Dips can be an effective exercise for growing and strengthening your tricep and chest muscles. Find out how many repetitions you should do for these fitness goals.
To build muscle, you want to do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 dips with a resistance where you can barely complete these ranges.
For resistance training beginners, this likely means doing assisted dips to be able to reach these ranges.
On the flip side, experienced lifters may need to do weighted dips to stay within these ranges.
These people also want to know that higher-rep ranges (up to 50 bodyweight dips and potentially more) can also still offer muscle growth results.
Next, to focus on different training goals, you can also modify your set and rep ranges.
To work more on muscle strength you want to do more something around 4 to 8 sets of 5 dips. To work on muscle endurance you want to do 3 to 6 sets of 25+ dips with a resistance where you stay away from complete failure.
How many dips you should do to build muscle
To build muscle you need to challenge the muscles you work with enough pressure and resistance. How much is enough depends on your current strength level so the exact numbers can vary a lot from person to person.
Even so, there are still some general guidelines that can help you put together a dip workout that is effective for muscle growth.
To build muscle, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 dips. You want to use enough resistance so that you can barely complete these ranges.
That being said, you should also be able to gain muscle with sets that include up to 50 dips and potentially even more reps (1). You do want to push closer to muscle failure in these high-rep sets.
So bodyweight dips will be more than challenging enough to build great amounts of muscle for most people.
At the same time, switching to weighted dips as you get stronger to stay within the 25-rep ranges will typically make your workouts more convenient and time-efficient.
When doing these, you still aim for the amounts of dips above to build muscle.
How many dips should a beginner do?
As an exercise beginner, tricep/chest dips are a relatively challenging movement. You have to lower and raise your entire body weight in a controlled motion with just your triceps and chest muscles.
While you can likely build some muscle with many very low (less than 5) rep ranges, it is typically more time-efficient to do the muscle-building rep and set ranges mentioned above.
If you are a resistance training beginner but you are able to do more than 6 dips for 2 to 3 sets, you should still go for the 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 dips per workout.
As you get stronger, you will slowly but surely move to the upper ends of these ranges.
That being said, there are also plenty of resistance training beginners who can’t reach the ranges above.
These people want to start by implementing the set and rep ranges above with assisted dips or dip exercise alternatives that work similar muscles.
As they get stronger over time, they can reach a point where bodyweight dips become effective too.
Ways to do assisted dips
Assisted dips are basically the same exercise but you have something or someone creating upward force to help your tricep and chest muscles out.
The most popular way to do assisted dips is by looping resistance bands around the dip bars and below your knees. Resistance bands are budget-friendly, easy to take with you, and can be used in other movements.
One downside is that you can not adjust the upward force as precisely.
Secondly, if your local gym has one, you can use an assisted dip machine. This construction has a pad for your knees that is connected to weights.
An assisted dip machine allows you to adjust the resistance precisely and in small increments. However, not all gyms have them.
Lastly, you could theoretically ask a friend to assist you. However, this is not great for choosing a precise amount of upward force and reducing this as you get stronger.
How many reps of dips for other training goals
Resistance training exercises often offer growth, strength progress, and better endurance. However, you can focus more on certain of these benefits of dips by adjusting your set and rep ranges.
More specifically, to improve your strength, you want to do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 dips.
To train muscle endurance, you want to go for 25+ rep ranges for 3 to 6 sets. In these, you want to use a weight that is challenging but not so much that you go to muscle failure.
Many people will need to do assisted dips to train muscle endurance with dips.
Should you do dips every day?
The ranges above are recommendations for dip workouts. How often you do these workouts can also influence your results.
During resistance training exercises like dips you damage the muscles you work. At first, this may sound bad but it actually starts a variety of internal processes that can repair the muscles and make them stronger.
That being said, your body still needs enough time to complete these processes. If you work the same muscles too early, you interrupt the processes which can reduce your results.
For this reason, it is typically recommended to give the muscles you worked at least an extra day of rest.
That being said, smaller muscles like your triceps tend to recover more quickly than big muscles like your glutes. If you do more tricep-focused dips, you could be able to do them every day.
People who do more chest-focused dips by tilting their upper bodies forward generally don’t want to do dips every day.
You can already see great results by doing dips every other day or less. Giving your body more rest helps you stay away from overtraining.
On the flip side, one of the benefits of successfully doing dips every day is that it can offer more and faster muscle growth and strength progress.
How many dips can the average person do?
Besides learning about the optimal ranges for results, you may also want to know how your dip performance compares to other people’s.
The website Strength Level is a place where lifters can submit their lifts and rep ranges. This is not the perfect representative of the average population but it does offer some interesting data.
They calculated that the average male lifter in their database can do 20 reps of dips (2). Similarly, the average female lifter in their database can do 10 reps of dips.
Keep in mind that the people who submit these statistics are at least somewhat serious about lifting weights. Compared to the average population, their numbers will be relatively good.
How many dips is impressive
The same website also shows the dip repetition ranges different percentages of the strongest lifters can do.
According to their definition, an advanced lifter is stronger than 80% of lifters. You can describe the amounts of dips these people can do as impressive.
For the male lifters in their database, 34 dips per set is considered to be impressive.
For the female lifters in the database, 22 dips per set is impressive.
If you are able to reach these ranges, you are definitely part of some of the strongest people in the population.
How many dips is a good workout?
Around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (weighted) dips is a good workout for building muscle. For a goal like improving strength, something like 4 to 8 sets of 5 dips is generally better.
Is 4 sets of dips good?
4 sets of dips with the right amounts of repetitions and resistance can be good for building muscle and/or improving strength. With enough repetitions, you can also consider this to be good in terms of strength standards.