There are Much Better Ways to Train your Triceps
Training the triceps is fundamentally about straightening the arm by contracting the tricep muscles and extending the forearm out or down. No matter what method is being used to train the triceps, this way to build muscle in them is to extend the forearm and straighten the arm through a contraction.
When you keep this in mind and then analyze the dip, you see that the tricep isn’t placed in an optimal position to contract before the arm is extended. And since the chest assumes so much of the burden involved in stabilizing the body and pressing the weight, the benefit to the tricep comes primarily from flexing the tricep muscles at the top of the movement while it is holding up the bulk of the body’s weight.
The other problem with dips is that they make it impossible to mentally focus on the work being done by the triceps, because the triceps aren’t the primary driver of the movement, and you can’t really think about them until the movement is 75% complete. In practice, most people are so focused on simply manipulating their body positioning while they’re doing dips that they aren’t thinking at all about what the targeted muscles are doing.
If you want to train your triceps in a safe manner that allows you to give them your full attention, and in a fashion that allows you to maximize the focus on the triceps by contracting the muscles and keeping them squeezed throughout the movement, almost any form of tricep extension is more effective and efficient than dips. This includes cable tricep extensions, seated tricep extensions with the machine, tricep kickbacks, and any other tricep movement that enables the shoulder joint to remain in its socket while the triceps are being trained.
The key takeaway here is that dips are extremely bad for your shoulder joint. You may really love dips, you may have done them for a long time, and you may feel that you have extremely strong triceps because of them. You might even be able to do dips with the weight belt that hangs down and allows you to add a lot of extra weight, which is an impressive way to show off your strength to anyone who might be watching.
I understand these things are hard to give up if you love them. In the long run, they’re just not good for you, and there are better ways to get the results you want in both your chest and triceps. For more great fitness tips, feel free to check out the rest of the blog at RonWilliamsFitness.com, and also the Ron Williams channel on YouTube!