Band-assisted triceps dips


Band-assisted triceps dips

Bodyweight triceps dips are one of the most effective triceps developers that exist. If you’re looking to hit all three heads of this muscle, this is one exercise that you don’t want to pass up. The muscle activation benefits of moving your body through space make this an extremely valuable exercise. But what if you can’t do full reps on your own? For most beginners it is too challenging to perform bodyweight triceps dips on parallel bars using the full range of motion. Yes, band-assisted triceps dips are one of the possible solutions.

That leaves you with a few options: the Gravitron machine that assists you, doing the exercise standing on a box, performing negative-only reps (which is an excellent way to build strength), or doing assisted dips using resistance bands. Therefore band-assisted triceps dips are appropriate for beginners, as well as for advanced athletes who want to do a lot of reps.

Very soon you’ll become very strong and able to perform many reps with your own bodyweight, without resistance band. Even in that case you will benefit from using resistance bands. Using bands can also be the key to adding resistance precisely targeted to the strength curve of the exercise. You can also make the exercise MUCH harder using bands.

Exercise instructions for band-assisted triceps dips

For the band assisted dip exercise, you’ll need a dip station and bands. Simple enough! The setup is simple. Here are detailed step-by-step instructions on how to perform band-assisted triceps dips safely and effectively to get the most out of this great triceps exercise.


  • Loop the ends of the bands onto the handles of the dip station. This gives you a double-band to stand on when doing the exercise.
  • Set your hands on the handles, then set your feet on the bands, stepping down on them. You are also free to put your knees against the band instead of your feet (see second image). Lower yourself down into the bottom of the dip. As you lower down, the bands will stretch and take up some of your body weight.
Band assisted dips with extended knees

Band assisted dips with extended knees

Band-assisted triceps dips

Band-assisted triceps dips (knees bent)


  • Now, as you push up, the bands go slacker and force you to take up more of your body weight
    during the exercise. This matches the strength curve of the exercise very well, giving you the benefits of the dip while allowing those who aren’t strong enough to perform it on their own to actually do full reps on their own.
  • Bend at the elbows and shoulders to lower the body in a controlled and smooth fashion until the upper arm in horizontal (parallel to the floor).
  • Stop lowering your­self when the backs of your arms are parallel to the floor.
  • At the bottom of the dip, let your triceps stretch for just a moment, then exhale as you contract hard and allow the triceps to push you back up. Exhale as you push yourself back up. Contract the triceps as hard as possible at the top, but try not to lock your elbows.
  • Slowly lower yourself again for the next repetition by bending at the elbows and shoulders to lower the body in a controlled and smooth fashion until the upper arm in horizontal (parallel to the floor).

Band-assisted triceps dips video demonstration

This video will show you exactly how to perform this exercise safely and effectively.

Additional tips & key points

There are tips that will help you get even more out of this already amazing triceps exercise.

  • Keep your arms pinned close to your body (and your torso upright) throughout the exercise to keep the stimulation in the triceps. To work the chest, hunch forward a little and flare your elbows out wide (this is not your goal if your main focus is to develop triceps).
  • Keep your head up at all times to prevent you from leaning forward. Note that leaning forward makes this more of a chest exercise than a triceps exercise. To help you maintain an upright posi­tion, look up throughout the exercise.
  • In the lowered position, you may quickly touch your flat feet to the ground, but keep the weight on those triceps muscles; don’t go too deep and do not rest.

Muscles worked

If you want shapely arms with defined triceps, dips are a great way to get there! Dips also work your chest, shoulders, and biceps to get your entire upper body toned. More specifically:

  • Main muscles: triceps, pectoralis major (lower), front deltoid
  • Secondary muscles: pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, subscapularis, anconeus
  • Antagonists: latissimus dorsi, biceps, rear deltoid

Exercise Variations / Substitutes

To decrease difficulty, use thicker resistance band. To increase difficulty, use thinner band or place bent knees onto band.

Closing thoughts: resistance band assisted triceps dips

The parallel bar dip is one of the most effective tricep-building (or chest-building) exercises you can do. However, band-assisted triceps dips also have they place under the Sun. This dip variation makes the movement easier at the bottom, with minimal assistance at the top. But it still elicits a ton of chest and triceps activation at the bottom of the movement, so it’s a win for those who can’t safely perform body weight dips.

Therefore, use the band-assisted triceps dips to strengthen the muscles necessary (triceps, chest, and shoulders) to be able to perform the proper triceps dip. Keep reducing the amount of assistance provided by the resistance band. You can easily accomplish this by replacing thicker resistance band with the thinner (weaker) one.  After some time, finally progress to triceps dips without assistance. Your main goal should always be transition to full body weight dips. Good luck!

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