Ring Dip Alternatives

10 Best Ring Dip Alternatives For Strong Triceps

The Ring Dip is an extremely effective exercise that targets the triceps, chest and shoulders. But, it can be intimidating for some people due to its challenging technique and the amount of upper body strength needed to do them.

If you’re looking for alternatives to Ring Dips that will still challenge your triceps and help you build strength, you’re in the right place.

I’ve been a Strength and Conditioning Coach for two decades and in this article, I’ll discuss several options that you can use to work the same muscle groups without the need for rings or advanced equipment.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced athlete, these alternatives can be a great way to mix up your workout routine and challenge your triceps in new ways.

Alternatives to Dips

The first few alternatives I have listed are dip variations, using different pieces of equipment and varying levels of difficulty. If you really want to do Ring Dips, but don’t have a set of rings, start here first.

The next few alternatives are compound movements, like Ring Dips, that target the triceps as well as the chest and shoulders. These are all good exercises to incorporate into your workout plan to build a strong upper body.

The last few alternatives are some of my favorite triceps isolation exercises. They’re all great if you’re looking to add some variety to your arm routine as part of a comprehensive upper body workout.

Bench Dips

Bench Dips are an easier, more beginner-friendly variation of Ring Dips. If you’re not quite ready for Ring Dips yet (or you just don’t have a set of gym rings), you may want to give Bench Dips a try.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Sit on the side edge of a bench and place the heels of your hands on the bench.
  • Place feet out in front of you, legs straight, heels on the ground.
  • Push your body up by extending your arms and position yourself so your butt and torso are just off the edge of the bench.
  • Bend the elbows and lower yourself down beside the bench.
  • Stay close to the bench and keep your torso upright.
  • Once the triceps become parallel to the ground, drive yourself back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see made with Bench Dips is getting the body too far away from the bench. This puts excess strain on the shoulders and can make the movement very uncomfortable. Keep your back close to the bench throughout the movement.

You can make bench dips easier by bending the knees and placing your feet flat on the floor or increase the challenge by elevating the feet on a box or adding weight plates to the thighs.


Parallel Bar Dips on a Dip Rack attachment (or dip station) are very similar to Ring Dips and probably the actual closest alternative to Ring Dips. They are slightly easier because a dip attachment provides more stability than free-floating rings.

Step By Step Instructions

  • Position yourself on dip bars, gripping them firmly with your hands.
  • Start with your arms fully extended and your body held straight, ensuring your shoulders aren’t shrugged.
  • Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Descend until your upper arms are about parallel with the ground or as far as your mobility allows.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of the movement, press back up by extending your arms and returning to the starting position.

Coaching Points

The biggest mistake I see with parallel bar dips is poor range of motion. If someone is struggling to be able to do reps, the easiest solution is to simply not lower yourself into a full rep, but this is incorrect.

If a lifter cannot perform a full rep they should modify the exercise (spotter, use resistance band for assistance).

The other issue I see athletes run into is unwanted swinging front to back while doing reps. To eliminate swinging, stay under control, keep a consistent rep path, bend the knees and cross the feet.

Weighted Dips

Weighted Dips (1)

Once you’ve become efficient at regular Dips and sets of 15 to 20 are no longer challenging, it’s time to add some weight to your dips. There are multiple ways to add resistance for Weighted Dips and I’ve given a few examples below under Coaching Points.

Weighted Dips can be done with either bar dips (as shown above) or with Ring Dips.

No matter what variation of Dips you do, in my opinion they are some of the best exercises to build upper body strength – period.

Step By Step Instructions

  • Secure a weight belt around your waist and attach the desired weight*.
  • Position yourself on dip bars, gripping them firmly with your hands.
  • Start with your arms fully extended and your body held straight, ensuring your shoulders aren’t shrugged.
  • Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Descend until your upper arms are about parallel with the ground or as far as your mobility allows.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of the movement, press back up by extending your arms and returning to the starting position.

Coaching Points

*There are multiple ways to add weight to Dips. A couple of the most popular ways are:

  • Wear a weighted vest.
  • Wrap a lifting chain (used for bench and/or squat) over the shoulders.
  • Hold a dumbbell with the feet.
  • Using a dip belt with a chain designed to hang weight plates (pictured above).
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Bench Press

Bench Press

Bench Press and Dips really go hand-in-hand. In my opinion, they are the two most effective pressing movements for building upper body strength.

Coach’s Note: To focus more on the upper chest, incline the bench for Incline Bench Press.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set the barbell on a bench press rack and load it with the desired weight.
  • Lie on the bench with your eyes directly under the bar. Plant your feet flat on the floor.
  • Grasp the bar with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, palms facing away from you.
  • Lift the bar off the rack and position it above your chest with arms fully extended.
  • Lower the bar to your mid-chest, keeping your elbows at a 75-90 degree angle.
  • Push the bar back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Coaching Points

Safety Tip: Make sure to always use a spotter when bench pressing with a barbell regardless of the weight being used.

Close Grip Bench Press

Close Grip Bench Press (1)

Close Grip Bench Press is a variation of the Bench Press that places more emphasis on the triceps due to the narrower grip. This movement is probably the closest you can get to truly simulating the same muscle involvement as Ring Dips without actually doing Dips.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Begin by lying flat on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  • Grasp the barbell with a grip that’s narrower than shoulder-width. For many, this will be around the width of their chest.
  • Lift the barbell off the rack, holding it straight over your chest. This is your starting position.
  • Slowly lower the bar to the middle of your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body throughout the descent.
  • Once the bar is just above your chest, press it back up, extending your arms fully.
  • Ensure you maintain a controlled tempo, keeping the movement smooth.

Coaching Points

The two most important aspects of Close Grip Bench to pay attention to is the grip and the elbows. Often, beginners will make their grip too narrow. This can end up being very uncomfortable on the wrists and make the elbows more prone to flaring out.

Find a grip that is just inside shoulder-width and focus on the keeping the elbows as tight to the body as possible.

Floor Press

If you don’t have rings and you don’t have a bench, Floor Press is the best Ring Dip alternative available to you. It’s essentially Close Grip Bench Press done on the floor. The limited range of motion also puts even more focus on the triceps.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Set your barbell up in the rack at the proper height to be able to rack and unrack the bar.
  • Lay on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your lats and set yourself up basically the same as you would for Bench Press.
  • Grab the bar using a close grip*, hands right about on the edge of the knurling.
  • Unrack the bar, lower it down until the triceps lightly tap the floor and then press it back to extension.

Coaching Points

*Floor Press is generally done using a close grip to emphasize the demand on the triceps. However, you can go with a wider grip if you choose to.

Med Ball Pushups

Medicine Ball Pushups

Med Ball Pushups are another great chest and triceps-focused alternative to Ring Dips. They’re uniquely versatile because all the equipment that is needed is a medicine ball.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a medicine ball and find an open spot on the ground.
  • Start on your knees and secure your hand placement on the ball first.
  • Use a neutral grip hand position with palms facing one another on each outer edge of the ball.
  • Now, lift the knees off the ground and raise up into a push-up position.
  • Lower yourself down, keeping the elbows tight to the body as you descend.
  • Lower down until the top of your abdomen (just below the sternum) touches the ball.
  • Drive back up to the starting position.

Coaching Points

Perhaps the most important part of the entire lift is getting the proper hand placement on the ball. Don’t be afraid to experiment slightly with what hand position feels best as it may change slightly depending on the type and size of the medicine ball you are using.

Keeping the elbows tight to the body is key here to make sure that the focus stays on the triceps.

Bonus Exercise: Close Grip Pushups are very similar to Med Ball Pushups and don’t require any equipment at all. You’ll lose some of the stabilization benefits of Med Ball Pushups, but if you’re restricted on access to equipment they can be an extremely effective alternative.

Triceps Pushdowns

Triceps Pushdown

Triceps Pushdowns are the first of three of my favorite triceps isolation exercises. You’re not going to get the same chest and shoulders involvement, but if you’re looking for alternative triceps movements, Triceps Pushdowns are a tried and true hall-of-fame exercise.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Step up a cable machine by sliding the pin all the way to the top of the beam.
  • Attach the rack attachment of your choice.
  • Grab the attachment and pull the attachment down until your elbows are next to your sides (arms should still be bent).
  • Now, extend the arms down by flexing the triceps and driving the attachment toward the floor.
  • Squeeze the triceps at full extension for one second and then slowly allow the attachment to raise back to the starting position.
  • Keep elbows tucked into the sides throughout the movement.

Coaching Points

Do not swing and use momentum at the top of the movement in an attempt to use more weight. Stay in control of the weight at all times and use proper form.

If using a heavy weight, you can lean slightly forward at the waist to give yourself more stability and to help keep yourself anchored to the floor.

Band Triceps Pushdowns

If you’re working out in your garage like me, chances are you don’t have a thousand-plus dollar cable machine.

However, a resistance band is something that most of us do have and if you do, Band Triceps Pushdowns are an excellent option for working your triceps.

Step-by-Step Instructions

First, loop a band around the top of a rack or any other piece of equipment that can solidly hold the band.

  • Stand tall, head up.
  • Hold the band with hands eight inches apart, palms down.
  • Bring upper arms to the sides and keep them there.
  • Start with forearms and biceps touching.
  • Press the band down to arm’s length.
  • Return slowly and under control to starting position.

Coaching Points

To make the exercise more challenging, either use a thicker band or choke up on the band.

If you’re unable to get full range of motion, lower your hands on the band, use a thinner band or stand on something to make the movement easier.

Barbell Skull Crushers

Skull Crushers Flexed Position

My final alternative for Ring Dips is Barbell Skull Crushers. They are yet another great movement for building triceps strength and size.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Grab a bar with an overhand grip, lie flat on a bench with head down, chin up. If you don’t have a bench, you can simply lay on the floor.
  • Press the bar to arm’s length above the shoulder.
  • Lower the bar until it almost touches the top of the forehead, bending arms at the elbows, keeping upper arm vertical and elbows in.
  • Drive the bar back up to the starting position and repeat.

Coaching Points

Keep the elbows high throughout. When Skull Crushers start to become difficult, the natural tendency of the lifter is to drop the elbows. Keep the elbows high and tight (try not to let them flare out to the side either).

*You can use a straight barbell or an EZ Curl Bar although most lifters prefer a Curl Bar because of the angle it allows the wrist to turn.

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Final Thoughts

Ring Dips are an excellent exercise for developing a strong chest, shoulders and triceps, but sometimes Ring Dips are just not an option. You may not have the proper equipment available to you or at other times you might just be looking to add some variety to your training program.

In these situations, you’ll need a Ring Dips alternative and I hope that at least one of the exercises I’ve listed here fits what you were looking for.

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