One of the most satisfying area of the upper body to tone is the triceps.  The triceps are the scourge of the upper arm – the one area that needs the most toning.  A great ways to tighten them up  is by doing triceps dips.  Triceps dips can be done on a bench, parallel bars or on a triceps machine.  All will do the job but there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

The Machine

If you are a gym member, you have the advantage of working your triceps on a machine.  One of the maximum gains to this is form.  Your form is the most important thing when doing triceps dips.   You can really get hurt if your form is incorrect.  The triceps machine keeps the range of motion to a minimum.  This keeps your posture and technique in check.  Since the focus is on correct posture and form, it is the perfect way for a beginner to start.  Another advantage is the ability to adjust the weight.  You may not be strong enough to lift your own full body weight.  The machine is adjustable to allow you to start at a lower weight.  You place your hand so that the weight and pressure will be on the heel of the hand.  Wrap your fingers around the bar handle.  Be sure to stay straight back and make a 90 degree angle with your arm.  Push down slowly.  Bring the bar back up slowly.  If you are a beginner, it is suggested you have someone who is seasoned, such as a trainer, show you the correct form and spot you during your first workout.  They can check your form and be sure you aren’t doing anything that might cause injuries.

The Bars

Parallel bars are not for the beginner.  They are the top rung of triceps dips.  You will be lifting your body weight completely.  When using a parallel bar, you will need to remember the heel of your hand should rest on the top of the bar, fingers curled around the bar.  Use a stool or step to raise yourself up so that your arms are straight to start. (It is also good to have a step in case you get in a position where you need to help yourself up or out of an uncomfortable dip).  Hold your legs up, bent at the knees behind you.  Lean forward for balance and begin to lower.  It should be a very controlled dip and only to the point that where you feel a good stretch across the chest.  It should not be a deep stretch that is painful.  You do not dip all the way down.  Control the dip to the stretching point and then slowly bring yourself up to start position.  If this is too easy, you can add a dipping belt or a weighted vest.  Either will help add resistance.

The Bench

Bench dips is arguably the best option when you are not able to go to the gym or the machine and parallel bars are not available.  A bench or chair will do nicely.  The form is a bit different but still works the triceps well.  Sit on the chair or bench, heel of the hand on chair or bench seat, on either side of the hips.  Lower yourself down, while keeping your back straight – as if sliding down a wall.  These are a good beginner triceps tips, but the form is harder to control.  Use a mirror or someone else to check your form.

Ultimately the goal is to work the triceps and any of these will do just fine.  The most important things to remember are: correct form and a controlled movement.