders. It is up to you to choose the flexibility resistance, depending on the level of difficulty required.
Dips with Dips Bar
Playing the role of mediator between a training session at home without equipment and a weight training session in the gym, dip bars, practical and versatile, make it possible to increase the difficulty and build muscle differently.
➡️ Lay the two strips next to each other, so that they are parallel.
➡️ For the basic movement, stand in the middle of the two columns. Your hands take position on each of the bars, your legs leave the ground, and your only supports are on your hands, putting you in suspension.
➡️ You will now come in and do your dip motion by lowering your elbows so that they form a right angle, then pushing up.
As you move, be careful not to break your wrists and keep them in alignment. Breathing is the same as when diving into a chair: you inhale as you descend and exhale as you go up.
With dip bars, you can choose to work your triceps more, by placing the bars close together, or focus your effort on the lower chest, by separating the bars.
Dip with a heavy jacket
The weighted vest is ideal for advancing bodyweight exercises, it is diabolically effective for building muscle and increasing effort intensity.
To be chosen according to the level of difficulty required, it is placed on the upper part of your body and adds additional weight to your body weight.
"The vest with weights can be used in many diving exercises but is best used when working out with bars rather than a chair. In fact, when you do your movement with a chair, the vest can impede your movements while with a diving bar, the vest won't bother you," says our trainer Anthony.
Diving with suspended legs
The last variant of the dips exercises (which is also the hardest): the dip with the legs suspended.
⤷ This exercise is reserved for the most experienced, in terms of the intensity it requires and the movement control it requires.
The position of the arms remains the same on the incline bars. Your legs are in suspension and will form a right angle with your chest.
Target? Cover your body to the maximum to maintain this position throughout your movement! In addition to putting more stress on your arm and shoulder muscles, you also engage your core muscles and strengthen your core.
What other exercises to strengthen the upper body?
Here are some ideas for bodybuilding exercises to diversify your sessions and strengthen your upper body: ●
On the bench ● pull the cup and pull the lying down
● dumbbell row
As you will understand, the diving exercise is very effective for gaining strength and building your triceps and glutes as well as your deep muscles. To be performed at home with the help of a chair only or to evolve with equipment, this bodyweight workout is not the envy of the machines in the gym!