I did 50 butterfly dips every day for a week — here’s what happened

a photo of a woman doing a butterfly dip
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

So you’ve heard of triceps dips and the upper body benefits of this simple move, but what about butterfly dips? As well as torching your triceps, this odd-sounding modification also gives your lower body a workout. But how do you do butterfly dips, what are the benefits, and what would happen if you added them to your workout every day for a week? I unrolled my exercise mat and gave this one a go. Read on to find out what happened. 

Here at Tom’s Guide, we love nothing more than a weird and wonderful workout challenge. That said, when I’m not doing a challenge for Tom’s Guide, I definitely don’t work the same muscle group day after day. As a reminder, your muscles need time to fully recover between workouts. What works for me might not be right for you and your body, so if you’re new to exercise, or you’re returning to workouts following an injury or pregnancy, it’s a good idea to check your form with a personal trainer before adding multiple reps to your routine. 

How to do the butterfly dip? 

Let’s start by taking a look at how you do the butterfly dip with perfect form:

a photo of a woman doing a butterfly dip

(Image credit: Shutterstock)
  • Start by sitting on one of the best yoga mats, with your feet together and your knees bent. Place your hands slightly behind your glutes, with your fingers facing your toes.
  • Lower your knees out to the side of your body, keeping your heels together. At the same time, engage your abs and bend your elbows, engaging your triceps.
  • Straighten your arms, and at the same time, lift your hips up towards the ceiling, bringing your knees together. Pause here.
  • Reverse the movement by bending your elbows and lowering your glutes down to the exercise mat, letting your knees fall back out to your sides. That’s one rep.

As always, the key to this exercise is moving slowly and with control. Do not be tempted to rush the exercise, as you won’t be engaging the right muscles, and you might be putting yourself at risk of injury. Remember to keep your chest open during this exercise, and your hands stacked underneath your shoulders. 

I did 50 butterfly dips every day for a week — here’s what happened 

Ready to find out what happened when I did butterfly dips every day for a week? 

I remembered why I hate tricep dips

As a runner, I spend an awful lot of time working on my leg strength, but my arms are often the last thing I train in the gym. For this challenge, I decided to shoot for 50 reps per day, and on day one, my triceps were shaking. I often swap triceps dips for dumbbell triceps extensions, as I find it easier to feel my triceps working, but this bodyweight exercise forced me to really work on my triceps dip form, with the benefit that my lower body was still working too.  

I had to concentrate on my form

I really had to think about my form when practicing this move. On day three, I could feel my neck tensing on my first few reps — a sign I hadn’t been managing to keep it neutral during the first few days of the challenge. I had to think about pulling my shoulders away from my ears, and keeping my neck straight as I moved through my reps. It helped to do ten reps at a time, with a 30-second break between sets. 

I also had to think about squeezing my shoulders together throughout this exercise, this helps prevent the shoulders from rounding, as this can put strain on the lower back. I also had to work on keeping my core engaged throughout, as I focused on sucking my belly button into my spine as I lifted, lowered, and moved my legs in and out. 

I’ll be adding these to my bodyweight workouts in the future

On paper, this move looks super complex, but once you master the form, it really works the upper and lower body. I still prefer breaking up my workouts and using a set of the best adjustable dumbbells or best kettlebells to really challenge myself, but I’ll be using these again in quick bodyweight workouts when I’m traveling, or short on equipment. 350 reps later, tricep dips still aren’t my favorite exercise, but if practice makes perfect, I’m getting there. 

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Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.