The Right Way

This Classic Move Fires Up the Biggest Muscle In Your Arms—But You’re Probably Doing It Wrong

Allie Flinn

When you think about working your triceps, the first thing that probably pops to mind (well, after blerg, obviously) is the classic tricep dip. This exercise fires up not only your triceps, but also your shoulders, core, and other arm muscles. However, it's important to make sure you're performing the move correctly in order to prevent injury and, you know, make sure you're not wasting time. On this episode of Well+Good's YouTube series The Right Way, professional dancer and trainer Sydney Lotuaco shows us how to do tricep dips so that you'll be able to reap the exercise's maximum benefits without hurting yourself in the process.

Though the equipment-free move may look simple, it also happens to be pretty easy to mess up. "It's a great exercise to really target the back of the arms, but I tend to see a lot of people do it the wrong way," Lotuaco says. There are three common mistakes she sees people make when doing tricep dips—all of which are keeping them from doing the move properly. First up, people tend to hinge forward in their hips, which puts undue pressure on their knees (and can potentially result in pain and discomfort). Next, they face their fingertips away from their body, which prevents them from actually engaging their triceps—aka the whole point of the exercise to begin with. Finally, they lift their shoulders and get into their neck, which Lotauco says "is really not great for your posture."

Press play on the video above to find out how to avoid these common missteps so your tricep dips will always be in flawless form. And, as always, don't forget to stretch when you're done.

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