The primary purpose of triceps dips is to work your triceps, however in doing this exercise, you also recruit your delts, traps and forearms as secondary muscle engagement.
How to perform triceps dips
Start by sitting yourself on the edge of a bench with your wrists facing behind you and half of your palm placed firmly on the top of the bench.
Keep your knees bent at around a 135 degree angle and feet flat on the floor.
Next; slide your bum off the bench and shift your weight through your palms (this is your start position).
Now lower yourself down as low as you can go, keeping your torso as upright as possible and your back close to the bench but not touching.
Finally; push yourself back up to start position through the same controlled movement. Go for reps.
If you want to challenge yourself, straighten your legs out and position your weight into your heels.
For a further challenge, use two benches, one to ‘dip’ on and the other to rest your feet on. Legend positions a weight plate on their lap for bonus gains!
Triceps dips: Common mistakes to avoid
While doing the exercise is far better than not doing it (in most cases), it should be noted that sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended. If you are performing your triceps dips with incorrect form, you may recruit other muscle groups during the exercise, or poorly engage the intended muscle groups, which will hinder your triceps gains at best and result in injury at worst.
Always keep the muscle you intend to work in mind when you are performing the exercise, this is the ideal way to ensure best results.
While they may carry a similar name, triceps dips are not to be mistaken for just ‘dips’ which are performed on parallel bars. Granted they are similar, however, the two exercises actually engage different muscle groups.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, your triceps dips need to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Therefore; how many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and most importantly; your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing is to get started, the rest will come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals first. From there; you can choose the appropriate rep/set range to work with.