Target Your Triceps with This Key Move for Powerful Arms (Peloton)

Posted: Feb 12, 2024 in In the News

This article originally appeared in Peloton on February 12, 2024.


Target Your Triceps with This Key Move for Powerful Arms

By Lauren Mazzo

Did you know your triceps, the muscle on the back of your upper arm, is basically three muscles in one? Like the words “tricycle” or “trilogy,” “tri” implies “three,” explains Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin. Your triceps are made up of three sections (or “heads”) of muscle that start in different places on your upper arm and shoulder and merge to connect to your elbow. (That’s why they’re technically referred to in the plural as “triceps” and never “tricep.”)

“The primary function of the triceps is the extension of the arm at the elbow joint,” Tunde says. Any exercise that involves straightening your arm at the elbow will use your triceps to some degree. Plenty of moves put the spotlight on this muscle (think: skull crushers, overhead extensions), but none is quite as adaptable—or demanding—as the triceps dip. 

What Are Triceps Dips and Why Should You Add Them to Your Routine?

Triceps dips are a classic bodyweight exercise and can be done in various ways, including on the floor and using a dip station in a gym. The most common version of the triceps dip involves placing your hands on an elevated surface like a bench, chair, or step. (For this reason, they’re sometimes called bench dips.) You’ll sit on a bench with your feet on the floor and your hands on the edge of the bench and suspend your hips to put most of your weight in your hands. Then, you’ll raise and lower your body by bending and straightening your arms at the elbow.

The triceps might seem like a vanity muscle — they’re pretty small, after all, and showcased whenever you wear sleeveless tops—but they’re an essential muscle for moving well through your everyday life. You're using your triceps whenever you push something away from you or use your arms to press yourself up from lying down or sitting. Your triceps also support your upper body while cycling, help you throw a ball, and contribute to compound strength exercises like bench presses and push-ups. Strengthening your triceps can help make these other activities and strength moves feel easier, according to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

And dips are one of the best triceps moves you can do. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that dips are more effective at targeting the triceps than overhead triceps extensions, rope push-downs, lying barbell triceps extensions, bar pushdowns, and closed-grip bench presses. Triangle push-ups and kickbacks were the only moves found to elicit similar or greater triceps activation.

That said, despite what the name implies, triceps dips don’t only work your triceps. “Triceps dips are a bodyweight exercise that helps to build strength in your arms, shoulders, and chest,” Tunde says. “It calls on stabilizing muscles, which aid in supporting the upper body, which makes this a great exercise to perform not only for aesthetics but also functional purposes.”


Read the full article here.

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