How To Do Tricep Dips: Muscles Worked, Proper Form, Variations

If you are looking for the best exercise to build stronger arms? Tricep dips may be your best option that you can do at home.

The triceps are made up of three heads, the medial, lateral, and long head. If you want to increase the strength and size of your upper arms you need to work all three. Fortunately, you can do just that with one exercise – the triceps dip.

Although this bodyweight exercise mainly targets the triceps, it also hits your chest, anterior deltoid, (front part of your shoulder), back and core.

This simple dip exercise can be done almost anywhere and has many variations to match your fitness level. Use it as part of an upper-body strength workout.

What Is Tricep Dips

Tricep dips are a powerful bodyweight exercise that targets the triceps muscles. Tricep dips are a good way to make your arm muscles stronger and bigger. It must be a part of any effective triceps workout or bodyweight workout. Triceps are a big muscle with three heads, and the tricep dip hits all three heads of the triceps.

In fact, many people believe dips are the king of tricep exercises, which means everyone should do some form of a tricep dip for muscle mass and strength gains. The dip simply gives you an extra push to complete the movement, and it’s a great addition to a workout.

Tricep dips can be done using various pieces of equipment like parallel bars, dip stations, or even simple household furniture like chairs or benches.

Please continue reading for completer information on this fundamental bodyweight exercise, including muscle worked, Benefits. Know more about the variety of variations to enhance the level of difficulty once you have mastered the standard dip.

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Muscle Worked During Tricep Dips

The tricep dip primarily targets the triceps brachii muscles. However, tricep dips are a compound exercise, meaning that they also involve other muscles to a lesser extent.

Primary Muscles Worked

  1. Triceps Brachii: All the 3 heads of the tricep – the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head are engaged.
Muscle Worked During Tricep Dip

Secondary Muscles Worked

  1. Pectoralis Major (Chest): The sternal head of the pectoralis major is also involved, especially if you lean your body slightly forward during the dip.
  2. Deltoids (Shoulders): Particularly the anterior (front) deltoids. It assists during the pushing phase of the exercise.
  3. Serratus Anterior: This muscle assists in stabilizing the shoulder blades.
  4. Rhomboids and Levator Scapulae: These muscles help stabilize the shoulder blades. It contributes to the stability required for the movement.
  5. Core Muscles: The muscles of the abdomen and lower back help stabilize the body, and provide balance and support.
  6. Latissimus Dorsi: These are minimally involved, but do contribute to shoulder stability during the exercise.

What Are The Benefits Of Tricep Dips?

Tricep dips work the muscles in the upper arm, specifically the triceps, and are one of the best exercises for toning the arms.

  • Strengthen and build all three heads of the triceps muscles.
  • When done correctly, weighted dips can add muscle mass to your upper body.
  • Improve pushing and pressing power for the upper body.
  • This exercise can also help build your strength for other exercises like bench presses.
  • Activate the chest and front shoulders as secondary movers.
  • Require no equipment – can be done anywhere with a raised surface.
  • Hit the triceps through a full range of motion for complete development.
  • Allow for changes in intensity by adding weight or modifying body position.
  • Develop grip strength isometrically by supporting bodyweight.
  • Make your shoulders and core stronger and more stable.
  • Easy to modify for any fitness level from beginners to advanced lifters.
  • In addition, it’s an exercise that uses plenty of stabilizing muscles, which will result in a more developed upper body. .

How To Do Bench Tricep Dip

Tricep dips are the perfect move for anyone who wants to work on their arm and shoulder strength, while tightening the back of the arms. Plus, there are tons of variations, so you can find a way to perform them that matches your strength level.

  1. Place your hands on the side of a flat bench so that your body is perpendicular to the bench when you place your feet out in front of you.
  2. Only your heels should be on the floor, and your legs should be straight.
  3. Your arms should be fully extended with just your palms on the bench.
  4. Bend your elbows to lower your body down until your elbows reach 90 degrees.
  5. Now extend your arms to lift your body back to the starting position, flexing your triceps hard at the top.
Tricep Dip

Tricep Dips Proper Form and Technique

Knowing how to do them correctly is important in ensuring you are working the right muscles and not putting strain on the neck or shoulders.

Avoid these common mistakes and errors, so you get the most from this triceps dips exercise and avoid injury.

  1. Not doing complete reps: Completing partial reps instead of a full rep won’t fully engage the triceps, negating some benefits of the exercise. Make sure you lower down until your upper arm is parallel to the ground and your elbow forms a 90-degree angle.
  2. Flaring Elbows out: When you let your elbows flare out, you move the tension from your triceps to your shoulders, which can cause injury. Ensure that your elbows stay tucked into your body throughout the dip.
  3. Leaning too far forward. Take care that you are always using proper form by keeping your chest high and open, and head looking straight ahead, making sure to avoid rounding the front of your shoulders.
  4. Going too Low: If you drop too low into the dip, you’ll put too much pressure on your shoulder. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor and rise back up.
  5. Locking Elbows: Don’t lock your elbows at the top of the movement. Keeping them slightly soft maintains tension on the triceps.
  6. Doing Reps too Quick: If you rely on momentum to complete each rep, you miss out on some of the move’s many benefits. Move slowly and with control for maximum results.

Set, Reps And Frequency For Tricep Dips

The number of reps you should do depends on your goals, whether they are to increase strength or build muscle mass and endurance.

  • For muscle growth, it is best to do for around 6–12 reps per set.
  • For strength, around 3–8 reps per set are recommended.
  • Muscle Endurance, do 15-20+ reps per set.
Beginner2-38-121-2 times per week
Intermediate3-48-122-3 times per week
Advanced4-58-152-3 times per week

6 Best Triceps Dips Variations

The dip’s accessibility makes it a versatile exercise, but you need to be careful about form to stay safe and get the best results. Try tricep dips at home, on a bench, on the floor, and using a dip machine at the gym to see which method works best for you.

1. Knee Bent Bench Dip

Knee Bent bench dip is a medium-intensity exercise that uses your body weight to strengthen your triceps.

Bench dips are fairly simple to learn and can be done almost anywhere, making them a great exercise for home-workout.

Knee Bent Bench Dip

How To Do Knee Bent Bench Dip

  1. Sit on the side of a bench and place your hands on the edge of the bench facing laterally away from your body.
  2. Slide your butt off the bench and move your legs forward with knees bent, so your arms are supporting your body weight.
  3. Your arms should be fully extended with just your palms on the bench.
  4. Bend your elbows to lower your body down until your elbows reach 90 degrees.
  5. Now extend your arms to lift your body back to the starting position.

2. Bench Dip With Elevated Legs

The Tricep bench dip exercise is one of the basic and best workouts for building the triceps and bigger arms.

The feet-elevated bench dip is a popular bodyweight exercise for building the triceps, chest, and shoulders.

Elevating the feet brings more chest and shoulder into the movement. It also allows for extra weight on the hips.

Bench Dip With Elevated Legs

How To Do Bench Dip With Elevated Legs

  1. Place your hands on the side of a flat bench so that your body is perpendicular to the bench when you place your feet out in front of you.
  2. Sit on one bench and place your feet on the edge of the other bench so that your legs are suspended between the two.
  3. Your arms should be fully extended with your palms on the bench.
  4. Bend your elbows to lower your body down until your elbows reach 90 degrees.
  5. Now extend your arms to lift your body back to the starting position, flexing your triceps hard at the top.

3. One-Arm Bench Dip

The one-arm tricep bench dip is a challenging and very effective movement that primarily targets your triceps, but your glutes and quads also get worked secondarily.

However, this is not a beginner’s exercise or for someone who does not have adequate upper body strength.

For an easier variation, you can do a bench dip.

One-Arm Bench Dip

How To Do One-Arm Bench Dip

  1. Place your hands (palms) on the side of a flat bench with your back straight, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Slide your buttocks off the bench. Raise your left arm and right leg straight out in front of you. Your bodyweight should be being supported by your right arm and left leg.
  3. Inhale as you flex your elbow to lower your body until you feel a mild stretch in your shoulder.
  4. Exhale as you extend your elbow to push your body back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and repeat the exercise with your left arm.

4. Machine Assisted Triceps Dip

Machine assisted tricep dips are a very effective exercise for any lifter with every level of training experience.

Now, body weight dips are very difficult because many people are not able to push up their own body weight. So, the machine-assisted dip machine is a game changer, and it makes doing dips entirely possible.

Assisted Triceps Dip

How To Do Machine Assisted Triceps Dip

  1. Select a weight with enough resistance to allow you to move up and down on the machine.
  2. Kneel onto the knee pad of the assisted triceps dip machine and grasp the shoulder-width bars.
  3. Slowly let yourself down, so your arms are bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push yourself back up slowly to the top of the movement, but don’t lock out.
  5. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.

5. Parallel Bar Triceps Dip

Parallel bar triceps dips is one of the most effective compound movements for the upper body pushing muscles in the chest and triceps especially.

When performed on narrow parallel bars with elbows back and your torso upright, the dip becomes one of the best bodyweight exercises for building triceps mass.

Parallel Bar Triceps Dip

How To Do Parallel Bar Triceps Dip

  1. Grasp the dip bars with your arms extended and locked.
  2. Keep your body as vertical as possible to keep the emphasis on the triceps and away from the chest.
  3. Keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible as you bend them to lower your body down until your upper arms are about parallel to the floor.
  4.  Press your hands forcefully into the bars to extend your arms and raise your body back up.
  5. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.

6. Tricep Floor Dip

This is the best tricep dips that you can do at home on the floor. Tricep dips on the floor are still a good tricep workout, but will require more reps to fatigue the triceps.

This is likely the least effective of the five, but can be used as a variation, or if you have no bench, no chairs, and nothing else to work with.

Floor Tricep Dip

How To Do Floor Tricep Dip

  1. Position your hands shoulder width apart on the floor with your back facing down.
  2. Straighten your arms and Lift your hips off the floor, like a crab
  3. Slowly bend at your elbows, and lower your upper body toward the floor until your arms are at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push your body up to return to the start position.
  5. Repeat the desired number of sets and reps.


Train Your Triceps Twice Per Week

Training your triceps twice per week can provide a nice stimulus for greater growth. This muscle group recovers fairly quickly, so 2-3 days between workouts is all you need.

Are Tricep Dips Effective?

Tricep Dip are a great way to hit all three heads simultaneously, as are close-grip bench presses, kickbacks, and tricep pushdowns.

Are Tricep Dips Bad for shoulders?

If you don’t use proper form, triceps dips are a risky exercise for your shoulders. The problem with the bench dip starts with the position of your shoulders during the exercise. The two things you want to avoid is letting your shoulders migrate forward as you do them, or upwards as you go down into the rep.

Are tricep dips a compound exercise?

Yes, Tricep dips are compound exercises, which means that these involve two or more joints that help to develop the muscles on the back of the arm, the tricep brachii. It is one of the most effective exercises for activating the triceps brachii muscle in the back of your upper arm.

Are tricep dips so hard?

Depend on your fitness level and exercise variation you choose to do.


The Tricep dip is a fantastic compound exercise that you can do at home. It’s the perfect option to include in your triceps workouts, and you’ll definitely see a difference in your muscular development. Try out the different variations as well to see which one works best for you, or include them all for variety in your training.

Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Bodyweight Tricep Exercises (No Equipment Required)

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