Do Dips Work Traps?

Dips are a simple strength-training exercise that are ideal to add to your workout regimen because of their many variations. Depending on what exercise equipment you have at your disposal, you can adjust your dip exercise to increase or decrease the challenge. The one constant of the exercise is the target muscle. Dips target the triceps but require the use of your traps.

Dip Exercise

Often called triceps dips, the dip is an exercise that targets your triceps muscles. These muscles are located on the rear of your upper arms, running between your elbow and underarm. If you have a bench, bench dips require you to hold the edge of the bench and lower your buttocks toward the ground. You can perform this exercise with your legs stretched and your heels on the ground or your heels elevated on another bench. If you have a dip bar, you can perform a standard triceps dip in which you hold the handles at each hip and bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor.

Trap Muscle

Although your triceps muscles are this exercise's target, you cannot perform a standard triceps dip or bench dip without the use of your traps. Technically known as your trapezius muscles, this muscle group has lower, upper and middle heads and runs from your neck to the midpoint of your back. The dip exercise specifically targets the lower head of the trapezius muscle, which runs along your spine and up to your scapula. In a dip exercise, your trap is a stabilizer, which means it contracts as you execute the movement.

Other Muscles

Your triceps and traps aren't the only muscles required to help you execute a dip. This exercise engages several other muscles, which are primarily located in your upper body. These muscles include your deltoids, commonly known as your shoulders, and pectorals, commonly known as your chest. Other muscles involved include your rhomboids and levator scapulae, located in your back, your latissimus dorsi, located on the sides of your torso and your biceps, which make up the fronts of your upper arms.

Trap Exercises

Although dips involve your traps, you can choose from a long list of other exercises if you wish to specifically target these muscles. A common free-weight exercise to build your traps is the shrug, which you can perform with dumbbells, a barbell, kettlebells or a weight machine. Other exercises include upright cable or resistance band rows and scapular pullups.

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