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Triceps Dips: Tips, How-To, Common Mistakes + FAQ

The triceps make up about 60% of all muscle mass in your upper arm. Reason enough to train this muscle group well if you want to get bigger arms. Triceps dips are an exercise that fits perfectly into your schedule.

Because it is important to perform this exercise properly, we have worked out all the information you need on this page.

Discover which muscles you train in addition to the triceps with this exercise, how to do the triceps dips, and which mistakes to avoid.

In addition, we have worked out two more ways to make it more challenging and we deal with frequently asked questions.

Which muscles do you train?

Logically you train the triceps with the triceps dips. However, this is not the only muscle group that is trained during this exercise. With the regular variant of dips, you train your chest muscles.

Because both exercises are so similar, you'll find that you're also working your pecs when you do triceps dips. You should of course make sure that you keep the emphasis on your triceps and do not push too much from your chest. More about that further down this page.

Triceps Dips Exercise

In addition to your triceps and chest muscles, your shoulders are also trained with this exercise. You can limit this with a good posture. This prevents you from putting more pressure on your shoulders than you would like.

Since you do the exercise with at least your entire body weight, there is a lot of tension on your shoulders, which increases the chance of overloading. So pay attention to this during the implementation.

Performing the triceps dips

Below you will find a step-by-step explanation of the triceps dips. In this explanation, we assume that you have a dipping station in your gym. For example, you can also perform the exercise with a bench. The explanation of that variant can be found further on this page.

  1. Set your dipping station to the right height

    It is important to set the device to the correct height. This is so that you can perform the exercise comfortably, without your feet touching the floor. In addition, you should not set the handles so high that it is difficult to reach them. So adjust it carefully before you start the exercise.

  2. Push yourself up until your arms are straight

    Grab the handles and push yourself up. Your arms should be fully extended and your body hanging straight down. This is the starting position of the exercise.

  3. Lower yourself until your elbows are at 90 degrees

    Now lower your body in a controlled manner by bending your elbows. During this movement, push your arms back and keep them at your sides. Your chest should be pushed forward, so you push your shoulder blades in proportionately. Your entire body is therefore quite vertical during the exercise. Lower down until your elbows are bent 90 degrees.

  4. Now move yourself up in a controlled manner

    Once you have reached the bottom movement you can move back up again. Pay close attention to your posture by pushing your shoulder blades in and keeping your chest out. Keep your arms at your sides again. Push yourself from your triceps back to the starting position. You have now done one repetition.

  5. Then repeat this as often as desired

    You can then repeat this several times until you have reached the desired number of repetitions. A good aim for the first time is to do around 8 to 12 reps. You will notice that it will get heavier during the exercise because your triceps will become acidic. Even then, pay close attention to your technique, so that you perform the triceps dips as efficiently as possible.

Common mistakes

As with any exercise, mistakes are still made regularly with the triceps dips. Some mistakes are due to the fact that the technique is not taught properly. Other errors arise because they sneak in secretly over time. Do you want to avoid performing the exercise incorrectly? Please read the errors below carefully.

  1. Hanging too far forward
    A common mistake is that one hangs too much forward during the exercise. This often happens when the exercise gets heavier and the triceps start to acidify. The moment you lean more forward, some of the load from your triceps will shift to your chest and shoulders. When you do triceps dips, you naturally want as much of the load of the exercise as possible to actually stay on your triceps. Therefore try not to hang forward when it gets heavier, but keep your body straight.
  2. Not
    descending deep enough The deeper you drop, the harder it becomes to get back up. As a result, you regularly see that people only make half a movement. This is of course a shame because you want to use the entire movement to get as much activation in the muscles as possible. It is therefore the intention to achieve a bend of 90 degrees with your arms.
  3. Not stretching
    the arms The last common mistake we'll cover is not fully stretching the arms when one is (back) in the starting position. Fully-extending the arms requires a lot of your triceps, so many people do this less and less as the exercise gets heavier. In order to perform the triceps dips as optimally as possible, it is therefore recommended to fully extend the arms after each repetition.

How do you make the triceps dips more challenging?

Triceps dips are of course an exercise that you perform with bodyweight as resistance. For many people who have been training for a while, it can become too easy. Below we have worked out two ways with which you can make triceps dips a lot more challenging.

Triceps dips with extra weight

By using a dipping belt you can easily add more weight to the exercise. Hang the desired disc on the belt and now perform the exercise exactly as described earlier on this page. You can add as much weight as you want, so you can make the exercise as heavy as you want.

Triceps dips with adjusted tempo

You can make the exercise more difficult by adjusting the tempo of the reps. For example, you can choose to have both the downward and the upward movement last three seconds. For example, your triceps are under tension for a lot longer than if you would perform the exercise in a normal way. You will notice that the exercise suddenly becomes a lot more difficult.

Variation: triceps bench dips

When explaining the triceps dips, we have always assumed that you have a dipping station at your disposal. This is of course not the case in all cases. That is why we also mention the most common variant here, the triceps bench dips. So for this variation, you don't need a dipping station, just a bench. Below you will find a brief explanation of this variant.

Sit with your back to the bench. Place your hands on the edge of the bench so that the inside of your hand rests on the bench. Fully extend your legs while keeping the arms straight.

Your buttocks no longer touch the ground. This is your starting position. Then move your arms down until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle. Try to keep your back straight by pushing your shoulder blades inward. Then push yourself back up until you are back in the starting position.

Frequently Asked Questions About Triceps Dips

We round off this information with some more frequently asked questions about the exercise. Do you still have questions? Leave a message at the bottom of this page and we will answer it as soon as possible.

Are Triceps Dips Safe?

Yes, triceps dips are definitely safe to do. Make sure you perform the exercise correctly and do not immediately make it heavier by adding extra weight. Focus on correct execution and you'll have a great exercise to add to your training schedule.

What other triceps exercises can I do?

A very popular and effective triceps exercise that you can do is the close grip bench press. In addition, you can also opt for an isolation exercise for the triceps, such as the triceps pushdown. View an overview of all triceps exercises here.

Do you also train your chest with triceps dips?

Inevitably, you will also train your pecs with triceps dips. This is because there is little difference between dips aimed at your triceps and dips aimed at your chest muscles. It is therefore important that you master the technique so that you know what to emphasize during the performance.

Can you do triceps dips at home?

Yes, you can easily do triceps dips at home. We are talking about the variant where you use a bench. At home, for example, you can make great use of a side table or chair to place your hands on. For the rest, the execution of the exercise is exactly the same as how it is described in this article.

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