The triceps dip is an exercise that directly targets the triceps brachii, the msucle located on the backside of your arm between the shoulder and elbow joints. The triceps brachii is primarily responsible for the extension of both the elbow and the shoulder. Like most muscles, the triceps can get bigger through intense weight training. The triceps dips is a great exercise for increasing muscular size and strength in the triceps brachii, or can be used to simply tone your arms.
The triceps brachii roughly makes up about 75 percent of your arm. Anaerobic training of the triceps brachii can increase the size of the muscle and overall size of your arms. To gain muscle size, also known as muscle hypertrophy, you should use heavier weights and lower reps of four to eight, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Using heavier weights in the triceps dips means you would add additional weight on top of your own body weight. To accomplish this, add weight by attaching a belt around your waist with a chain that hangs down to attach to a plate or to wrap around a dumbbell. If you just want to tone, use only your own body weight in the triceps dip.
Triceps Dips Variations
There are three common variations in the triceps dips exercise, with all three of them exclusively targeting the triceps brachii. In the bench dips you use two benches to perform the dip motion. The benches are about 4 feet apart with your hands on one bench and your heels on the other. A second variation of the triceps dip is the machine dip. Most gyms have an exercise machine to execute the dip. You sit down on the machine's seat, which has a back support, grab both handles to the side of you, and push down to perform the dip motion. The third common variation of the triceps dip is the bar dip, which is the traditional method for performing dips.
Bar dips is the standard method for performing the triceps dips. This variation is also the most difficult to perform due to the fact you have to hold and push up your own body weight. To begin, place your hands on each bar, with your palms facing inward and push yourself up to almost a full extension of your arms. If you need help getting to this position, use a step or stool. Slowly lower yourself toward the ground but stop when your elbows are at a 90-degree bend. Keep your torso upright and your arms to your sides at all times. Bend your knees with your feet behind you so that your legs do not touch the ground when you are lowering yourself. Perform this exercise for three sets of four to eight reps.
Before beginning any variation of the triceps dips, seek advice from a personal trainer. He will teach you the proper form for triceps dips, choose which variation is appropriate for you and ensure your personal safety. If you experience any pain in your triceps muscles or elbows when using heavier weight, stop exercising and seek a consultation with your doctor to properly diagnose the cause of pain. Heavier weights place additional stress on your joints, tendons and ligaments.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.