6 Solid Steps How to Prevent Elbow Pain Doing Tricep Dips or Extensions

elbow pain doing tricep dipsAre you trying to build that horseshoe shape on your tricep or …

Perhaps trying to tone and shape the back of your arm?

If you have answered Yes then I am sure you are incorporating dips into your exercise regime.

Am I right?

But here’s the thing…

Did you know that if you are not careful, you may end up developing elbow pain from doing tricep dips or extensions?

But there are some simple steps and precautions you can take so you get that tricep muscle or shaped and toned arm you have always wanted.

Which I will get to in a minute.

Most of the people consider dips as the best exercise for mass building.

There are some people who believe dips are harmful as they put strain on your wrist, elbow and shoulder joints.

If you have experienced pain in your elbows during dips, you are not alone.

There are many experienced weight lifters and bodybuilders who have gone through this.

If you believe dips are bad as it stresses your joints, then squats are bad for you as well.

The reason is that it also puts a strain on your joints.

Fortunately, it is all just a misconception.

Perhaps you also have elbow pain doing push ups, check out my post and recommendations over there as well.

What are Dips?

Dips is a body weight exercise that consists of several elements.

They look quite simple to perform but can be extremely dangerous if not done correctly.

The key …

Is to pay attention to your form.

You can start the exercise by lifting yourself up on the dip bars.

When raising yourself up, you have to make sure your arms are straight.

It is a great exercise for your shoulders, arms and chest.

Done correctly, you can really focus and target the tricep muscle.

This is one of the best exercises for mind-muscle connection.

You should not roll your shoulders forwards or shrug them.

It is imperative for you to keep your shoulders down and back.

Afterwards, you must lower your shoulder, so they are below your elbows.

Going beyond a 90 degree angle with your forearm and upper arm is ok and not dangerous.

You read in many articles to stop at 90 degrees but I have to disagree.

The reason is that we all have to different levels of flexibility and range of motion.

Listen to your body and go to an angle which you feel comfortable.

When you are finished with this article, why not check out what Stronglifts have to say about doing dips the right way.

It is recommended to do dips on fixed bars instead of rings…

For the simple fact that the rings can get away on you and cause a severe injury.

How Your Shoulder Plays A Role:

It is crucial for you to understand the mechanism of your shoulder.

Your glenohumeral (shoulder) joint should be stable and able to hold your body weight.

This is to make sure you can get proper starting position for the tricep dip exercise.

Keep in mind before you begin your movement:

·       The scapula and joint of your shoulder should be pulled back to rear end. The shoulder complex should be drawn down in the direction of hips. You must not lose the retracted position.

·       The scapula and shoulder should rotate towards the spine. This will create an external rotation.

Let’s have a look at the correct way of doing dips.

The Proper Way to Do Tricep Dips

It is necessary that you should be free from shoulder and elbow conditions such as rotator cuff, frozen shoulder, tennis or golfers elbow.

When you perform dips with the correct technique, it can not only strengthen the backs of your arms but …

It can have therapeutic affects for your shoulders.

It is essential for you to master the right method to reap the benefits and avoid the elbow pain during dips.

The first thing you need is a tricep dip station or 2 parallel bars.

The bars must be parallel, secure, and steady.

Almost every gym has a station for dips that you can use.

In case there is no dip station., you can use Power Rack for dips.

We strongly advise you to avoid doing dips on rings or benches as you can hurt yourself.

And do not forget to top 5 causes of elbow pain doing pull ups for anyone trying to build their back with this popular lat building exercise.

We have created simple steps for you to do dips the right way.

Step 1
The first thing you should do is grab the bars and balance yourself.

Most people start with their elbows locked at the top of the position.

Step 2
Before descending, you must inhale while preparing your core and locking the hips into position.

Step 3
Slowly descend and bend your elbows to lower your body, keeping your elbows in close to your body.

While doing so, you must lean your upper body slightly forward to maintain tension on your tricep muscles.

Step 4
You have to lower your body to an extent that your shoulders are below your elbows but …

Only go as far as your feel comfortable.  You do not have to follow the 90 degree elbow bend rule!

Step 5
Now, you must raise your body to the starting position by straightening your arms.

Step 6
Then, you should balance yourself, your shoulders must be over your hands.


This takes strain off your tricep muscles and puts it on your elbow joints – dangerous.

Elite FTS has some more great tips on this popular exercise for building triceps.

Tips for Doing Tricep Dips

The perfect way for performing dips is by having your hands beneath your shoulders with your chest high.

right and wrong way to do dips

In this way, you can have your arms near your body.

Here are some guidelines for you to follow.

·       Your must maintain a tight grip on the bars.

·       For the grip width, your hands must be under your shoulders and outside your hips.

·       Your elbows must be locked at the top and tucked at 45 degrees from the bottom. Keep in mind, your elbows must not touch your upper body.

·       It is imperative for you to keep your forearms vertical from every angle.

·       Your chest must be raised up before you descend it.

·       As far as your head is concerned, it should be aligned with your upper body. You should not look up instead you must look at the floor in front of you.

·       You should keep your shoulders back and relaxed.

·       The upper body must be slightly slanting for better balance. Your torso should be leaned forward when you descend.

·       Your lower back must not be overarched. Your back must be straight from shoulders to knees.

·       You must inhale when you are the top and exhale again at the top.

Things to Keep in Mind

Take a look at the things you need to pay attention when performing dips to avoid elbow discomfort.

·       If the dip bars are at a higher level, you can keep your knees straight. In case you are tall, you can bend your knees over cross your foot. This is to prevent your feet from touching the ground.

·       You should keep your chin tucked in while squeezing the shoulder blades together. In this way, you can prevent elevation of scapular and extreme extension of your shoulders.

·       It is vital that you slowly pull yourself down and not just drop down.

·       When lowering yourself should keep your upper body lean forwards. This will keep your upper body slightly away from the handles. It will help in balancing the stress between your shoulder and elbows.

·       You should keep on exhaling when extending your elbows, you should not lock out your elbows.

The Consequences of Performing Dips in a Wrong Way

You should avoid performing dips with extra broad grip as it makes your shoulder prone to injury.

This is because it forces your shoulder to the most external rotation.

If you do dips with an increased range of motion, it will result in impingement with the passage of time.

In case you go lower than your elbows, it will overstretch your pectoralis.

It might increase the chances of tearing it and can cause elbow, forearm and wrist pain.

If you are not able to go to the gym, you can do dips at home.

The easiest way is by joining 2 chairs back to back.

You must descend until your legs hit the ground.

Then, rise up and repeat the process.

Within few days, you will be able to do full dip and will become stronger.

Furthermore, there are many variations of dips including weighted dips, bench dips, ring dips, and assisted machines dip.

The most dangerous dip is the ring dips as it can injure your rotator cuff muscles.

This is the muscle that holds your shoulder together.

It is counterproductive dip because the rings are not fixed and stable.

They might move away from your body and if your shoulder is in a weak position it may damage it.

In the end, the dips are one of the best powerful and effective movements that help in building your triceps and toning your arms.

Along with this, it is useful for improving your strength.

When you are at the top, your arms must be straight, chest up elbows locked, shoulders back and pushed down.

When lowering yourself, your chest must be raised, bend your arms, lean forward, and take a breath.

At the bottom, you should descend until your shoulders are below your elbows.

While lifting yourself up, keep your arms straight, shoulders down and don’t look at the ceiling.

Follow these tips and watch your triceps develop, tone and grow.

But it doesn’t end there…

Have you noticed that the outer part of your elbow hurts when doing bicep curls or simply gripping your coffee mug in the morning?

If so …

You could be suffering from the most common elbow injury that affects all weight lifters – tennis elbow!

And it can dramatically affect the results you get in the gym.

But here is a simple 5 step tutorial on how to overcome your elbow pain and start seeing faster results in the gym.

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