How to do a Triceps Dip!

Do you struggle to find exercises to work your triceps (the muscles in the back of your arm)? Tabletop triceps dips are the perfect bodyweight exercise to work the triceps. We sometimes forget that the back of our arms also needs to be exercised. The triceps are important supporting muscles for our biceps (the front of our arms) and our shoulders so it is important to strengthen our triceps. This exercise not only helps to engage our triceps but also engages the core (abs) and our glutes (or butt). This can be a challenging exercise but here are some tips to help!


  • Place your hands underneath your shoulders with your fingertips pointing towards your feet
  • Lift your body off the ground keeping your core engaged by pulling your belly button in
  • In the lifted position bend your elbows to lower your body to the ground
  • Be sure that all the movement is coming from bending your elbows

Common Mistakes

  • Keeping your shoulders by your ears – you want to make sure that your shoulders stay away from your ears during the movement!
  • Not keeping your neck in a neutral position by either looking up or looking down– It is important that you keep your neck in a neutral position to not put strain on your neck!
  • Placing your hands wider than shoulder-width — it is important that you place your hands underneath your shoulders throughout the exercise to ensure your triceps are working!


  • Does this feel too challenging? Do not worry about bending your elbows all the way! Bend your elbows as much as you can until you feel the triceps working and then straighten the arms
  • Want more of a challenge?
  • Cross one leg over the opposite leg and then begin bending your elbows to begin the dips
  • Or extend both feet out into a reverse plank and do the triceps dips from this position
  • Do you prefer to be off the ground? Get a chair or go to your sofa and place your hands on the chair/sofa and extend your feet out and begin the dips (Shown in image)

How to Start:

  • Start with 3 sets of 10 reps (if this feels too easy then increase the reps to 12)
  • If increasing the reps still feels easy try out one of the modifications


Written by: Anisha Patel

Posted in

The Social and Health Research Center