Are you struggling to get bigger triceps with seated dips but don’t see any muscle growth?

There’s a simple trick that will make a big difference in hypertrophy.

For seated dips, people usually push right back up only milliseconds after lowering into the dip position.

Instead, hold the dip position for a 2-count: “One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand.” If your counting is fast, go for a 3-count.

Adjust your body position so that 8-12 repetitions takes you to muscle failure.

Don’t go through the motions. Figure out how you must position your body in order to reach failure.

Here is how an 8-12 rep max with dips feels like: The first rep is challenging.

Right off the bat you can tell that it won’t be long before you can no longer push yourself up.

As you continue, you are forced to pay very close attention to breathing and are not able to bounce through the set.

You begin feeling that after you lower, you won’t be able to push back up. You feel like grunting on your last two or three reps. You barely squeeze out that last rep.

How do you adjust body position, then? The easiest way for a beginner is to place the hands on a platform such as a weightlifting bench or sturdy chair. Feet are placed on floor, legs slightly bent or straight.

To achieve hypertrophy in the triceps, you must become strong enough to perform seated dips with your feet elevated (on another bench, box or chair) and legs straight or nearly straight.

That’s because muscles don’t grow big with light resistance — and dips with your feet on the floor is insufficient resistance to spark noticeable muscle growth.

Only when you’re strong enough to place weights on your lap will you begin noticing bigger, more sculpted triceps.

However, bodyweight-only dips will still help tone your triceps.

And remember, at the bottom of the movement, HOLD IT THERE for two seconds. This will really help firm things up and expedite the ability to eventually add weights to your lap.


Keep spine as vertical as possible throughout the movement. Shutterstock/RomarioIen

If you can achieve an 8-12 rep max with your feet on the floor, it’s time to elevate the feet.

Do four sets of 8-12 rep maxes.

Make sure that this routine comes after any kind of chest pressing, and not before, since chest pressing recruits the triceps.

Follow these guidelines for perfect dipping and watch your triceps grow!

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



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