Machine Tricep Dip: Muscles Worked, Form, Alternatives

Building bigger, stronger triceps is a goal for many gym-goers looking to get well-defined arms. But it can be tricky to fully isolate the triceps during presses or dips. That’s where the machine triceps dip comes in.

Unlike free weight triceps exercises, the machine dip stabilizes your torso and minimizes the use of other muscle groups. This makes the triceps muscles grow and become stronger.

In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the machine tricep dip, including the Muscles worked, how to do, its benefits.

What Is Tricep Machine Dip

The tricep machine dip is a type of strength training equipment that is designed to work the triceps muscles. It is a variation of the traditional tricep dip that uses a machine instead of bodyweight to provide resistance. 

The tricep dip machine provides a more controlled and isolated environment than a parallel bar dip. It minimizes the use of the chest, shoulders and back. You can increase strength and size in this hard-to-target area by isolating the triceps.

It is a great exercise for beginners who want to bigger and stronger arms.

Some machines might have different designs and different grip positions, which would allow for a wider range of exercises.

Tricep Machine Dip

Machine Tricep Dip Muscle Worked

The machine tricep dip primarily targets the triceps, but also engages the chest and shoulders to a lesser extent.

Primarily Muscles Worked

The triceps brachii is primarily responsible for arm extension. It consists of three distinct heads: When performing the machine tricep dip, all three heads of the triceps are engaged.

  • Long Head: Originates at the scapula (shoulder blade) and runs down the back of the arm.
  • Medial Head: Located in the middle section of the triceps, beneath the long and lateral heads
  • Lateral Head: Found on the outer side of the arm.
Machine Tricep Dip Muscle Worked

Secondary Muscles Worked

How To Do Machine Dip

  1. Sit down on a dip machine and place your feet on the footrests.
  2. Ensure that when you sit, your hands are level with your shoulders or slightly below.
  3. Keep your elbows close to your body and grasp the handles with a neutral grip.
  4. Some machines might offer different grip variations; choose the one that’s most comfortable.
  5. Push the handles down by extending your arms. Ensure the motion is controlled and steady.
  6. Focus on squeezing your triceps hard to get a good contraction.
  7. Slowly bend your elbows until they are close to parallel to the floor.
  8. Complete another repetition by extending your arms down again.
  9. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
How To Do Machine Dip

Repetitions and Sets

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.
  • Intermediate/Advanced: 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps, adjusting the weight as needed.

Common Mistakes to Be Avoid

  1. Elbow Position: Allowing elbows to flare out, which can stress the shoulders. Keep elbow close.
  2. Overextension: Locking the elbows at the bottom of the movement.
  3. Using Momentum: Not maintaining controlled movements, which results in reduced muscle engagement.
  4. Partial Reps: Not utilizing the full range of motion, which limits tricep activation.
  5. Incorrect Weight: Using too much weight, increases the chance of injury
  6. Rapid Movements: Performing the exercise too quickly instead of focusing on slow, deliberate reps.
  7. Body Swaying: Leaning or moving the torso excessively during the exercise.
  8. Wrist Position: Allowing the wrists to bend or twist, rather than keeping them in a neutral position.
  9. Inconsistent Breathing: Holding one’s breath or not coordinating breathing with the movement.
  10. Overtraining: Not allowing adequate recovery time between tricep-focused sessions, leading to potential overuse injuries.

Why Machine Tricep Dip?

  1. Isolates and focuses on the triceps effectively.
  2. Reduced injury risk due to controlled and guided motion.
  3. Provides steady resistance throughout the entire movement.
  4. Suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced.
  5. Helps maintain proper form, especially for novices.
  6. Easy to adjust and track weight increments.
  7. Offers a stable platform, reducing strain on stabilizing muscles.
  8. Many machines offer multiple grip positions for varied workouts.

Alternatives of Machine Dip

Adding variety to your triceps routine can help stimulate continued muscle growth over time.

If you don’t have a machine to do triceps dips or want to work the muscles from different angles, try these other ways to do it.

1. Bodyweight Tricep Dips

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.

Tricep dip requires minimal equipment and can be done almost anywhere. It can be done using a bench, chair, or parallel bars.

2. Tricep Pushdown

The tricep pushdown is a weight training exercise that targets the tricep muscle. The exercise is typically performed using a cable machine and a straight bar, reverse grip or rope attachment.

Triceps pushdown exercises are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your triceps throughout the range of motion.

3. Skull Crushers

Skull crushers are a classic triceps exercise that has been used by bodybuilders and strength athletes for decades.

It is one of the most common tricep isolation exercises out there and is typically performed on a flat bench using either an Ez-bar, straight bar or dumbbells.

4. Diamond Push-Ups

The Diamond push-up is a variation of the traditional push-up that places more emphasis on the triceps. It’s an effective bodyweight alternative for tricep activation.

The diamond push-up is one of the more challenging variations of the push-up because of the narrower base of support.

5. Overhead Tricep Extension

The overhead tricep extension is an isolation exercise that works the triceps. This move involves extending the arms overhead to work the triceps, especially the long head.


Machine tricep dips are a great way to strengthen the triceps. They are a relatively easy exercise to learn and can be done by people of all fitness levels.

The controlled environment of the machine ensures that even beginners are able to train their triceps without the fear of improper form or potential strain.

For those who are intermediate or advanced, the machine allows for progressive overload, so they can build up their muscles consistently.

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