I’ve been working with a client for over two years. She is 47, still quite overweight due to poor food choices, but her strength is pretty good and she is proud of herself for all her gains. We do mostly free weight exercises with dumbbells, kettle balls, HIIT, circuit training. She CANNOT do tricep dips. She keeps her fingers tented and just cannot bend her elbows. Some of it might be fear of falling, but I just can’t figure this out. She is able to do other tricep exercises without problems. Any ideas on how I can help her? thanks
Hello Robin Warnberg,
You have many good ideas. I reiterate the psychology factor/goal setting and feet on floor to take off some of the bodyweight. This is a good excuse to get in a pool with water buoyancy. I would also try dips eccentrically. Make sure the scapulae are stacked/packed in place properly; that makes a difference.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
There are a lot of great suggestions above mine, here is my take on the situation.
I would figure out how important triceps dips are to her. If this is a huge goal for her I would concentrate on building the mobility and stability the movement requires. The gray institute has a lot of good info on building mobility and stability at the same time.
If the dips aren’t a huge goal of hers I would just attack the triceps with other exercises.
Is there a seated “dips” machine at your gym? If yes, you can start from there and see how she does. If you have her do regular dips she might be afraid to do them or she might be too heavy to do BW dips. Even though I don’t think dips might be the best exercise for an overweight person (for various reasons), having her do assisted dips (of any kind) might be good for her self esteem (I’m only guessing since I don’t know her). Also, pushups on a bar could be another option for her if you she is not already doing them.
short answer is: she is still too heavy for dips. the delts are triceps are fairly small and the weaker of the muscle complexes.
I am not surprised that she is having issues.
Dips would simply be off the menu so to speak.
I would focus your attention to accelerated weight loss and delt, tricep cable & band work so that when enough weight comes off the client can do a set of proper form dip. This will also help immensely with their self-esteem as you can make the dip a SMART goal and explain that the weight loss is the main factor. This will allow you to reinforce the POOR FOOD choices you mentioned.
Sometimes it is how you frame things. Remember the psychology of goals.
It has to seem relevant to them (goals you want them to hit like body fat %) and it has to seem attainable. The reality is we as Trainers are very highly educated consultants.
I assume you took your client on because you had shown the best path to health and in their case it was weight loss. If they show a desire to do dips because they see others doing them with ease and THE CLIENT has shown that dips are important to them….then you need to present the carrot of the dip to them. The stick (motivation) for the dip should be weight loss. Less weight to dip, easier the dip!
First of all, bravo on all of her gains!
There are very thoughtful replies above mine, which I’ll try not to repeat.
If you and she decide, for whatever reason, that a tricep dip is a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based) for her, then you might need to train her much more specifically for the skill of tricep dipping. If you are training her with free weights, they’re probably substantially less than the strength required to do a bodyweight triceps dip. If you’re not using a dip machine that has varying weights of assistance / resistance, then you could use the 42 inch giant rubber bands looped at an appropriate height to