This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Bench dips are an ideal triceps isolating exercise, using the weight of your body against the muscle. Here you'll add a “jump” aspect for an advanced variation. The jump will help you develop explosive power on the upward movement of the exercise, and control on the downward.
Sit on a flat bench with your hands next to your hips, palms down, fingers curling over the front of the bench in a light grip. Your elbows should be bent back and close to your body. For the feet-up version of this exercise (which is more difficult), put your feet on another flat bench in front of you, near enough that your knees will remain bent throughout the exercise. For a most difficult version, you may add a dumbbell held between your upper thighs (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, slide your hips forward until they are just in front of the bench. Lower your hips in a dipping motion by bending your elbows behind you. Your elbows must stay close to you—think of them bending straight back, not at all to the sides. Your hips should stay close to the bench: It is very important that you bring your hips down and up, not front and back. Finally, do not hyperextend your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and your shoulder blades together. Keep the downward motion slow (see Photo 2).
- From the bottom of your motion, push explosively upwards, pressing through your triceps to push yourself off the bench. You should push with enough power that your hands leave the bench briefly at the top of your motion (see Photo 3).
- Land lightly in your hands, with your hips still close to the bench, and immediately lower yourself into the next dip, controlling your downward momentum (see Photo 4).