Triceps? What are they?
Located in the upper rear of the arm, triceps are under-rated muscles as everyone seems to focus on biceps but triceps are actually very useful muscles – you need them when you are driving, cycling, getting up from a lying position and pushing something away from you. Additionally, as they are naturally a bigger muscle than the biceps, working the triceps will make your upper arms look bigger!
Tricep dips are a great exercise for building strong triceps and you don’t need expensive equipment to develop them. You can do them on the edge of a chair but this is not good for stability nor is it good for the wrists – so I will show you another way to work the triceps using very cheap exercise equipment. Additional benefits of the set up I am going to describe is that you will be able to go deeper plus you can also do chest dips.
You will need:
- a pair of push up bars: these cost around £5 – I have the cheapest ones and they are made of solid plastic but even they can hold my weight when I do exercises that raise me completely off the floor!
- a pair of dining chairs: use ones with a firm seat; the ones I use are cheap but have a wooden seat and thin cushion – avoid using ones with hollow seats and thick cushioning as these will not support the weight of the push up bars when pressure is applied or at best they will be unstable and could topple when you lift yourself up.
Now, set the chairs so that you can kneel between them and put one push up bar on each chair so that they are parallel to each other.
To get into the correct position, kneel (or squat) between the chairs, place one hand on each push up bar and support your weight whilst placing your feet in front of you.
To perform the dips, simply lower your body as low as you can go then push back up until your arms are straight. That’s one repetition.
A video of me performing tricep dips:
Sets and reps
Depending on how difficult you find this exercise, I would initially look at doing three sets of six repetitions with a couple of minutes’ break in between each set. You should feel the backs of your upper arms burning.
You can increase the number of repetitions as you find it easier to perform this exercise – see the tips section for further ideas on making this exercise tougher.
As part of your regular exercise routine, you can probably do these 2-3 times a week.
Notice in the video how the chairs are set diagonally to me? This is because there’s a slight outward force, so placing the chairs in this fashion makes them more stable. As you have probably guessed, you can make the exercise easier by bending the knees. For a better work out, keep the legs straight. A more challenging workout would be to place your feet above ground level, for instance, on another chair. The real heroes amongst us can have someone place a bag of books in our laps or simply wear a rucksack filled with books!
Try chest dips to work the lower area of the pectorals by having the legs behind you and the toes on a chair with your knees bent.
As you can see, you can get a good tricep workout without having to buy an expensive dip station that will take up a lot of space in your home. Let us know how you get on!