What Are Tricep Dips?

Tricep dips are a pretty well-known exercise that can be done by pretty much anybody of any physical ability.

The thing that makes it so universally popular for peoples’ workouts is the fact that it can be done with very little equipment and can easily be woven into a home circuit training routine.

What Are Tricep Dips?

In this article, we’re going to be going over exactly what tricep dips are, what makes them so popular and outline some important things to consider to get the maximum gains from your workout.

How To Do Tricep Dips

This article explains in-depth how to do a tricep dip as well as its variations. But the only thing you’ll need to perform this exercise is a surface raised at least a foot off of the ground. This could be a bench, chair, low wall or basically any ledge that you can find in your yard or at the gym.

Then, facing away from this surface, place your palms flat onto it and slowly lower yourself down, pushing your feet away from you until you’re balancing on your heels.

Lower yourself until your elbows are at a roughly 45-degree angle and straighten your legs. Then, simply lower your body down towards the floor (without actually letting your butt touch the ground) and push yourself back up again. It really is that simple!

You can obviously adjust the number of repetitions you want to do for this exercise, depending on your physical limitations and whatever other exercises you might be doing around the tricep dips.

What Makes Tricep Dips So Great?

As we’ve already established, tricep dips are great for those who don’t want to spend loads of money on workout equipment or a gym membership. As long as you have access to a chair or bench, you’re good to go.


Similarly, this is a form of weight training that doesn’t require you to purchase any weights. Instead, all of the mass is provided by your own body weight.

How To Alter Tricep Dips For Your Workout Needs

Some people might be looking for a more or less intense workout than what regular tricep dips are able to provide.

Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can increase or decrease the intensity of this exercise, without the need for loads of extra equipment.

Bending Your Knees

This is a method that will make your tricep dips easier to perform and will put significantly less strain on your shoulders.

With a regular tricep dip, we straighten our legs to ensure most of the load is carried by our arms, which is the part of the body that we’re trying to work out.

However, by bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the floor, you can take some of the load off of your arms and control the extent to which you do this through your feet.

This is a good method to try out if you’re recovering from an injury or just looking for a light workout.

Using A Second Surface

Using A Second Surface
This method works best when you’re using something like chairs or benches which can be moved around to the appropriate positions for your body.


It works by simply placing a second surface (e.g. a chair) opposite the one you’re already using, then placing your heels on this surface, so that they’re level with your palms.

Other than this, the process is pretty much the same. You’ll want to lower your body down towards the ground without your butt touching it and then push yourself back up.

This method will increase the intensity of the exercise because there will be even less weight held by your lower body than with regular tricep dips.

You should only implement this exercise into your routine if your body feels good and you’re not suffering from any upper body injuries, particularly anything to do with your arms.

Ring Dips

This is a much more extreme version of the tricep dip that will likely require the use of some gym equipment.

You’ll need to find some gymnastic rings or parallel bars that are raised a sufficient distance off of the ground.

The process is very similar to the other methods we’ve looked at, though with this one you’ll need to keep your feet completely off of the floor so that your entire body weight is being held by your arms.

Because of the large step up in intensity, you should definitely work your way up to trying this exercise by getting the hang of some of the other methods we’ve looked at at first. Trust us when we say this is a pretty tough exercise!

Tricep Dip Mistakes To Avoid

Plenty of people sees tricep dips as a simple exercise that they can throw into their routine without any knowledge of proper form or technique.

However, there are some key mistakes these people often make that increase their risk of injury and reduce the benefits gained from the exercise.

Fully Straightening Your Elbows

At the top of the movement, it can be easy to get your arms into a locked, straight position and make it easier to rest there for a few seconds.

What this actually does is put more strain on your elbow joints. Instead, you should keep the movements fluid and avoid locking your elbow like this.

Lowering Yourself Too Much

Just as you shouldn’t lift yourself so high that your elbows straighten out, you also should not lower yourself so much that it puts unnecessary strain on your shoulders.

You should only dip yourself as far as it feels comfortable to do. If you feel any pain in your shoulders at the low point of the movement, it’s a good indicator that you’re going too low.

Hunching Your Shoulders

Another good way to injure your neck or shoulders is to hunch them while performing tricep dips.

Instead, you want to keep them down, away from your ears and try to keep your neck long.

Final Thoughts

Tricep dips are a great workout for your arms that represent one of the most basic forms of weight training.

It doesn’t cost you any money in equipment and you can alter the exercise pretty much however you want to make it more or less intense. This article shows how to do dips at home for serious gains so you won't have to leave the comfort of your home as you build your body. 

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Kevin Harris
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