The dreaded Tricep Dip! Yup that exercise that feels like your dragging your entire body weight off the floor by the smallest muscle group on the planet! The exercise many people find a way to cheat or cry through, despite the fabulous results you can achieve. Apart from the svelte arm as opposed to the bat wing, just think how useful it will be one day to be able to push yourself up and out of that crevice you’ve fallen in whilst climbing Everest! (because obviously that’s on your bucket list!)
First off the Tricep Dip is not a fancy move. It doesn’t look all that edgy and it doesn’t require all the new fancy equipment such as battling ropes, a sledge or Hungarian slam bag. However, it has been around since the beginning of exercise time, it’s a bad ass move when you can get to advanced level and it’s totally bloody awesome for working the backs of the arms! We’ve all been there – caught out on camera holding a glass of fizz with the chunkiest looking arm ever! Well apart from this just being an unflattering angle, the tricep is also an area women tend to store fat. So, let’s get some Tricep Dips in our lives and start to tone up this region so the next photo opportunity leads to gasps of envy and cries of “awesome arms!”
What are you actually working when you perform Tricep Dips
The Tricep Dip is a small movement and what I mean by that is, unlike the Squat it isn’t a massive calorie burner that pulls in just about every muscle in the body to perform. The Tricep has two small muscles whose prime purpose is to straighten the arm. This is possibly why women find them so hard, as the dip movement is literally lifting your lower half of your body back up (against gravity) using these two small muscles in the back of the arm (plus some assistance from the chest). The good news is this exercise is soooooooooo versatile and so easy to regress and progress based on your ability. You can start with your feet close to the bench and as you get stronger gradually move your feet away until you’re performing the dip with straight legs. Next you can elevate the feet or add a weight to your thighs – this again progresses the move and loads the tricep. You can then move on to full dips or weighted dips, which are bonkers when it comes to Tricep Strength! (You’ll note my swimming legs to get me back up to the top on the video below!!).
So with all that in mind, let’s start with the execution of the dip and then have a look at progressions
- Start by sitting on a bench, step or chair with your hands either side of your hips, as close to your sides as possible
- Make sure your fingers are facing forward and hanging off the edge of the bench, step or chair
- Place your feet just a little further away than 90 degrees, so when you take your hips off the bench your knees are at 90 degrees
- Take the weight in your hands and inch your bottom off the bench, step or chair but keep it as close as possible.
- Roll the shoulders back and down and make sure your neck hasn’t disappeared into your shoulders and your shoulders aren’t hunched forward
- Bend the elbows backwards (not out to the side) to lower your body down and then using the strength in your arms (not your legs) push yourself back up
- Repeat this movement 10-15 times before sitting back down
- REMEMBER – Your hips should stay as close to the bench even if your feet move away!
Once you’ve mastered the body weight Tricep Dip, only then would you start to add weights to the legs or move onto full body dips, but you can start with the assistance of the band! . Check out the video below for a few progressions on the Tricep Dip!