Tricep dips are a way to work the muscles in your upper arm. This classic activity relies on just the weight of your body, although it can be done with some modern fitness tools as well. Looking at exercises like tricep dips can help you pick the muscle toning and training activities that are best for your fitness program.
Performing Tricep Dips
- Start out sitting at the edge of the exercise bench.
- Grip the edge of the bench with your hands, one on each side of your body.
- Slowly slide forward until you are unsupported by the bench. You will be in a sitting position with your knees at a 90 degree angle.
- Slowly let your body down below the level of the bench until you have reached the limit where you can still support your body weight with your arms.
- Push up on the bench so that your body is raised back up to your original sitting position.
This is one repetition of the tricep dip.
Variations of the Tricep Dip
The exercise described above is one of the most popular ways to do the tricep dip for beginners. A more advanced variation differs in that you position your legs completely forward, making your body diagonal, before lowering yourself down off of the bench. This puts much more pressure on your tricep muscles.
Other variations include tricep dips where advanced trainers put heavy weights on their laps in order to create more of a resistance challenge. Some also use a BOSU ball surface or other unstable surface in order to create a balance challenge.
Other variations can be found in the “fixed weight” section of your gym, where cable machines and steel framed exercise machines offer more guided exercise.
Muscles Worked with the Tricep Dip
The tricep dips work the triceps, a muscle group in your upper arm. Doing tricep dips in conjunction with bicep curls can help you train and strengthen the two main opposing muscle groups in your upper arm for a lot more limb strength that comes in handy, for example, when you’re dealing with heavy weights.
Along with tricep dips, you can also work the triceps through fixed weight machines like the chin up/pull up, where there’s less of a chance of injury. Since tricep dips are a more free-form exercise, you’ll have to pay special attention to proper form.
Avoiding Injury with the Tricep Dip
In order to avoid getting injured while doing tricep dips, make sure it not to put too much pressure on your wrists, or put your back in an uncomfortable position. Some of the free weight variations of this exercise are especially risky when it comes to your chances of getting injured. Experts recommend using a “spotter” or an additional person if you want to use heavy weights in your tricep dips. That’s part of what makes fixed weight alternatives popular with those who work out at the gym alone.
Ask your trainer about all of your options for developing your upper arms and upper body.