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Studies show that whilst around 50% of adults hit the recommended amount of aerobic activity every week, only around 20% do exercise that works the major muscle groups and strengthens the body. Strength-training has also been recently proven to lower the risk of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Now, that doesn’t have to mean heavy weight-lifting or hitting the gym. Simple bodyweight exercises, such as the tricep dip, are easy to achieve at home, without any equipment. Tricep dips lead to increased strength in your upper body which will bring a boost your training potential overall – if done properly. Let’s take a deep dive into this training favourite, and what it could do for you on your fitness journey.

The Benefits of Tricep Dips

As you might be able to guess, tricep dips primarily focus on your triceps – that muscle along the back of your upper arm. However, they also work your deltoids, pecs, rhomboids and lats. When done regularly and correctly, this compound bodyweight exercise builds strength in the chest and shoulders, supporting your body’s overall capacity to train and carry weight. That’s aside from toning your arms, and abs through core engagement. Finally, tricep dips also target many lesser-known stabilizer muscles that are often challenging to isolate. These are crucial to improving balance, keeping joints healthy and avoiding injury – a win-win for your upper body!

Basic Form

Tricep dips come with endless variations. The most basic form requires nothing more than your own body weight. Start on a mat or on the floor in a reverse tabletop position, with arms shoulder-width apart and fingertips facing your feet. With the hips lifted and core engaged, slowly bend the elbows. Lower the body a few inches, and then return to your tabletop position by straightening the elbows. Start with a couple of sets of 15 reps.


1.Ankle Cross Dips

If you’ve mastered the basic form and are ready to add some difficulty, take turns crossing an ankle over the opposite knee for maximum toning of your upper arms. Be sure to keep the core engaged and back straight throughout.

2.The Bench Dip

A very popular variation on the tricep dip is the bench dip, which can be carried out on any elevated surface from a garden wall to a park bench, to a gym box. In this version, extend your legs at a 90-degree angle from your torso. As you lower, the hips drop just in front of the bench, or even to the floor depending on the size of your elevation.

3. The Double Bench

For an even greater challenge, elevate the feet on a second bench or other sturdy surface, keeping the legs straight. This removes the support from your leg muscles, adding intensity for your triceps. To go one step further, place a weight in your lap for the ultimate tricep dip challenge!

Common Mistakes
1. Arms To the Side

As you lower into your tricep dip, your elbows should be facing backwards at all times, and you’re aiming to maintain your forearms perpendicular to the floor. So take note if your elbows swing out to the sides to avoid placing extra pressure on your shoulders.

2. Hip Distance

Your hands should be positioned just behind your hips. So, whichever variation you choose, make sure the distance between your hands and hips doesn’t increase to avoid shoulder strain. In the bench dip variation, this means your back should be close to the bench at all stages of your dip.

3. Rushing

To access the full benefits of the tricep dip, you should be lowering and raising in a controlled way with a pause at the top to contract the glutes. So don’t rush it!


So there you have it… our essential guide to the famous tricep dips. The great thing about this workout exercise is it can be done anywhere from the park to your kitchen floor, at any time, and with no need for special equipment. However, this exercise can be challenging for your shoulders, and achieving the right form is crucial to avoiding injury. At One Element’s expertly designed sessions, our trainers guide you through your workout to make sure you’re doing it right, and getting the best results for you. Why not try a free trial today, or try our additional weight-training sessions? Your fitness journey starts here.

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