Hello Andrea Cawthorn,
I was also thinking that this move is not necessary due to the shoulder injury risk, except for a competitive gymnast. The most challenging may be the most detrimental; but, if you must, add resistance as mentioned already and slow it down.
Please, take very good care,
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
As I have asked in response to many such questions. Why?
What application in real life are you planning to enhance by making the dip exercise more challenging? Why not find a movment that engages the extension of the arm in a manner that is safer and has more real world applications? Does your client need to repeatedly climb out of a manhole with a heavy tool belt on? Have you spent anytime evaluating the exercise and comparing it to other movements that could be more appropriate?
I might use dips with a client and seek to increase the challenge for them if they were a competitive gymnast. Otherwise, it would just be a simple dip movement. But I spend a lot of time working post rehab for helping to fix a lot of the damage that is done by exceeding the reasonable manner in which to exercise, so I might just be jaded. Or sincerely trying to follow our code of ethics and be safe and responsible in providing clients with instruction.
Adding additional weight (dumbbell/weighted vest)is probably the easiest way to crank up the intensity for dips. I also like some of the dip machines available now – particularly Hammer brand. As others have said, be careful with the movement, especially if you’re adding additional resistance. One ugly rep can be pretty rough on shoulders – been there, done that!
Just want to add to what Harris posted because I think it’s important to mention…. Although tricep dips can be an effective strength exercise for the tricep, they can also cause harm to the shoulder. If this is for yourself or a client, I would make sure there are no shoulder/rotator cuff issues since this exercise can aggravate or worsen a condition.