Dips (pictured) are a common triceps strengthening exercise... but, when you go all the way down (or further than your shoulder mobility allows for) they can be a quick pathway to shoulder pain and PT! [You can find them listed as item #3 on my "worst / riskiest upper body exercises" list]
But, you probably just do them because you see someone else doing it! **NOTE: they could be a non-dangerous exercise for some people-- it all depends on how much range you have in your shoulder (into extension) and how well you control that range. In the clinic we tend to see a lot of injuries related to this exercise.
If you perform a triceps dip and do not have the adequate shoulder mobility or stability it will cause the humeral head (the top of the arm bone where it meets the shoulder socket) to shear forward in the joint, which place a lot of strain on the anterior capsule of the shoulder (the front of the shoulder joint). There are MANY other ways to work your triceps that do not have this same risk.
Today's technique Tuesday presents a fun alternative, but there are many other triceps exercise options that you could do to replace those dips!
Triceps Cable Press Down (in a split squat)
- cable machine (OR, you can do the same thing using a resistance band secured in the top of a door)
- strengthen the triceps without placing as much strain / load through the front of the shoulder joint
- doing it in a split squat also works the lower body and core more than doing a regular triceps press down in standing
- make sure you set-up the split squat in optimal position before starting the triceps press down
- both knees bent to 90 degrees
- tailbone tucked with ribs down! (no arching through your lower back)
- more weight through the heel of your front foot
- hold the cable (or band) in the same arm as your back leg
- reach the elbow back, as if you were doing a row
- keep the arm back and straighten your elbow
- do not let the upper arm bone move as you bend and straighten your elbow!