Bench Dips

Muscles Targeted: The triceps brachaii are the principal extensors of the elbow joint. The triceps are located on the back of the upper arm.

Equipment Needed: Sturdy flat weight bench.

How to Perform: Using the long side of a weight bench, take a shoulder width grip on the edge of the bench. Walk your legs out a comfortable distance from the bench, resting your weight on your heels. Bend the elbows, lowering your hips toward the floor, creating an angle of about 90 degrees at the elbows. Then, push up until the elbows are fully extended.

Cautions: Avoid lowering the body past 90 degrees at the elbows, as this places additional stress on the elbows and shoulders. Focus on contracting the triceps muscle at the top of the movement, not on how low you can go. Make sure your hands are dry so as not to lose your grip on the bench.

Variations or Substitutes: To increase the resistance of this exercise, you can place your heels up higher than the floor on a bench or sturdy block. Also, many fitness centers have a dip stand available for full body weight dips when you become stronger.

Additional Comments: Exercises that use body weight as resistance are very good for increasing overall strength. Examples are dips, pull-ups & push-ups. As far as triceps are concerned, I prefer bench dips to traditional dips from a dip stand. The position on a dip stand causes the torso to rotate forward until much of the emphasis is on the chest and less of the workload is on the triceps.

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