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How To: Triceps Dips

Triceps Dips

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.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Triceps

Required: Parallel Bars

Optional: Weight Belt

Triceps Dips Form

Raise your body on a pair of parallel bars until your arms are almost at full extension.

As you breath in begin to lower yourself down by flexing the elbow, your torso should stay upright and your elbows should remain tucked in to your side to ensure you're focusing on the triceps as opposed to the chest.

Lower yourself down until there's at least a 90 degree angle between your upper and lower arm.

Flex and drive through your triceps to power yourself back up until your arms are almost at full extension.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dips Variations

It’s well known that the dip works both the chest and the triceps, however in order to primarily work your chest or in order to isolate the triceps further a slight different form is utilized.
The chest dip relies on a forward lean that allows you to push through the chest, this angle is to maintained for the duration of your set.
The triceps dip on the other hand is a completely upright dip with no chest involvement.

Common Triceps Dips Mistakes

Neglecting Triceps

This is without a doubt the biggest arm training mistake I see. Period.
When it comes to building big arms the triceps are often neglected, with arm day consisting of a variety of different bicep curls and only one or two tricep exercises.
The triceps makes up 2/3 of your arm and has a far bigger overall impact on the size of your arm (especially when viewed side on).

See also
How To: Close Grip Lat Pulldown

Although the triceps are the secondary muscle group on exercises such as the barbell bench press when training chest in order to build impressive triceps they need to be hit directly with the right exercises such as the close grip bench press, skullcrushers and bodyweight (or weighted) dips.

Flaring Elbows On Triceps Exercises

When performing any tricep exercise, whether it be a dumbbell overhead tricep 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.

Arm Training Frequency Too High

it didn’t take me long to realize that training my arms every single day wasn’t getting me very far in terms of results given all the effort I was exerting.

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How To: Toes To Bar

Train smart.

The biceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training back, and the triceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training chest.
Training chest, back and one dedicated arm day per week (or triceps and biceps split up onto seperate days instead) is more than enough to build big, strong arms.

More isn’t always better – if you’re training frequency is any higher than this you may very well be hindering your own progress, like all other muscle groups the biceps and triceps require time to recover.

Lifting Too Light

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

See also
How To: Dumbbell Front Raise

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Chest Dips
  • Bench Dips
  • Skull Crushers
  • Dumbbell Overhead Extension

Any Questions Regarding Triceps Dips? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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