If your physique was a rock band, your triceps can be the bass participant. Your legs can be on drums, biceps can be lead guitar, and calves can be the roadie, however that’s all irrelevant. Few folks appear to concentrate to the triceps, however they’re laborious at work in practically each carry, and so they’re important for nearly each objective.

Often uncared for and underappreciated, your triceps can dramatically affect your physique and your efficiency. It doesn’t take a lot work to construct greater, stronger tris, but it surely does take some clever coaching. Here are the very best actions to place this muscular background participant on centerstage.

Best Triceps Exercises

Close-Grip Bench Press

The basic flat bench press is a staple in lots of lifters’ chest exercises. When you convey your grip barely inwards, you may shift the emphasis away out of your chest muscle mass and make your triceps the first mover. (1)

Pressing with a more in-depth grip will increase triceps recruitment and reduces relative chest activation. It may also scale back pressure in your shoulder joints as a result of they’re positioned in a stronger mechanical place with much less stretching. This makes it an efficient bench press various for lifters coping with joint ache.

How to Do the Close-Grip Bench Press 

Lie on a flat bench with the barbell in line above your eyes. Grab the bar utilizing a palms-down (pronated) grip along with your arms and wrists immediately above your shoulders. Gripping extraordinarily shut doesn’t considerably have an effect on triceps recruitment and might enhance pressure on the wrist and elbow joints.

Plant each ft flat on the bottom. Squeeze your shoulder blades collectively and grip the bar tightly. Press straight as much as unrack the bar from the help pins. Lower the bar whereas conserving your elbows near your physique, not flaring out to the edges. In the underside place, the bar ought to be close to your decrease chest. Pause briefly earlier than urgent straight as much as lockout. Keep your glutes touching the bench all through your complete repetition.

Benefits of the Close-Grip Bench Press

  • This bench press variation permits the triceps to be labored with doubtlessly heavy weights, making it splendid for constructing triceps energy.
  • The total joint place of this train permits lifters to coach the bench press motion sample with lowered shoulder joint stress.

EZ-Bar Skull Crusher

The cranium crusher is a fundamental and efficient train for isolating the triceps with restricted activation of the chest or shoulders. Using an EZ-bar modifications your hand place and permits a semi-supinated, or angled, grip. This makes the train extra accommodating for lifters with poor wrist mobility who can’t keep a completely supinated (palms-down) grip, and it helps to scale back pressure on the wrist and elbow joints.

The EZ-bar cranium crusher is among the most basic triceps workout routines, requiring solely a flat bench and an EZ-bar. This makes it a super possibility for lifters with restricted tools, similar to coaching in a fundamental dwelling gymnasium.

How to Do the EZ-Bar Skull Crusher 

Sit on a flat bench whereas holding an EZ-bar with a moderate-width, palms-down grip on the angled handles. Lie again whereas “kicking” the bar right into a straight-arm place above your face. To maximize muscular rigidity, your arms ought to be angled barely towards your head, not utterly vertical.

Place each ft flat on the ground and tense your abs as you stabilize the load in a locked-out place. Bend at your elbows to decrease the load in direction of your brow. Keep your elbows stationary whereas lowering the load. Straighten your arms to lock the load above your head.

Benefits of the EZ-Bar Skull Crusher

  • The EZ-bar reduces wrist and elbow joint pressure, making it a very good triceps train for lifters with joint ache.
  • You can enhance the depth of the train by growing the vary of movement. Lower the load to the bench on the high of your head as a substitute of stopping close to your brow. While this may require shifting your elbows, the longer vary of movement can enhance total muscle activation.
  • The EZ-Bar cranium crusher will be superset with a close-grip bench press utilizing the identical bar for a fast and efficient high-intensity approach.

Barbell Kickback

This old-school bodybuilding train has seen a resurgence in recognition in recent times. Once thought-about a high-tension triceps-builder, it fell out of favor for no legitimate cause. The triceps endure a very long time beneath rigidity utilizing solely free weights, with no cable stations essential.

While the train is commonly carried out with a barely rounded again, the backbone isn’t beneath direct stress as a result of the load is supported via the arms. If your hamstring mobility wants enchancment, sustaining the bent-over place could also be uncomfortable, and chances are you’ll must bend at a better angle or select an alternate train.

How to Do the Barbell Kickback

Begin standing whereas holding a barbell with a palms-down grip behind your again. Bend ahead on the waist and permit the bar to slip down the again of your legs. Pull your elbows up close to your ribs. The bar ought to be close to your knees or higher calves, relying in your arm and leg size.

Straighten your arms by urgent your arms backward. Keep your elbows pinned in place throughout the train. With your arms locked out, the bar typically ends above your tailbone. It’s not unusual to really feel your triceps cramping laborious within the locked-out place when the muscle rigidity is best. Lower the load beneath management and keep away from hitting your self behind the knees with the bar.

Benefits of the Barbell Kickback

  • The barbell kickback delivers a major muscle-building stimulus with comparatively mild weight, making it splendid for lifters utilizing restricted tools or these unable to carry heavy weights.
  • The triceps are put via a very long time beneath rigidity, particularly with a protracted peak contraction, which creates a major muscle-building stimulus. (2)
  • This train is certainly one of comparatively few isolation (single-joint) triceps workout routines that may be carried out with a barbell, making it a beneficial addition for lifters with restricted tools.

Dumbbell Overhead Extension

Performing triceps workout routines along with your arms overhead is crucial for optimum triceps progress as a result of distinctive positioning of the triceps heads throughout the shoulder joints. The separate muscle heads are activated in a different way as you elevate your arms to work the triceps. (3) The dumbbell overhead extension is among the most simple workout routines to handle this kind of train.

The dumbbell overhead extension will be carried out standing along with your ft collectively, standing in a cut up or staggered stance, tall kneeling, half-kneeling, seated with an unsupported again, or seated with a again help. Each of these variations will work the triceps the identical. The solely distinction is descending ranges of core and decrease again recruitment, so select the stance that most closely fits your physique.

How to Do the Dumbbell Overhead Extension

Hold one dumbbell with two arms, putting the pinkies of every hand in opposition to the within of the highest weight plate. Extend the dumbbell immediately overhead with straight arms. Bend your arms to decrease the load behind your head. Keep your elbows pointed up as the load strikes, don’t enable them to sink in direction of your shoulders.

Resist the temptation to nod your head ahead “out of the way” of the dumbbell. Lower the load beneath management to keep away from contacting your head or neck. Return to the overhead place whenever you really feel a major stretch on the triceps.

Benefits of the Dumbbell Overhead Extension

  • The overhead extension is an environment friendly option to recruit all heads of the triceps muscle.
  • Because you’re lifting with each arms, you may transfer heavier weight than coaching unilaterally (one arm at a time). This makes it a helpful train for constructing energy.
  • This train emphasizes the stretched place, which has been proven to enhance muscle-building. (4)

Two-Dumbbell Kickback

While the single-arm kickback is extra generally related to “toning”-type exercises, the two-dumbbell kickback combines the centered muscular rigidity of the single-arm kickback with improved coordination and total-body rigidity of a two-arm motion.

The two-dumbbell kickback additionally permits lifters to rotate their wrists throughout the motion for a extra pure vary of movement with much less stress on the wrist and elbow joints. 

How to Do the Two-Dumbbell Kickback

Stand upright whereas holding a dumbbell in every hand. Bend as far ahead on the waist as is comfy and barely bend your knees. Pull each elbows to your ribs and bend your arms to a roughly 90-degree angle. Keep your elbows pinned to your sides throughout your complete set.

Using a comparatively sluggish velocity to attenuate momentum, straighten your arms by driving your pinkies in direction of the ceiling. In the locked-out place, your arms ought to be in a straight line pointed towards the wall behind you. Experiment with a impartial grip (palms dealing with your physique), a pronated grip (palms dealing with the wall behind you), and a supinated grip (palms dealing with your shoulders) to find out which feels most comfy.

Benefits of the Two-Dumbbell Kickback

  • The two-dumbbell kickback permits vital triceps rigidity with comparatively mild weights, making it splendid for lifters with joint ache or restricted tools.
  • This motion simulates a cable triceps pushdown without having a cable pulley station.

Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Much just like the close-grip bench press is a triceps-dominant model of the basic motion, the neutral-grip dumbbell bench press is a triceps-dominant variation of the usual flat dumbbell bench press.

The impartial grip permits the elbows to stay near the physique, lowering shoulder joint stress whereas growing triceps muscle recruitment. (5) The urgent place additionally permits the usage of comparatively heavy weights. Many folks will press as a lot or extra weight as with a chest-focused dumbbell bench press grip, making the motion a superb possibility for constructing dimension and energy.

How to Do the Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Sit on a flat bench whereas holding a pair of dumbbells resting in your thighs. Lie again whereas kicking the weights right into a straight-arm place locked above your chest. Plant your ft flat and slowly rotate your arms to face one another.

Stabilize the load and decrease the dumbbells in direction of the surface of your chest. Slide your higher arms alongside your ribs and maintain your elbows pointed in direction of your ft. When your arms are at chest-level, press straight as much as lockout. 

Benefits of the Neutral-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

  • This dumbbell press variation permits the usage of pretty heavy weights with lowered joint pressure.
  • The distinctive hand place makes the neutral-grip dumbbell bench press one of many few dumbbell workout routines to soundly and effectively prepare the triceps with heavy weight.
  • The train is efficient for lifters who can’t carry out the flat dumbbell bench press attributable to shoulder or elbow joint ache.

Single-Arm Skull Crusher

This train is almost an identical to the barbell or EZ-bar cranium crusher, with the plain exception that it’s carried out utilizing one arm at a time. This unilateral focus permits lifters to handle improvement discrepancies and muscular imbalances between sides.

The single-arm cranium crusher additionally permits lifters to control their wrist extra freely by rotating throughout the motion, which may alleviate wrist discomfort brought on by sustaining a pronated (palm-down) grip on a barbell.

How to Do the Single-Arm Skull Crusher

Begin mendacity with one dumbbell locked out above your chest. Use your non-working hand to softly maintain the triceps of the working arm. This can enhance the mind-muscle connection and enhance progress. (6)

Lower the dumbbell in direction of the same-side ear at a sluggish and managed tempo. Keep your elbow aimed on the ceiling, and don’t enable it to maneuver. When your arm has reached its most stretched place, reverse route and lockout your arm.

Benefits of the Single-Arm Skull Crusher

  • This train permits extraordinarily centered coaching on the triceps of every arm.
  • The single-arm cranium crusher delivers a major muscle-building stimulus with comparatively mild weight.
  • The unilateral efficiency permits lifters to handle frequent muscle imbalances between arms.


The dip is among the best body weight workout routines to coach the triceps as a result of it means that you can carry a major quantity of weight without having a full gymnasium setup. Whether it’s carrying a weighted vest, a dip belt with random weight plates, or a backpack filled with soup cans, the weighted dip means that you can emphasize the triceps whereas working your complete higher physique.

Dips may also be carried out to emphasise the chest as a substitute of the triceps, however simple approach changes can maintain the triceps prioritized.

How to Do the Dip

Hold a set of dip handles along with your arms barely exterior shoulder width. Jump into the highest place and lock your arms out straight. Stabilize your higher physique and get rid of any lower-body swinging. Bend your arms whereas aiming your elbows on the wall behind you.

Maintain an upright torso place along with your head and shoulders according to your arms. Lower your physique at a managed velocity till you’re feeling a most stretch in your shoulders. Pause briefly within the backside place earlier than urgent as much as lockout.

Benefits of the Dip

  • The dip is among the few body weight workout routines that permits the addition of serious load for long-term development.
  • You can start a set with the triceps-emphasizing approach and, when muscular fatigue units in, change focus to include the chest muscle mass — throughout the descent, lean your higher physique ahead and permit your elbows to flare out to the edges. This is a high-intensity approach to extend total muscle stimulus.

Close-Grip Push-Up

While the usual push-up is commonly the primary body weight train — and even the primary train, typically — many lifters carry out. However, the close-grip variation is an efficient option to emphasize the triceps with none coaching tools in any respect.

The close-grip push-up, much like the close-grip bench press, shifts the main target away from the chest muscle mass and makes the triceps the predominant muscle group.

How to Do the Close-Grip Push-Up

Start along with your arms planted on the bottom roughly chest-width aside. Straighten your legs and keep a steady line out of your neck to your ft. Lower your whole physique till your chest practically touches your arms.

As you descend, maintain your elbows tight to your physique and aimed in direction of your ft. Pause briefly within the backside place earlier than returning to full lockout.

Benefits of the Close-Grip Push-Up

  • The close-grip push-up has been proven to activate the triceps considerably greater than the usual push-up approach. (7)
  • This train will be carried out wherever, at any time, without having any particular tools.

Medicine Ball Push-Up

Medicine balls are sometimes for throwing or including resistance throughout exercises. With this push-up variation, it’s doing neither. The medication ball is used as a help on your arms and encourages a close-grip place.

The medication ball additionally barely elevates your higher physique, which alters your leverage and reduces the quantity of physique weight lifted throughout the train. This could sound prefer it makes the train “easier,” but it surely’s offset by the elevated problem from the grip width and instability.

How to Do the Medicine Ball Push-Up

Place a sturdy medication ball on the bottom — the load of the ball doesn’t have an effect on the train. Place each arms on the ball and help your physique with straight legs and arms. Stabilize your whole physique, and don’t enable the ball to roll or wobble.

Lower your chest in direction of the ball, being positive to regulate any instability offered by the ball. When your chest contacts the ball, press up at a managed tempo till your arms are locked.

Benefits of the Medicine Ball Push-Up

  • The instability from the medication ball is an environment friendly option to strengthen shoulder stabilizing muscle mass.
  • The medication ball gives a constant reference level for grip-width, relatively than specializing in chest-width or closer-than-shoulder-width, making the train extra simplified and efficient.
  • Medicine ball push-ups will be rapidly superset with medication ball throws for a power-building exercise.

Tiger Bend Push-Up

At first look, the tiger bend push-up may look like some type of yoga-meets-gymnastics mixture. In actuality, it’s a comparatively superior push-up variation that emphasizes the triceps by requiring an extension-type motion greater than an precise push-up.

The tiger bend push-up is taken into account a considerably superior train as a result of your triceps are required to maneuver nearly all of your physique weight with out help out of your shoulders or chest. However, there are particular regressions to regulate the problem for any lifter.

How to Do the Tiger Bend Push-Up

Kneel on the bottom with solely your forearms, elbows, knees, and shins supporting your physique. Place your palms on the bottom. Set your elbows beneath your shoulders and your knees immediately beneath your hips. Lift your physique by urgent via your palms. Maintain a impartial backbone as you progress.

To make the train more difficult, transfer your knees farther out of your elbows and finally help your self off your knees, with a straight line out of your shoulders to your ft. To make the train much less difficult, set your knees wider.

Benefits of the Tiger Bend Push-Up

  • This train is among the few isolation (single-joint) body weight workout routines to work the triceps, which provides to total train selection.
  • It gives a major problem with out added weight, making it splendid for knowledgeable lifters with restricted tools.

Rope Pushdown

The triceps pushdown, typically known as a pressdown, could also be some of the frequent workout routines seen in any gymnasium. It’s easy to carry out, efficient at focusing on the triceps, and adaptable to inexperienced persons in addition to probably the most skilled lifters.

Using a rope deal with permits a impartial (palms-facing) grip which may scale back wrist pressure in comparison with a straight bar which requires a palms-down grip. The rope may also be manipulated all through the set, by bringing the handles aside within the backside place to extend the vary of movement or conserving the handles touching for improved leverage to carry out extra reps. 

How to Do the Rope Pushdown

Begin with a rope deal with hooked up to a high-cable pulley. Grab the rope with each arms and convey your elbows subsequent to your ribs. In the beginning place, your arms ought to be close to chest-level.

Without shifting your elbows, straighten your arms. Pause briefly within the locked out place earlier than returning your arms to the highest.

Benefits of the Rope Pushdown

  • The pushdown will be carried out by lifters of any expertise or energy degree.
  • This cable train affords steady rigidity, which will increase the entire time beneath rigidity and improves the muscle-building stimulus.
  • The rope pushdown helps to scale back joint pressure by permitting extra comfy joint angles. 

Single-Arm Pushdown

The single-arm pushdown combines the centered advantages of unilateral coaching with the high-tension muscle-building of cable coaching. By working every arm individually, you’re capable of tackle discrepancies in muscular improvement and energy with out compromising any muscle-building stimulus.

This intense pushdown variation will be carried out with a wide range of handles and grip positions. Using a single “D” deal with is most typical, both with a palm-up or palm-down grip. Experiment with utilizing a rope deal with (holding one or either side of the rope in a single hand) as nicely. The totally different hand and wrist positions could really feel extra comfy and gained’t have an effect on the triceps recruitment considerably.

How to Do the Single-Arm Pushdown

Attach a deal with to a high-cable pulley. Grab it with one hand and convey it into the beginning place along with your elbow close to your ribs and your working hand close to chest-level. Your free hand can brace in opposition to the pulley station away from the cable.

Straighten your arm and press right down to full lockout. Don’t enable your elbow to maneuver and don’t enable your torso to lean sideways in direction of the working hand. Pause briefly within the backside place earlier than returning to the highest.

Benefits of the Single-Arm Pushdown

  • The single-arm pushdown emphasizes every particular person arm with out vital core work as a result of stability of the cable station, making it splendid for lifters with decrease again ache.
  • The train will be carried out with a wide range of grips to accommodate lifters with grip energy points or wrist ache.
  • This pressdown variation may also be carried out “crossbody-style” — standing sideways to the cable stack, with the non-working facet of the physique closest to the cable, and bringing the working hand from the alternative shoulder to the same-side hip. The distinctive angle modifications the vary of movement and should scale back shoulder joint pressure. 

Single-Arm Standing Cable Skull Crusher

This distinctive train makes use of a cable pulley to imitate the movement of a single-arm dumbbell cranium crusher. The elevated rigidity from the cable permits a robust muscle-building stimulus with comparatively mild weight and fewer total joint pressure.

Whether it’s merely for coaching selection or as a high-intensity triceps finisher on the finish of any exercise, this motion zones in on the triceps with most effectivity and no help from different muscle teams.

How to Do the Single-Arm Standing Cable Skull Crusher

Grab a single deal with hooked up to a high-cable pulley. Face away from the load stack and press the load straight in entrance of you. Use your non-working arm to help the working-side elbow, which ought to stay stationary all through the set. Slowly bend your arm and convey your hand again in direction of your face. When you’re feeling a most stretch, slowly prolong your arm to full lockout.

Benefits of the Single-Arm Standing Cable Skull Crusher

  • This train delivers a major time beneath rigidity, which is helpful for muscle progress.
  • The single-arm standing cable cranium crusher permits the triceps to be educated with minimal pressure on the shoulder and elbow joints.

The Triceps Muscles

Understanding the triceps muscle and its associated joints will result in a greater understanding of how and why sure workout routines and coaching strategies are efficient.

Credit: Slatan / Shutterstock

Here’s a more in-depth have a look at this vital arm muscle and the way it works.

Triceps Brachii

The “tri” in triceps refers to a few separate however associated heads of the muscle. The medial head and lateral head each connect on the higher arm bone and elbow joint. The lengthy head attaches on the elbow and shoulder blade.

All three heads work to straighten the arm on the elbow. However, as a result of the lengthy head runs over and throughout the shoulder joint, additionally it is activated when the higher arm strikes. (8) This is why triceps workout routines carried out at a wide range of angles — along with your arms overhead and/or perpendicular to your physique — are important for total muscle activation and improvement.

How Often Should You Train the Triceps

Because all three heads of the triceps connect on the elbow joint, extreme coaching quantity or frequency could irritate (or create) joint ache or tendonitis. The triceps are considerably labored throughout nearly all of chest and shoulder workout routines, which must be an element when programming triceps coaching.

person on beach performing push-upsCredit: Jordi Mora / Shutterstock

Generally, immediately coaching the triceps one to 2 days per week with comparatively low quantity per exercise (5 to 10 units cut up up between one to a few workout routines) will be adequate for constructing dimension and energy. The total particulars of your coaching program similar to train alternative, coaching depth, and quantity (complete units and reps) shall be components in designing a triceps exercise.

To make your triceps a coaching precedence, scale back the frequency and quantity of urgent in your chest and shoulder exercises. This will assist to scale back the general stress on the triceps muscle and associated joints. Training your triceps and biceps in a single exercise is one other extremely efficient technique, particularly when utilizing alternating units or supersets, which have been proven to enhance energy and energy whereas lowering total fatigue. (9)

How to Progress Your Triceps Training

Triceps exercises will be approached and progressed like every other physique half. Work constantly and regularly enhance the coaching quantity (extra repetitions) and/or enhance the coaching load (extra weight). The resolution to extend quantity or load shall be decided by your objective, in addition to the precise workout routines getting used.

Muscular person lying on bench performing barbell triceps exerciseCredit: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Isolation (single-joint) workout routines just like the two-dumbbell kickback or single-arm pushdown don’t sometimes accommodate very heavy hundreds as a result of correct approach turns into unmanageable. A concentrate on growing quantity is usually simpler for these sorts of workout routines.

Compound (multi-joint) workout routines just like the close-grip bench press and dip do permit you to safely and effectively work as much as heavier hundreds finally, so long as you by no means sacrifice kind for the sake of extra weight.

How to Warm-Up Your Triceps

Warming up the triceps is about getting ready the muscle for the stimulus of the exercise. It’s additionally about getting ready the joints, particularly the elbow joints, as a result of they are going to be considerably labored in every train.

Person in gym performing triceps exercise with cablesCredit: Ranta Images / Shutterstock

Light weight, high-rep isolation workout routines are one efficient option to put together your elbows for intense triceps coaching. Focus on warming up with workout routines which don’t put the arms into an extreme stretch. As the warm-up progresses and your arms are higher ready, regularly enhance the vary of movement and number of workout routines.

For instance, warming up with rope pushdowns for one to 2 units of 20 reps will be safer and extra joint-friendly than performing the dumbbell overhead extension for a similar units and reps.

Don’t Tri Too Hard

Triceps coaching shouldn’t overwhelm your exercise program, it ought to complement it, like a stable bass line in any nice track. It is likely to be understated and easy, but it surely delivers the products and retains you on monitor. If you dial issues up too laborious and hit the tri’s with an excessive amount of work, you’ll invite potential damage, compromise the remainder of your plan, and your identify may as nicely be Mud.


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