Triceps can be a trouble area for many people. Not only are they functional in numerous situations, but they also can make or break the defined look of an arm. To strengthen and define the triceps with a movement that also includes functional training, add the tricep dips exercises into your workout. Dips can be done by all fitness levels by modifying them to your abilities.
Function of Triceps
The triceps brachii is comprised of three parts that connect the humerus and scapula in the upper arm to the ulna in the forearm. The lateral head is the most prominent of the three, as it gives the arm the definition you see when viewing it externally. The medial head hides behind the lateral and long heads, and it is only visible closer to the forearm. The long head is the largest of the three, and it aids the latissimus dorsi in adducted the arm. Although all three heads are comprised of different muscle fiber types, have different origins, and aid in different movements, the primary function of the three remains the same: to extend, or straighten, the arm.
Think about how many times you straighten your arm throughout the day. When you reach to pick up an object or a child, use the arms of a chair to help push yourself up, or even move your hand from the steering wheel to the gear shift in a vehicle, you must extend your arm. Manual laborers and people with high intensity, physical jobs such as police officers and firefighters need their triceps in a more forceful way. There are many exercises that can strengthen and define this muscle, but dip exercises can be performed anywhere, whether you are near a gym or not.
Traditional Hanging Tricep Dips
The traditional dip exercise is performed while suspended in air with your arms fully extended so your hands are by your hips and holding your body up on the bars of a piece of gym exercise equipment, dip workout station, between two countertops, or anywhere else that is a width slightly wider than your body. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Contract your triceps to extend your arms, pushing your body back into the starting position.
As you see in this video, other exercises such as a knee raise can be combined with the dips to maximize the efficiency of your workout.
Modified Tricep Dips
Dips can be modified for any fitness level. Rather than suspending your body in the air with your legs hanging, try bench dips. The more bent your knees are with your feet closer to your body, the easier it will be. Straightening the legs adds difficulty to the exercise. To add even more difficulty try putting your feet up on another exercise bench in front of you.
Check out this video of modified tricep dips:
Advanced Tricep Dips
To add even more difficulty to your dip exercise, add some weight to your body. To develop muscular control while adding difficulty, perform the exercise on a suspension system such as a TRX or gymnastics rings.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Whitney Dickinson grew up with a passion for sports and fitness, immersing herself into every sport she could find. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and her Master of Science in Kinesiology. After becoming a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, she began working as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, and she eventually owned a personal training studio.[/stextbox]