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The Dip Is The Best Triceps Exercise

In my 30 plus years of experience working out and 20 plus years as a personal trainer, I have learned a thing or two. Doing the big, multi-joint movements is what gives the best growth in my opinion. When you consider training economy, this is a tough exercise. It has a high metabolic cost and as a result is very taxing. The benefit however, is amazing strength and size gains. I feel like the dip is the equivalent of what squats do for legs. It involves almost the entire upper body to be able execute a dip correctly. It takes core stability and strength to do this exercise well. It involves, triceps, pecs, shoulders, back, biceps, and abs. This is why I equate it to the squat of the upper body. No other triceps exercise exerts more stress, and that is why I call dips the best triceps exercise.


How To Execute The Best Triceps Exercise

The dip can be done on many different bars, but ideally they aren’t too wide. If the elbows flare out too much from the body, emphasis on the triceps diminishes. In reality, you want the triceps glued to the side of your body. You will descend until the elbow is at 90 degrees. Once there, you pause for 1/2 second and drive back up until just short of lockout before descending into the next rep. The most common mistakes I see are not going deep enough, letting the elbows flare out too much and leaning into the movement too much. If you don’t go deep enough you don’t fully stretch the triceps for optimal growth. If you let the elbows flare, you reduce the triceps involvement and bring in pecs and delts too much. If you lean too far forward, you make it more of a chest exercise. Here is a video demonstration.

How Many Sets And Reps To Do

With dips it might be a good idea to do a few sets of very light high rep triceps pushdowns to get the elbows ready for the stress dips will provide. I like to do 2-3 sets of 20 reps of both  pushdowns and a cable curls to heat up my old body. You would generally want to do a body weight set before you start adding weight to a dip belt. I generally recommend doing these earlier in the workout to get the most benefit out of it. The more experienced guys can finish with them too on burn out sets. If you aren’t doing dips currently, you need to add them in to maximize your arm growth and strength. This is the one exercise I would do for the upper body if I could only choose one. To really push the envelope, try our Basic Mass Stack to accelerate your gains to the limit.