The dip is one of the best size and strength builders for the triceps.
I recommend starting off your arm workout with dips and as soon as you're hitting the double digit rep range start considering to add additional resistance in the form of a dumbbell or 45lb weight plate to continue to overload the muscle.
You'll find strong triceps equate to solid progress on your chest exercises too e.g. the flat bench press.
Required: 2 Benches
Optional: Weight Plate/Dumbbell
Bench Dips Form
Set up two benches in a horizontal fashion a legs length away from each other.
Grasp the edge of one bench with your hands open and at shoulder width, legs extended onto the opposite bench and your waist bend so your torso is upright.
Bend your elbows to lower yourself as far down as possible, your elbows should not flare out at all and forearms should continue to point downward.
Flex your triceps to drive your body back up until your arms are almost at full extension, hold this contraction for 1 second.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Bench Dips Variations
Weighted Bench Dips
Once you're able to perform 10+ repetitions with the standard bench dip it's time to go weighted!
Have a spotter rest a 45lb plate or two on your legs while you get into position to perform your bench dips.
The weighted bench dip can easily be dropsetted by quickly removing the 45lb plate(s) and continuing with bodyweight repetitions to overload the triceps.
Common Bench Dips Mistakes
Utilizing A Partial Range Of Motion
There's no reason to work in a small range of motion on your overhead extensions, opt to flex at the elbow and lower yourself all the way down before driving through the triceps until they're locked out at the top of the movement.
Partial range of motion = partial triceps activation.
Flaring Your Elbows Out
When performing any triceps exercise, whether it be a dumbbell overhead triceps extension or a rope pushdown it’s imperative you keep your elbows tucked in by your sides.
Flaring your elbows outwards is often a sign that the weight is too heavy (as you’re trying to muscle the shoulders in to assist with moving the weight).
Flaring the elbows on triceps exercise places your shoulders at a high risk of injury not to mention you’re only going to applying a small amount of tension to the triceps as the shoulders are trying to take over and lift the weight.
If you find yourself constantly flaring your elbows lower the weight and consciously practise tucking your elbows in to your side on each repetition until it becomes natural.
Not Increasing The Resistance
If you don’t generally train in the lower rep range I recommend you give it a try, stop lifting in the 10 – 15 rep range for at least a month and focus on heavy, low rep sets. Once you start to see results you won’t want to go back.
Now, you may still think high reps are beneficial, but let me tell you they’re far from it.
High repetitions result in increased stress on your CNS, increase in localized inflammation and increased soreness.
“Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up”– George F. Jowett, 1926
In this case, if you're able to perform in excess of 15 repetitions with strict form it's time to add either a dumbbell or weight plate onto your legs to increase the resistance on your triceps.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Triceps Dips
- Dumbbell Overhead Extension
- Dumbbell Skull Crusher
- Close Grip Push-ups