The triceps muscle, also known as the triceps brachii, is located in the back of the arm between the elbow and the shoulder. The triceps consists of three heads and comprises roughly 75 percent of the arm. Increasing the size of the triceps muscles can also increase the overall size of your arms. Tricep dips are a great exercise to add overall size to your arms while strengthening and toning the triceps muscles. There are three common variations of tricep dips: bench, machine and bar.
The triceps brachii consists of three heads: the long, lateral and medial. The long head is the largest head of the triceps, and the medial head the smallest. The triceps brachii plays a role in the elbow flexion, shoulder extension and shoulder adduction.
Position two benches about 4 feet apart and parallel to each other. Place your feet on one bench and your hands next to your hips on the other bench. Keep your feet and hands on the bench at all times. Now lower your body toward the ground while bending your elbows. Do not go past a 90-degree bend in your elbows and do not let your elbows flare out to the sides. Push your body weight back up with your hands and straighten out your elbows. Do this exercise eight to 12 reps, for three sets.
The tricep dip machine is the easiest of the three variations because a machine will ensure you have proper form throughout the movement. These machines also have an adjustable seat with back support to ensure good posture. Sit up straight in the chair and make sure your feet are flat on the floor with your knees bent. Grab the machine handles located on either side of you. Push the weight down until your arm is almost straight, but do not lock your elbow joint. Pick a weight that you can do comfortably for three sets of 10 reps.
Bar dips are the toughest of these three variations because you have to use more of your body weight to perform the exercise. With a firm grip, place each hand on the triceps bars to the side of you. Shift your weight from your legs in a standing position to your arms with your feet now off the ground. Lower your body slowly until your elbows are bent almost 90 degrees. After a slight pause, push back up until your arms are almost fully extended without locking your elbow joints. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Never lock your elbow joints in any of these triceps dips exercises. Locking your elbow joint could lead to possible injuries like ligament damage due to the amount of weight put on the joint. Warm up before training your triceps and be sure to work out on non-consecutive days.