Another one of those million dollar questions eh?
And it has a very simple answer – much like a lot of questions I’ve been getting on “is this variant of the fingertip pushup better than the other?” and so forth.
First off, better is relative. All depends upon your strength, current conditioning levels, training goals and so forth – I always tell people they’re not better or worse – they are DIFFERENT variants of an exercise. And you should get good, damn good at both, or ALL variants of an exercise to really reap the benefits and say you’ve “progressed in it”.
(honestly that is).
Now dips obviously – completely different movement from pushups.
But again, thats like asking “are pushups better than pull-ups?”
Neither is better.
Dips are FAR tougher than pushups in terms of “strength” alone – but strength is relative again.
If you’ve got a weak core and lower back, chances are you might struggle with pushups – especially the table variant – Hindus – regular pushups and all their variants – more than with dips.
Chances are you might even be OK on the handstand pushup, but weak on the regular pushup – I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Trust me!
The body is great at compensating for a weak core in a lot of exercises, the pushup being one where the legs sneakily sometimes “bend” if you dont maintain 100% focus and form – and focus on form!
So do both is what I say.
Neither is better.
Overall, pushups have far more benefit, so if you had to choose an exercise – the pushup would be it.
But do both, and watch those shoulders EXPLODE ….
There is a reason dips are mentioned in Shoulders like Boulders! and why all the old time strongmen did plenty of them along with pushups – not in place of – as a pure shoulder and chest builder, they’re right up there with the handstand pushup – in terms of chest alone, perhaps more so than the handstand pushup, even!
As a pure upper body strength builder, few exercises come close to the pull-up – not even the dip which in Fast and Furious Fitness, an oldie but GOODIE – I said was the upper body equivalent of the SQUAT!
In terms of core blasting and overall gains in the upper body, and a true old fashioned ass buster – few exercises including the above two come close to the pushup.
See what I mean, my friend?
Theres no better or worse, get better at ALL of them is what I say, and do things sensibly – work at your own pace – do it daily – and focus on form.
And thats that, my friend. Not the answer most wanted I know, but so it is …