If you're looking for a tricep dip challenge that will strengthen, tone, and build the backs of your arms, then you're in the right place.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a tricep challenge that doesn't involve only dips, then you can check out our 30 day tricep challenge, which makes use of dumbbells and other equipment.
30 day tricep dip challenge
There are a few different variations of the 30 day tricep dip challenge that I'm going to discuss. Some are harder than others, so I'll try and list them in order of easiest to most challenging.
50 dips challenge
The 50 dips challenge is where you do 50 tricep dips every day for 30 days. Since 50 tricep dips aren't that many dips, you don't need to take any days off during this 30 day tricep dips challenge.
If you're a beginner, then it might be beneficial to do a 3 days on 1 day off approach where you do 50 dips per day for 3 days and then take a full rest day where you don't do any tricep training.
If you can't do 50 tricep dips in a row, then simply do as many as you can, rest, and then go again. You'll find that over the 30 days, you'll improve your triceps endurance and therefore be able to do more dips in a row.
150 dips challenge
There are two variants of the 150 dips challenge that I'm going to suggest. The first option is to simply do 150 tricep dips every day for 30 days. This can be 150 dips in one go if you have really strong triceps, or it can be split into 3 sets of 50 dips—the choice is yours.
On the other hand, you can progressively work your way up to 150 dips over a 30 day period. This approach raises two important questions: How many dips should you start with? And how many extra dips should you do per day?
I haven't included a template training schedule for the 150 dips challenge because the ideal starting point and the optimal increase (extra dips per day) are dependent on your triceps strength and endurance.
However, there are a few approaches you could take. You could simply start with 5 dips and then do 5 extra dips per day, which would lead to 150 dips over the 30-day period.
If you choose this option, you'd do multiple sets of 5 dips, then the next day you'd do multiple sets of 10 dips, and then multiple sets of 15 dips. Then—and this is crucial—once you reach a decent amount of daily dips to where doing multiple sets every day becomes too tricky (say 50 dips), then you'd start doing one big set per day rather than multiple mini sets.
How to do the 30 day tricep dip challenge correctly
Now that you know the different variations of the 30 day tricep dip challenge, it's time to learn how to perform it correctly. So let's answer some frequently asked questions.
Should you lock your elbows out?
Locking your elbows out is optional. But understand one thing: Locking the elbows out is the primary function of the triceps brachii, so it's always a good idea to use a full range of motion during your tricep dips.
Additionally, locking your elbows out will enable some of the metabolites (which are small molecules that make your muscles burn) to leave your triceps, which will actually enable you to do more dips.
On the other hand, if you do constant tension dips, then your triceps will likely burn out faster (which could actually be a good way to challenge yourself). You can, of course, combine the approaches whereby you do constant tension dips, and then, once your triceps start to burn, you start locking your elbows out.
Should I elevate my legs?
Elevating your legs during the 30 day tricep dips challenge is optional. You can certainly elevate your feet on a chair/sofa/weight bench while you're doing your dips to make the exercise a bit harder.
Just make sure to be consistent with your tricep dip setup throughout the challenge so that you can accurately gauge your progress. For example, if you did the first half of the challenge with your legs elevated and the second 14 days with your feet on the floor, then you'd essentially be faking your results because tricep dips are easier when your feet are on the floor.
Should I train to failure?
No, not in most cases if you can help it. Since you're going to be doing dips every day (or doing 3 days on 1 day off), you shouldn't obliterate your triceps by training to failure.
Sure, as the 30 day tricep dips challenge progresses, you might naturally need to train to failure now again. However, as mentioned earlier, if you can't do the prescribed number of dips for a given day, then you should split your dips up into multiple sets.
In general, you want to leave at least 1 rep in the tank so that you don't overtrain your triceps.
How far down should I go?
Go down to where your lower and upper arm form a 90-degree angle at your elbow joint. It's fine to stop slightly higher. You just don't want to go too low because doing so can hurt your shoulders.
Indeed, part of the challenge could be progressively performing deeper tricep dips. Just don't take it to the extreme because you really don't want to strain your rotator cuff muscles.
Why is there no template to follow?
Since many different people will be doing this 30 day tricep dip challenge, it's impossible to cater to everyone. So rather than make a template that's good for a few people and nobody else, I thought that it would be better to give you the tools (some general guidelines) to create your own program.
On day one, do as many tricep dips as you can (but leave 1 rep in the tank). Then, take 10-20% off the number. This is your starting number of dips.
Then, each day, you'll simply add 2-6 dips depending on your starting number of dips and how fast and easily you're progressing. The idea is to work up to 150 dips at the end of the 30 days, but you can work up to any number of dips that you like.
There's nothing magical about doing 150 dips; it's just a number that will challenge a lot of people. You could always do 50 dips or 100 dips instead.
Conclusion: Which tricep dip challenge is right for you?
If you're a beginner, then try and work yourself up to 50 drips dips (in one go if possible) over the 30 days. Dips are great for strengthening the backs of your arms because they're a pure tricep exercise.
If you're an intermediate and can already do 50 dips in one go (remember to do a max dips test on the first day of the challenge), then build yourself up to 100 dips or 150 dips over the course of the 30 days.
If you're really advanced and have titanic triceps, then do 100-150 dips (ideally in one go) every day for 30 days to shock your triceps. You can, of course, split the 100 dips or 150 dips into 2-3 smaller sets.
- Quinn, E. (2021, September 1). How to Do Triceps Dips: Techniques, Benefits, Variations. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/the-chair-dip-triceps-exercise-3120734
- Erskine, R., & McMahon, G. (2022, January 12). ‘Training to failure’: debunking claims this popular weightlifting technique is the most effective for building muscle and strength. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/training-to-failure-debunking-claims-this-popular-weightlifting-technique-is-the-most-effective-for-building-muscle-and-strength-173872