Form: Dips (particularly chest dips) can place quite a lot of stress on the shoulders. To reduce this stress, keep your elbows close to your sides. Ideally, dip bars should be spaced at a distance equivalent to your forearm with hand outstretched, from elbow to fingertips. Wider bars will also emphasize the chest. If you feel shoulder pain, do not lower yourself further than parallel. Your head should be in line with your upper body, looking forward, not up, and your core engaged. Bend your legs at the knees when performing parallel bars dips (you can also cross your feet).
Notes: A dip station makes an important addition to your home set up, but here are a couple of alternatives to dip bars, once you reach the later stages of the progression.
Choose one of the following variations as a starting point and perform 3 sets of between 4 and 8 repetitions with periods of between 1 and 2 min of rest between each set. When you can do 3 sets of 8, move on to the next exercise in the progression.
1. Bent knee bench dips. Place your hands flat on a bench or chair behind you, and lower yourself until your butt nearly touches the floor. Lower yourself over the count of 3 seconds. Breathe out as you push yourself back up.
2. Straight legs bench dips. Same as above but performed with straight legs.
3. One elevated leg, straight legs bench dips. Raise one of your legs off the floor.
4. Elevated legs bench dips.
Here's a video demonstration of modified Russian dips on parallel bars.