Depending on how they are done, triceps dips can be an excellent exercise to develop the triceps and the delts and pecs. So much so that some people compare it directly to squats for its many benefits for muscle growth and strength.
Aside from its great effectiveness and many benefits, triceps dips are quite a challenging exercise and require a good warm-up of the shoulders and the upper body in general.
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How to do Triceps Dips
Muscles affected: triceps, pectoralis major / minor, anterior / lateral / posterior deltoids.
Equipment needed: bucket, parallel bar, chair, bench, or stable raised platform (for example, a step).
Technique on the Machine or Parallel Bars:
- Adjust the bars to a suitable height so that you can get on and off safely and with a space between the bars approximately shoulder-width apart.
- Place your palms on the bars and hold them firmly with your palms facing your body (neutral grip).
- With the sole support of the hands-on bars, lift the body until the arms are fully extended, keeping the shoulders at the elbows’ level and those of the wrists. This is the initial position.
- Keep your lower body in a controlled manner until your arm is parallel to the floor or even lower, depending on your joints’ mobility.
- Return your legs to the starting position in a controlled manner without rocking or shaking
Chair or Step Technique:
- Sit on the floor directly in front of the platform you want to use and place the “heels” of your hands on your body with the tips of your fingers.
- From this position, fully extend your arms and keep your shoulders in line with your elbows and wrists. This is the initial position.
- Lower your body in a controlled manner until your arm is parallel to the floor. You can rest your feet on a raised platform to increase the intensity of the exercise.
- Move your hands to the starting position in a controlled manner.
Leaning too Far Forward
This can increase the load on the pecs, taking the workload off the triceps. If your goal is to use triceps dips as one of the chest exercises in your routine, leaning forward is fine, but if your goal is to work the triceps primarily, you should keep your torso as upright as possible.
Swinging or Moving your Legs
These actions can sign that your upper body is not yet ready to handle such a workload. Dedicate yourself to strengthening your upper body muscles with other more functional exercises until you are ready to tackle the triceps dips with good technique.
Going Down too Much or too Fast
Moving too low could cause discomfort in the shoulder joint, so it is best to lower until the upper arm is parallel to the ground or even reduce the motion range until the technique is mastered. Going down too fast can also put an undue load on the shoulder joint and reduce muscles’ time under tension.
Misplacing your Hands
Using too wide or too narrow a parting of the hands can also cause discomfort and an excessive load on the shoulder joint. Ideally, use a parting roughly shoulder-width apart.
Benefits of Triceps Dips
As part of muscle hypertrophy training with proper volume and load, triceps dips can provide a good stimulus for muscle growth. Regulate the number of sets and reps, as well as the pace and load, to give your muscles the push they need to grow.
Triceps dips can also help improve compressive strength and strength in compound exercises such as the bench press due to the triceps’ high involvement in the exercise.
They also help improve shoulder mobility by keeping the joint under tension throughout the exercise.
Whether you want to gain muscle mass and strength in your upper body, or you want to stay in shape and improve arm flexibility, triceps is an exercise that you cannot miss while working out. Avoid the mistakes we mentioned and focus on learning the correct technique to get the most out of this fantastic compound exercise’s many benefits.