- 10 Exercises You Can Do on a Park Bench or Picnic Table
- 1. Step Ups
- 2. Sit to Stand
- 3. Box Jumps
- 4. Single Leg Plyometrics
- 5. Single Leg Lunge
- 6. Plyometric Push-Ups
- 7. Dips
- 8. Bridge
- 9. V-Sit Bicycles
- 10. Hanging Leg Reverse Curl
- Final Word
- How to Do Bench Dips to Pack on Triceps Muscle in Your Workout
- Know Your Body
- Knuckles Out
- Scaps Squeezed and Tight
- Personal Depth
- Find Other Tools
- Tone Up Your Triceps with These Three Exercises
- Challenge Your Triceps With Dips
- How to Do Bench Dips — And Why You Should
- You’re not going low enough
- You’re flaring your elbows
- You’re going too low
- You’re moving too quickly
- Cross bench dip
- Reverse chair dip
- Assisted dip machine
- Bench press
- How To Do Triceps Dips
- Triceps Dips Form Tips
- Triceps Dips Variations
- 1. Bench dip with knees bent
- 2. Bench dip with legs straight
- 3. Bench dip with legs raised
- 4. Parallel bars dip
- 5. Parallel bars dip with weights
- 7 Total Body Bench Moves Where Bodyweight Is Totally Enough
- 7 Bodyweight Only Bench Exercises
- Bench Step Up
- Elevated Split Squat
- Bench Hop Over
- Elevated Side Plank Hip Dip
- Incline Push-Up
- Tricep Bench Dip
- Incline Mountain Climbers
10 Exercises You Can Do on a Park Bench or Picnic Table
Is driving to the gym too much of a hassle? Do you hate braving the locker room, and spending upwards of $100 every month in membership dues?
Don’t sweat it. Instead, take your family to the park and work up a sweat. Using nothing but a park bench or a picnic table, you can do a full-body workout featuring cardio and strength-training moves.
Jump start your routine by jogging around the park to warm up, then get to work performing the following 10 moves as a circuit routine.
Just be certain that the surface and the soles of your shoes are completely dry.
1. Step Ups
Get your heart pumping and your legs warm by performing a step up.
- Stand directly behind the bench with your hands on your hips.
- Plant your right foot firmly on the bench.
- Press up and extend your right knee so you’re standing on your right foot, drawing your left leg up next to the right one.
- Reverse the movement and return your left foot to the ground, followed by your right foot.
- Continue on the right side for a minute before switching to the left side.
2. Sit to Stand
Strengthen your lower body and perfect your squat motion by performing a sit-to-stand exercise.
- Start by sitting on the edge of a park bench, your feet planted on the ground about hip-distance apart. Your torso should be straight, but slightly forward-leaning, your arms slightly extended in front of your chest with your elbows bent.
- Press through your heels and extend your knees and hips and push yourself to standing, swinging your arms backward.
- Reverse the movement and carefully lower yourself back to a seated position, swinging your arms forward as you sit. Tap your butt against the bench before you press yourself back to standing again.
- Continue for a minute.
3. Box Jumps
Improve lower body power and strength by performing a box jump. If you aren’t sure you can jump up onto the seat of a park bench, work on form by jumping up onto a curb instead.
- Stand behind a park bench, leaving about 8 to 10 inches between your toes and the bench seat. Bend your knees slightly and tip your hips backward as you lean your torso forward, and swing your arms behind you.
- Explode up off the ground as you extend your ankles, knees, and hips, swinging your arms forward as you jump up onto the bench. Aim to plant both feet firmly on the bench.
- Once on the bench, stand up completely and step backward, one foot at a time, down off the bench. Do not jump down off the bench.
- Continue the exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on how you’re feeling.
4. Single Leg Plyometrics
Work on unilateral leg power and strength by performing the single-leg plyometric jump.
- Plant your left foot on the bench, your knee bent at a 90-degree angle, your right foot extended behind you, balanced on its toes. Bend your right elbow, bringing your hand toward your chest, and extend your left arm behind you, as if you were running.
- From this position, explode up off your left foot, bringing your right knee up toward your chest as you swing your right arm backward and your left arm forward.
- Land your left foot back on the bench, your knee slightly bent, as you reach your right foot back behind you, returning to the starting position. Immediately explode back up into the air, continuing the explosive hops on one leg for 20 to 30 seconds before you switch sides.
5. Single Leg Lunge
Work your quads unilaterally as you strengthen your lower body with single-leg lunges.
- Stand directly in front of a bench, your back to the seat. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, your hands on your hips.
- Reach one leg behind you, placing the top of your foot onto the bench’s seat. Your torso should remain upright, with a slight forward lean, both knees slightly bent.
- Bend both knees, lowering your torso toward the ground. When your back knee is almost to the ground and your front knee forms a 90-degree angle, reverse the movement and press yourself back to standing.
- Continue for 30 seconds before switching sides.
6. Plyometric Push-Ups
Increase your upper body strength and power by performing plyometric pushups on a park bench.
- Place your hands on a park bench or picnic table, just under your shoulders. Your arms should be fully extended.
- Step your legs behind you until you’re balanced on your toes and hands, your body forming a straight line.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the bench or table. From this position, press powerfully through your palms, exploding backward as you extend your elbows, pushing yourself away from the platform.
- Land back on the platform with your elbows slightly bent, lowering your chest back toward the bench or table.
- Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.
Strengthen your triceps with this simple bench dip exercise.
- Sit on the edge of a bench, your hands gripping the bench directly outside your hips. Place your feet on the ground in front of you, your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Shift your weight forward, sliding your butt off the bench so that you’re supported only by your hands and your feet, your arms fully extended.
- Bend your elbows backward, and lower your butt toward the ground.
- When your elbows form a 90-degree angle, reverse the movement and return to start, stopping just shy of locking out your elbows.
- Continue the exercise for 30 to 60 seconds.
Target your butt, hamstrings, and core with the bench bridge.
- Lie on the ground behind a bench so that your butt is approximately one foot away from the bench.
- Place your feet on top of the bench, your knees bent. Engage your core and lift your butt off the ground one to two inches.
- From this position, press your hips up into the air, extending your body to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
- Reverse the movement and lower your butt back toward the ground, stopping just shy of touching down.
- Continue for 60 seconds.
9. V-Sit Bicycles
Use the edge of a bench or picnic table to perform core-strengthening exercises V-sit bicycles.
- Sit horizontally across a bench or picnic table so that your butt is about six inches from the edge of the platform. Place your palms on the bench behind your hips, your fingers pointing forward. Bend your elbows and lean back, so your torso is at an angle. Extend one leg completely, lifting it from the bench, and draw the other leg up toward your chest, the knee bent.
- Engage your abs and “pedal” your legs, bending the extended leg and extending the bent leg, alternating their positions continuously for 60 seconds.
10. Hanging Leg Reverse Curl
Work your abs at the park by working against gravity to perform the hanging leg reverse curl.
- Sit close to the edge of a picnic table or park bench, your body positioned horizontally along the platform, your legs hanging off the end. Reach your palms behind you and either grip the edges of the bench, or place your palms flat against the platform, your fingers facing forward. Bend your elbows slightly and lean your torso back.
- Engage your abs and lift your thighs slightly off the platform. From this position, your knees and ankles should be together, both bent at 90-degree angles.
- Keeping your legs together and your torso fixed in place, pull your knees all the way to your chest. Reverse the movement and slowly lower your legs back down, stopping just shy of your thighs touching the platform.
- Continue for 60 seconds.
Complete the circuit with little rest between exercises, then rest for two minutes and repeat one to two more times. While park workouts sound child’s play, this routine will have you sweaty and sore in no time.
Have you tried a park workout? What additional exercises can you suggest?
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How to Do Bench Dips to Pack on Triceps Muscle in Your Workout
The bench dip is a valuable addition to your training routine that can help to pump up your triceps, but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly?
For this movement, you shouldn't settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it's such a killer exercise that can serve as a highlight of your training plan.
Let Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
and associate fitness editor Brett Williams guide you through the move's subtleties, saving you from the bad habits that are keeping you from unlocking your fitness potential.
Before you hit the bench and start pumping yourself up and down, take note that it's extremely important to pay attention the movement here.
Hitting the proper form is essential to make sure you're getting the most the exercise—particularly because of the subtle details with the right hand placement and shoulder position that make it really effective. Let's break down everything you need to know.
Know Your Body
Eb says: The dip is a solid move to pack on triceps muscle, but it also places the shoulders in a compromising position, inviting a ton of internal rotation at the shoulder joint. This closes down joint space in the front of your shoulder, easily pinching the many tendons and ligaments that travel through that area.
That doesn't mean you can't do dips, but before you attempt them, check out your body and your mechanics.
Reach your straight arm behind your torso as far as you can and see how high you can get your elbow.
If you can't get it level with your shoulder (and it's completely okay to not be able to do that), you should be extra-conscious of not lowering your torso too far when you do dips.
Eb says: Because the dip invites so much internal rotation, we want to set ourselves up in a position that forces as much shoulder external rotation as possible. That's why you shouldn't get in the bench setup that most people use, with knuckles pointed forward.
Instead, point your knuckles outwards. This mirrors how you'd set up your hands on dip bars, and creates a more shoulder-safe position.
Scaps Squeezed and Tight
Eb says: Before you do a rep, squeeze your shoulder blades together, then push your torso up high. Again, we're working to avoid as much shoulder pinching as possible, so pulling your shoulder blades back will help drive your shoulders open and also open your chest in the process.
You'll want to maintain this scapular tension as you lower into the dip, fighting for it as you're pressing down. The moment you can't hold that scapular tension is the moment you stop lowering your torso.
Eb says: The main triceps function we train with the dip is the straightening of the arm (extension of the elbow), and that occurs when you straighten the arm, not when you bend super-deep.
So lowering your torso deeper on the dip doesn't work your triceps “more”; it just creates a potential mechanism for injury. Because of that, don't over-lower.
Stop lowering the moment you can't keep your shoulder blades tight or the moment you feel shoulder pain, then drive back up, straightening your arms aggressively.
Shoulder mobility is highly personal so your depth on the dip will be personal as well. Don't chase an arbitrary standard. The only thing you don't want to do: Never net your shoulders get lower than your elbows, because then you're putting your shoulders at serious injury risk.
Find Other Tools
Eb says: The dip is a tried-and-true triceps exercise, but it's not for everyone, and there are plenty of other ways to stimulate major triceps growth. If you have shoulder issues, this is a move that you may want to sit out, period, even if a group fitness trainer wants you to do it, or if it's in a workout plan you've decided to try.
Don't be afraid to sub it out. Exercises close-grip pushups, skullcrushers, and triceps pressdowns all offer chances for you to grow your triceps with less shoulder risk, so don't obsess over the dip.
Want to master even more moves? Check out our entire Form Check series.
Tone Up Your Triceps with These Three Exercises
It’s no secret that many women would love to firm up and add more definition to their upper body, specifically their upper arms. The triceps muscle takes up the most space in the upper arm and, as such, is often an area of focus for women who want toned, shapely arms.
Although both women and men share the same anatomy, women, more so than men, tend to preferentially store body fat in the upper arms. In addition, men typically have more muscle mass compared to women.
These factors potentially account for the frustration experienced by some women who have been unsatisfied with the appearance of their arms after engaging in a workout program.
Frustration aside, there are a variety of exercises that target the triceps muscle and can provide a sufficient stimulus to effectively tone and shape the arms. The following upper-body workout focuses on the triceps, making it an excellent option for improving the appearance of the arms.
Incorporate it twice a week, along with a comprehensive fitness plan and balanced diet, and you will notice improved shape, tone and strength in the upper arms. Perform each of these moves for two to three sets at a resistance that becomes challenging between eight and 12 repetitions.
The triceps is a three-part muscle responsible for straightening the elbow and, to a lesser extent, bringing the arm behind the body into shoulder extension. To work it effectively, movements that require a combination of these actions are necessary.
1. Narrow Push-up
Position yourself on your hands and knees, placing the hands directly beneath the shoulders and keeping the elbows tucked in close to the ribs. While keeping the abdominals engaged and the spine and neck in alignment, lower your chest toward the floor.
Although it is an acceptable goal, it is not necessary touch the chest to the floor. The point to which to lower your chest depends on your shoulder and wrist range of motion. Only go as low as you can without pain or discomfort in the shoulders and/or wrists.
To progress the challenge, try performing this exercise on the hands and toes once you have mastered the hands-and-knees version.
Consider this: An ACE-sponsored study found that the “triangle push-up” elicited the most muscle involvement eight different triceps exercises the researchers tested.
The triangle push-up is an advanced variation of the narrow push-up, wherein the hands are placed together such that the thumbs and index fingers form a triangle shape on the floor.
Consider trying this technique once you’ve mastered the first two variations above.
2. Bench Dip
Sit on a weight bench or a sturdy chair and place your hands on either side of the hips so that the palms are resting on the bench and your fingers are hanging over the edge.
Keep your feet together and your knees bent while you carefully move your buttocks off the bench—at this point, you will be supporting most of your body weight with your arms. Lower the hips toward the floor by bending the elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Push back up using your arms rather than your legs, and repeat. To progress the challenge, perform the dip with the legs fully extended with no bend in the knees.
Consider this: The dip exercise requires a high level of shoulder stabilization and range of motion to perform correctly. To prevent the shoulder from rounding forward during the descent, keep the shoulder blades set slightly back and down in a stable position while performing the dip.
Also, depending on your mobility, you might excessively arch the back into hyperextension or round the back into forward flexion in order to allow the shoulders to get into extension for the dip. These spine deviations should be avoided as they could promote injury.
Continually work to keep the ribs in line with hips and the spine in a neutral position.
3. Lying Overhead Extension
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, arms extended upward and a dumbbell in each hand. Carefully lower the weights toward your ears by bending the elbows and keeping the shoulders stationary. Return the weight to the starting position, and repeat. To progress the challenge, increase the weight.
Also, experiment with only bending one arm while the other arm remains straight in the starting position. Alternating in this manner requires extra work from the abdominal core muscles to stabilize the asymmetrical movement of the upper body, and for the triceps of the straight arm as it holds the elbow in extension.
Consider this: The medial and lateral portions of the triceps attach to the long arm bone (i.e., humerus), whereas the third portion (the long head) originates on the shoulder blade (i.e., scapula).
In shoulder extension, such as when you’re performing a narrow push-up or dip, the long head is in a shortened position and cannot contribute as much as the other heads in force production.
Therefore, if you want to target all aspects of the triceps muscle, adding overhead triceps exercises such as the lying overhead extension, which place the long head in a more mechanically advantageous position, will be most effective.
Challenge Your Triceps With Dips
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
Equipment Needed: Chair or bench
The triceps dip exercise is a great bodyweight exercise that builds arm and shoulder strength. This simple exercise can be done almost anywhere and has many variations to match your fitness level. Use it as part of an upper body strength workout.
The triceps dip is one of the most effective exercises for activating the triceps muscles in your upper arm. Additionally, you must activate your core as you hold your hips off the ground.
The triceps are used for pushing, and you will engage them in any daily activities that require pushing. As well, you want to keep your body in balance.
If you participate in sports that use a lot of pulling action, you want to maintain strength in your triceps as well.
Find a stable chair, bench, or step.
- Sit on the edge of the chair and grip the edge next to your hips. Your fingers should be pointed at your feet. Your legs are extended and your feet should be about hip-width apart with the heels touching the ground. Look straight ahead with your chin up.
- Press into your palms to lift your body and slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the chair.
- Lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees.
- Slowly push yourself back up to the start position and repeat. Control the movement throughout the range of motion.
- Begin with 10 repetitions and work up to 25 repetitions over several weeks.
Avoid these errors so you get the most from this exercise and avoid injury.
Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears. You need to maintain a long line of your neck throughout the movement.
Pay attention to the strain on your shoulders. Don't go any lower if you begin to feel a heavy strain. Otherwise, you risk a possible shoulder injury.
Don't lock your elbows at the top of the movement. Keeping them slightly soft maintains tension on the triceps.
If you lean forward, you will be exercising your chest rather than your triceps. Maintain a straight line without any forward lean.
You can vary the triceps dip in several ways to make it more or less difficult.
If you can't do 10 repetitions of the exercise, you can modify the chair dip to decrease the intensity. You can do the dips with bent knees for the easiest variation.
Limit how far you lower your hips to decrease the amount of effort used during the exercise. As you get stronger, increase the range of motion and number of repetitions. Over time, as you build strength, you will be able to do the full chair dip. For a complete upper body workout, add the basic push up.
You can increase the intensity by using two chairs or two sturdy benches. In this version, you will be lifting more of your body weight:
- Place the chairs facing each other, about 3 feet apart.
- Sit on the edge of one chair and grip the edge of the chair with your hands.
- Place your heels on the edge of the other chair and hold yourself up using your triceps.
- Slide forward just far enough that your behind clears the edge of the chair, then lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees.
- Slowly push yourself back up to the start position and repeat. Control the movement throughout the range of motion.
- Begin with 10 repetitions and work up to 25 repetitions over several weeks.
You can also make this exercise more difficult by crossing one ankle over the opposite knee while dipping.
The intense version of the dip is done using parallel bars or a set of rings. In this version, you will be lifting the entire weight of your body with no support other than your arms.
- Use an overhand grip to hold onto the rails or rings with straight arms. Contract your core and take your full body weight onto your arms, bending your knees so your feet are off the ground.
- Bend your elbows and lower your body slowly.
Begin by lowering for two seconds or as low as you can go without great discomfort in your shoulders.
- Pause in the low position for a second or two.
- Press back up to the upright position.
- Repeat 10 to 12 times.
- End by straightening your legs to stand up.
For the most intense version of the triceps dip, perform it on parallel bars with a weight attached to a weight belt.
The exercise can stress the elbows and shoulders, so if you have any joint pain, you may want to use the pushup exercise to build strength in the triceps and shoulder. If you have shoulder problems, you may want to avoid this exercise.
Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:
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How to Do Bench Dips — And Why You Should
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Want stronger arms? Bench dips may be your answer.
Although this bodyweight exercise mainly targets the triceps, it also hits your chest and anterior deltoid, or the front part of your shoulder.
It only requires an elevated surface — a bench, step, or stair — and is applicable to all fitness levels.
Bench dips can strengthen muscles in your triceps, chest, and shoulders.
They’re also simple to scale. Whether you want to ease some pressure or take on more of a challenge, bench dips are a versatile move to add to your routine.
Another bonus? You won’t need any additional equipment — just an elevated surface.
When performing a bench dip, you’ll use just that — a bench — to dip off of with your feet on the floor.
In a regular dip, you’ll hoist your full body weight onto two parallel bars to complete the move.
A regular dip is a progression of a bench dip, as it requires much more strength to complete.
Follow these steps to perform a bench dip with proper form:
- Sit down on a bench, hands next to your thighs. (You can also perform a bench dip off a stair or other elevated surface; the same steps apply.)
- Walk your feet out and extend your legs, lifting your bottom off the bench and holding there with extended arms.
- Hinging at the elbow, lower your body down as far as you can go, or until your arms form a 90-degree angle.
- Push up through your palms back to start.
Shoot for 3 sets of 10–12 reps here. If this is too challenging, try bending your knees and walking your feet closer to your body to perform the dip.
Add bench dips to an upper body workout to target your chest and triceps. Continue to inch your feet out week after week, progressing to more advanced variations to challenge yourself.
Important to note: If you have a preexisting shoulder injury, dips may not be the best option.
When performed incorrectly, this exercise can cause a shoulder impingement, or an injury to the muscles between bones in the shoulder area.
The bench dip is simple from an equipment angle, but there are some nuances to its form. Watch out for these common mistakes.
You’re not going low enough
Completing partial reps instead of a full rep won’t fully engage the triceps, negating some of the benefits of the exercise.
Make sure you lower down until your upper arm is parallel to the ground and your elbow forms a 90-degree angle.
You’re flaring your elbows
When you let your elbows flare out, you move the tension from your triceps to your shoulders, which can cause injury.
Ensure that your elbows stay tucked into your body throughout the dip.
You’re going too low
If you drop too low into the dip, you’ll put too much pressure on your shoulder.
Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor and rise back up.
You’re moving too quickly
If you rely on momentum to complete each rep, you miss out on some of the move’s many benefits. Move slowly and with control for maximum results.
When bodyweight bench dips become easy, you can try upping the ante.
First, try a cross bench dip, detailed below.
Once this becomes easy, try adding weight. Starting with your feet on the floor again, position a dumbbell or weighted plate in your lap for added resistance.
There are several variations of a bench dip you can try with different equipment or positioning.
Cross bench dip
Position two benches — or even chairs — across from each other. Place your hands on one and your feet on the other, completing a dip.
Reverse chair dip
Instead of using a bench for a dip, use a chair. Position yourself away from the chair and complete the movement.
Try these alternatives to hit the same muscles in a different way.
Assisted dip machine
Many gyms will have an assisted dip machine, which can help you build strength in a dip.
Load the appropriate weight, put your knees on the pads and your hands on the bars, then complete a regular dip.
OK, so this move isn’t technically a dip. But a bench press targets the chest and triceps, too.
You can even grip the bar in a way that will put more emphasis on your triceps. Use a closer grip to do so.
Bench dips are an effective tool to gain strength in your triceps.
Incorporate them into your routine at least once a week — in combination with other complementary exercises, pushups, rows, and bicep curls — to whip your upper body into shape in no time.
Nicole Davis is a writer based in Madison, Wisconsin, a personal trainer, and a group fitness instructor whose goal is to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. When she’s not working out with her husband or chasing around her young daughter, she’s watching crime TV shows or making sourdough bread from scratch. Find her on Instagram for fitness tidbits, #momlife, and more.
How To Do Triceps Dips
Generally, health and fitness is about taking the holistic approach of staying active and eating well in order to live a long and happy life. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s just about one thing: building massive, sleeve-splitting upper arms. And for that, you need the triceps dip in your life.
That’s because while people tend to focus on their biceps, the triceps are actually a bigger muscle group than their glamorous, front-of-arm counterparts. So if you’re chasing size, neglecting the back of your arms is pure folly.
The triceps are made up of three heads, hence their name, and if you want to increase the strength and size of your upper arms you need to work all three. Fortunately, you can do just that with one exercise – the triceps dip.
Read on for everything you need to know about this fundamental bodyweight exercise, including a range of variations you can use to increase the difficulty involved once you’ve mastered the standard dip.
Wherever and however you dip, the key is arm position. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart on the surface you are dipping from, with your arms straight. Squeeze your core and glutes then raise your chin and chest to keep your body tight. From there, start the move by bending your elbows. Dip down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
Pause at the bottom for a one or two count, then press back up powerfully, ensuring you keep your core and glutes tight to prevent your legs swinging. Don’t fully lock out your arms at the top; keeping a slight bend in your elbows at the top forces your triceps to work far harder.
To expose your triceps to as much time under tension as possible – a key stimulus for adding new muscle tissue – lower your body as slowly as you can. Aim for two seconds at first, building up over time to four seconds. Get as low as you can without stressing your shoulders.
Three sets of eight to ten dips, perhaps pushing the third set until you physically can dip no more, should leave your upper arms in tatters for a day or two.
At the gym you can do dips that support your whole body on parallel bars, but you can also use a bench or chair to dip anywhere with your feet on the floor. Just make sure whatever surface is involved can take your body weight, and it’s probably wise not to opt for a chair on wheels…
Triceps Dips Form Tips
“The dip is one of the best exercises for building triceps size and strength for a number of important reasons,” says Viktor Genov (pictured), a personal trainer at Fitness First Tottenham Court Road.
“First, they allow for a great range of motion, which is critical to working a muscle fully.
As a compound lift that causes shoulder extension and elbow extension, the dip also recruits more muscle fibres, and the movement pattern allows a big stretch at the bottom position as well as a big contraction at the top.”
If you can’t do a full bodyweight dip, Genov advises starting with a band-assisted variation. “This will enable you to master the movement pattern and begin to build the strength needed to do the full move,” he says. “You can also make it easier by leaning your chest forwards and bringing your knees closer to your chest.”
Parallel bars are the best option for dips. “For the ideal hand placement the bars should be no wider than the length of your forearm,” says Genov. “If your hands are any wider apart then you will shift tension away from your triceps and towards your shoulders, so you risk placing too much stress on your shoulder joints.”
As with press-ups, it’s essential your abs are fully engaged from the moment before you start the set to the moment after it’s finished. “Bracing your abs effectively is so important to getting better at bodyweight moves,” says Genov. “You can improve your ability to engage your abs by doing more planks. If you want to master bodyweight exercises, planks will become your best friend.”
“Your shoulders must work very hard in the dip because they need to be fixed in position the whole time, pushed forwards and downwards,” says Genov.
“Keep your head as far back as you can with your chin up, not pressed down towards your chest, and tense your neck muscles to keep your head still.
Lower yourself until your shoulders are level with your elbows – don’t go any lower than this because it risks straining your shoulder joint and removes tension from the triceps.”
“Keep your elbows tucked in to your torso as much as possible and don’t ever let them flare out to the sides,” Genov says. “By doing this you will place and keep more tension on the triceps and reduce the potential stress on your elbow and shoulder joints.”
“Pointing the toes straight down ensures complete tension throughout the entire body,” says Genov. “Most people always try to make a bodyweight move easier, but that makes it less effective. By making it harder and placing the maximum tension on the target muscle – in this case, the triceps – you are making these muscles work harder and that’s what gets the best results.”
- Beginner Up to 5 band-assisted reps at a 2131 tempo
- Intermediate Up to 5 reps at a 2131 tempo
- Advanced 10+ reps at a 1121 tempo
- Viktor Genov’s PB 15
Triceps Dips Variations
From beginner to expert, dips are versatile enough to include in anyone’s workout. One way to tweak the move is to lean forwards to increase the involvement of the pecs, instead of holding your torso upright which keeps the focus on the triceps.
To keep mixing things up, master each of these variations before moving on to the next.
1. Bench dip with knees bent
How Place your hands on a bench or box behind you with your feet together and flat on the floor with knees bent. Lower slowly as far as you can, then press back up powerfully.
Why This is a beginner-friendly move because the amount of your own bodyweight that you have to lift is reduced by the position of your legs.
2. Bench dip with legs straight
How Place your hands on a bench or box behind you with your feet together, legs straight and heels on the floor. Lower slowly as far as you can, then press back up powerfully.
Why While still a beginner-friendly move, this variation is slightly tougher because you have to lift and lower a higher proportion of your own bodyweight.
3. Bench dip with legs raised
How Place your hands on a bench or box behind you with your feet together on a slightly lower bench or box with knees bent. Lower slowly as far as you can, then press back up powerfully.
Why Having your feet elevated increases the amount of bodyweight you have to lift and lower, making this a more challenging variation.
4. Parallel bars dip
How Grasp parallel bars using an overhand grip and raise your body until your arms are straight. Keeping your chest up and your core engaged, lower slowly as far as you can, then press back up powerfully.
Why This is the classic triceps dip and mastering it will help you add size and strength to the backs of your upper arms. Always warm up your triceps as well as your elbow and shoulder joints before doing this move.
5. Parallel bars dip with weights
How Attach weights to a weight belt and grasp parallel bars using an overhand grip, then raise your body until your arms are straight. Keeping your chest up and your core engaged, lower slowly as far as you can then press back up powerfully.
Why Once you can comfortably manage three sets of ten parallel bars dips, sticking to a slow and controlled tempo, you may want to consider adding extra resistance to your reps in the form of a weight plate. This will challenge your muscles far more, but start out with a small plate – 2.5kg to 5kg – and build up the extra resistance slowly so your muscles and joints have time to adjust.
7 Total Body Bench Moves Where Bodyweight Is Totally Enough
Hey babe! We’ve loved sweatin’ it out with you these past few weeks, and we’re not stopping there! As the Summer Series comes to a close, now is the perfect time to set your sights on your next fitness goal. Add an extra Studio class to your weekly routine, nail perfect kettlebell form, or spend a little more time crushing weights at the gym.
Incredible results come from stepping your comfort zone, and that includes stepping up you strength game! Enter your Studio Tone It Up trainer Chyna, who knows a thing or two about getting in ahhhmazing shape with or without weights. And today, all you need is a bench and your bodyweight for this full body workout!
The bench is such an underrated piece of equipment because it allows you train functionally, vary your resistance, levels, and planes of motion, and even do a lil’ bit of obstacle training! (Those bench hop overs aren’t just a serious cardio move — they take major coordination too!)
So grab a bench at the gym — or use a ledge, a few stairs, or another super-sturdy surface — and hit a new benchmark with your fitness!
7 Bodyweight Only Bench Exercises
Do the following total body circuit 3 times through! This workout will sculpt every muscle group ~ your legs, arms, booty, core, everything! Want more routines you can do at home or the gym? Download the Tone It Up app HERE!
Bench Step Up
Sculpts your booty, legs, and core!
Begin standing behind an exercise bench, hands on your hips. Step your right foot onto the bench and drive through your right foot and booty cheek to come up to standing (rather than pushing off your left foot). If your balance is there, drive your left knee up to waist height, then lower your left foot back to the ground with control. Repeat.
Do 15 reps on each side.
Elevated Split Squat
Sculpts your legs and booty!
Standing with hands on your hips, take a big step forward with your left foot, and lift your right foot onto an exercise bench behind you. Lower into a deep lunge, bending both knees to 90 degrees, and making sure your front knee stays in line with your ankle. Raise back up to standing and repeat.
Do 15 reps on each side.
Bench Hop Over
Sculpts your total body and revs your heart rate!
Begin firmly gripping the bench in both hands with your feet to one side. With a flat back and core engaged, hop your feet over the bench, and land softly on the other side. Continue hopping back and forth, maintaining a long back and neck.
Do 15 reps on each side.
Elevated Side Plank Hip Dip
Targets your obliques and shoulders!
Start in a side plank position with your left forearm planted firmly on an exercise bench and your right hand on your hip. For extra stability you can stagger your feet, placing your right foot just in front of the left. Lower your hips a few inches toward the ground, then raise them back to start position. Repeat.
Do 15 reps on each side.
Sculpts your chest, arms, and core!
Begin in an elevated plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists, hands planted firmly on an exercise bench, and body in a straight line from head to toe.
Engage your core as you slowly lower your body to the bench with control, elbows tucked close to your body. Press back up into plank position.
Feeling strong? Progress to a traditional push-up on solid ground, and next…a decline push-up with your feet on the bench and your hands on the ground!
Do 15 reps.
Tricep Bench Dip
Sculpts your triceps!
Begin with an exercise bench behind you, gripping the edge of the bench with your hands shoulder-width apart and legs extended straight in front of you.
Lower your booty down to the floor, bending at the waist and driving your elbows straight behind you. Press back up by extending your arms straight.
To modify, bend your knees to a 90-degree angle with feet flat on the floor and then complete the move.
Do 15 reps.
Incline Mountain Climbers
Sculpts your core and shoulders and revs your heart rate!
Begin in an elevated plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, planted firmly on an exercise bench. Bring your right knee in to your chest, then return to plank position. Repeat on the left leg, keeping a flat back and booty down. Continue to alternate legs.
Do 15 reps on each side!