15 Best Triceps Exercises for Building Muscle

by RawalKhan
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When it comes to achieving well-defined and sculpted arms, triceps exercises play a pivotal role. Your triceps, the muscles located on the back of your upper arms, are responsible for straightening your elbow joint. Developing strong and toned triceps not only enhances your overall arm aesthetics but also improves functional strength for everyday activities. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best triceps exercises, techniques, and tips to help you achieve the arms of your dreams.  

What Are Triceps Muscles?   

Before delving into the world of triceps exercises, it’s essential to understand what triceps muscles are and their role in your arm’s anatomy. The triceps brachii, commonly known as the triceps, is a group of three muscles located on the back of your upper arm. These muscles are responsible for extending the elbow joint, which means they play a crucial role in straightening your arm.  

Importance of Triceps Training  

Why should you prioritize triceps training? Strong and well-developed triceps offer more than just aesthetic benefits. They are essential for various everyday activities, including pushing, lifting, and even basic arm movements. Triceps strength is also vital in many sports, making them a key component of overall upper body strength.  

Benefits of Strong Triceps   

Strong triceps bring about several advantages, including:  

  • Improved upper body strength  
  • Enhanced performance in sports and fitness activities  
  • Better posture and shoulder stability  
  • Reduced risk of injuries  
  • Enhanced aesthetics with toned arms  

Getting Started with Triceps Workouts  

Assessing Your Fitness Level  

Before you embark on a triceps-focused workout routine, it’s crucial to assess your current fitness level. This assessment will help you determine the appropriate starting point and gradually progress to more advanced exercises as your strength improves.  

Choosing the Right Equipment   

Whether you prefer working out at the gym or in the comfort of your home, there are various pieces of equipment you can use for triceps exercises. We’ll explore both gym and home-based options to suit your preferences and accessibility.  

Warming Up for Triceps Workouts  

Warming up is a crucial step in any workout routine. We’ll discuss the importance of warming up before triceps exercises and provide effective warm-up routines to prepare your muscles for action.  

Proper Form and Technique   

Maintaining proper form and technique during triceps exercises is vital to prevent injuries and maximize muscle engagement. We’ll provide detailed instructions and tips to ensure you perform each exercise correctly.  

Triceps Exercises for Beginners  

#1: Triceps Dips 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Triceps dips are a classic bodyweight exercise that targets the triceps and can be performed using parallel bars or a stable surface like a bench or chair.   

Instructions  

  • Lean on the bench or chair’s edge to sit.   
  • As you grab the edge, spread your hands shoulder-width apart.   
  • Slide your hips off the bench, keeping your feet together and legs bent at a 90-degree angle.  
  • You may lower your body till your upper arms are parallel to the floor by bending your elbows.  
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.  

Tips 

  • Keep your back close to the bench or chair and avoid shrugging your shoulders during exercise. 

#2: Push-Ups 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Push-ups are a versatile exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the triceps.  

Instructions 

  • Your hands should be shoulder-width apart as you begin in the plank posture.  
  • To lower your body, bend your elbows while keeping them close to your sides.  
  • Your chest should be almost parallel to the ground as you descend.  
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.  

Tips 

  • Maintain a straight line from head to heels throughout the exercise and engage your core for stability.  

 #3: Triceps Kickbacks 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Triceps kickbacks are an effective isolation exercise for targeting the triceps.  

Instructions 

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.  
  • Leaning forward requires bending your knees slightly and making a hip hinge.  
  • Keep your upper arms close to your sides and extend your forearms back until your arms are fully straight.  
  • Hold for a moment, then return to the starting position.  

Tips 

  • Focus on keeping your upper arms stationary and squeeze your triceps at the top of the movement.  

#4: Standing Triceps Extensions 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Standing triceps extensions are a simple yet effective exercise for beginners.  

Instructions 

  • Hold a dumbbell with both hands, gripping it with both palms facing upward.  
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.  
  • Raise the dumbbell overhead with your arms fully extended.  
  • To drop the dumbbell behind your head, flex your elbows.  
  • Extend your arms to raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.  

Tips 

  • Control the movement and avoid locking your elbows at the top of the exercise.  

#5: Diamond Push-Ups 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Diamond push-ups are a variation of traditional push-ups that place more emphasis on the triceps.  

Instructions  

  • Start in a plank posture with your hands clasped together and your thumbs and index fingers making a diamond shape.   
  • Lower your body by bending your elbows while maintaining tight proximity to your sides.  
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.  

Tips 

  • Maintain a strong core and keep your elbows tucked in for maximum triceps engagement.  

Intermediate Triceps Exercises  

#1: Close-Grip Bench Press 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

The close-grip bench press is a staple exercise for intermediate trainers looking to target their triceps while also engaging the chest and shoulders.  

Instructions  

  • Lay down on a bench and place your feet firmly on the ground.   
  • Your hands should be placed on the barbell at a distance that is smaller than shoulder width.   
  • Bend your elbows to bring the barbell down to your chest.   
  • With your arms fully extended, lift the barbell back up to the starting position.  

Tips  

  • Maintain a stable wrist position and keep your elbows close to your body throughout the movement.  

#2: Triceps Rope Pushdowns 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Triceps rope pushdowns are a popular cable machine exercise that isolates and intensively targets the triceps.  

Instructions  

  • Attach a rope handle to a high pulley on a cable machine.  
  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, face the machine.   
  • Your palms should be down while you hold onto the rope.  
  • Extend your arms downward, fully straightening them.  
  • Return to the starting position by bending your elbows.  

Tips  

  • Keep your elbows close to your sides and maintain a controlled pace throughout the exercise.  

#3: Skull Crushers (Lying Triceps Extensions) 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Skull crushers, also known as lying triceps extensions, are a fantastic exercise for isolating the triceps.  

Instructions  

  • Position yourself on a flat bench and hold a barbell or dumbbells over your chest.  
  • Lower the barbell or dumbbells by bending your elbows, bringing them close to your forehead.  
  • To return the weight to its initial position, extend your arms.  

Tips  

  • Use a spotter if using a heavy barbell and be cautious to avoid hitting your forehead.  

#4: Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdowns 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Reverse grip triceps pushdowns offer a unique angle for targeting the triceps.  

Instructions  

  • A high pulley on a cable machine should be connected to a straight bar. 
  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, face the machine.   
  • Take a firm overhand hold on the bar with your hands facing up.  
  • Extend your arms downward, fully straightening them.  
  • Return to the starting position by bending your elbows.  

Tips  

  • Focus on squeezing the triceps at the bottom of the movement and maintain control throughout.  

#5: Triceps Bench Dips 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Triceps bench dips are a challenging bodyweight exercise that can help build triceps strength.  

Instructions  

  • Position your hands on the edge of a bench or sturdy surface, shoulder-width apart.  
  • Put your heels on the ground and extend your legs out in front of you.   
  • You may lower your body till your upper arms are parallel to the floor by bending your elbows.   
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.  

Tips  

  • Keep your back close to the bench and avoid using your legs to assist in the movement.  

These intermediate triceps exercises will provide a more substantial challenge for those looking to take their triceps development to the next level. As you become proficient in these exercises, you’ll be ready to tackle advanced variations.  

Advanced Triceps Exercises  

#1: Weighted Triceps Dips 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

Weighted triceps dips add resistance to the classic triceps dip exercise, intensifying the triceps workout.  

Instructions  

  • Wear a weight belt with a weight plate attached or hold a dumbbell between your feet.  
  • Perform triceps dips as previously described, with added resistance.  

Tips  

  • Start with a manageable weight and gradually increase it as you become stronger.  

#2: Overhead Triceps Extension 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

The overhead triceps extension is an advanced exercise that targets the long head of the triceps.  

Instructions  

  • Hold a dumbbell or barbell with both hands, palms facing upward.  
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.  
  • Raise the weight overhead with your arms fully extended.  
  • Reduce the weight behind your head by bending your elbows.   
  • To return the weight to its initial position, extend your arms.  

Tips  

  • Use a spotter if using a heavy weight and maintain control throughout the movement. 

#3: Close-Grip Push-Ups 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Close-grip push-ups are an advanced variation of traditional push-ups that place more emphasis on the triceps.  

Instructions  

  • With your hands closely spaced and precisely behind your shoulders, begin in the plank posture.  
  • Keep your elbows close to your sides while bending them to lower your body.  
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.  

Tips  

  • Maintain a strong core and focus on the triceps during the movement. 

#4: Triceps Push-Up Variations 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

Advanced triceps push-up variations include exercises like dive bomber push-ups and Planche push-ups, which require increased strength and stability.  

Instructions  

  • These exercises involve various hand placements and body positions, making them highly challenging and effective for triceps development.  

Tips  

  • Master the basic push-up variations before attempting advanced versions.  

#5: One-Arm Triceps Pushdown 

 

Best Triceps Exercises

 

 

The one-arm triceps pushdown isolates one triceps muscle at a time, providing intense targeting and strength development.  

Instructions  

  • Attach a single-hand attachment to a high pulley on a cable machine.  
  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, face the machine.   
  • Take hold of the handle with one hand, palm down.   
  • Extend your arm downward, fully straightening it.  
  • By bending your elbow, you can get back to your beginning position.   

Tips  

  • Maintain proper form and control throughout the exercise.  

These advanced triceps exercises are designed for individuals who have built a solid foundation of triceps strength and are ready to challenge themselves further. As you progress through these exercises, you’ll notice significant improvements in your triceps size and definition.  

Creating an Effective Triceps Workout Routine  

The Importance of Progressive Overload  

Progressive overload is a fundamental principle of strength and muscle development. It involves gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts over time to continue challenging your muscles. This principle is crucial for triceps growth.  

To apply progressive overload to your triceps workouts:  

  • Increase weight or resistance as you get stronger.  
  • Perform more reps or sets.  
  • Decrease rest periods between sets.  
  • Use advanced exercises to stimulate further growth.  

Sample Triceps Workout Plans  

Below are sample triceps workout plans for different fitness levels. Adjust the exercises, sets, and reps based on your individual goals and preferences. 

Beginner Triceps Workout  

  • Triceps Dips: 3 sets of 10-12 reps  
  • Push-Ups: 3 sets of 10-12 reps  
  • Triceps Kickbacks: 3 sets of 12-15 reps  

Intermediate Triceps Workout  

  • Bench Press with a Close Grip: 4 sets of 8–10 reps   
  • Triceps Rope Pushdowns: 4 sets of 10-12 reps  
  • Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 10-12 reps  

Advanced Triceps Workout  

  • Weighted Triceps Dips: 4 sets of 6-8 reps  
  • 4 sets of 8–10 repetitions for the overhead triceps extension   
  • Close-Grip Push-Ups: 3 sets of 10-12 reps  

Rest and Recovery  

Allowing your triceps to recover between workouts is essential for muscle growth and overall well-being. Aim for at least 48 hours (about 2 days) of rest between triceps-focused sessions. During this time, focus on proper nutrition, hydration, and quality sleep to support muscle repair and growth.  

Nutrition for Triceps Growth  

Protein Intake for Muscle Recovery  

A necessary food for muscle development and repair is protein. Ensure you consume an adequate amount of protein from sources like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and plant-based options like tofu and legumes.  

Aim for a protein intake of approximately 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, depending on your activity level and goals.  

Essential Nutrients for Muscle Building  

In addition to protein, your body requires essential nutrients such as carbohydrates and healthy fats to support energy production and overall health. Include a balanced diet that provides a variety of nutrients to fuel your workouts and promote recovery.  

Hydration for Muscle Health  

Although sometimes disregarded, staying hydrated is essential for healthy muscular function and general wellbeing. Drink plenty of water all day long, but especially before, during, and after your workouts.   

Common Mistakes to Avoid  

  • Overtraining: While consistency in training is essential, overtraining can lead to burnout, injuries, and stalled progress. Allow your triceps muscles sufficient time to recover between workouts and listen to your body’s signals of fatigue. 
  • Improper Form: Using improper form during triceps exercises can increase the risk of injuries and reduce the effectiveness of the workout. Never let lifting heavy weights come before employing the right form and technique.   
  • Neglecting Other Muscle Groups: Balanced muscle development is key to a well-rounded physique and functional strength. Don’t solely focus on triceps exercises; incorporate exercises that target other muscle groups as well.  
  • Lack of Variation: Repeating the same triceps exercises can lead to plateaus in muscle growth. Continuously challenge your triceps by incorporating different exercises and adjusting variables like sets, reps, and weights.  

FAQs

How often should I train my triceps?  

The frequency of triceps training depends on your fitness level and goals. Beginners may start with 2-3 triceps workouts per week, while more advanced individuals can train them 3-4 times a week. Ensure you allow adequate rest between sessions. 

Can I build triceps without weights?  

Yes, you can build strong triceps without weights by using bodyweight exercises like dips, push-ups, and bench dips. Exercises done with the body alone can also be made more difficult by using resistance bands.

Are triceps exercises suitable for women?  

Absolutely! Triceps exercises are beneficial for women and can help tone and strengthen the arms. They do not lead to bulky muscles but instead create definition and strength.  

What are the best triceps exercises for mass?  

For triceps mass, focus on compound exercises like close-grip bench presses and weighted triceps dips. These exercises engage multiple triceps heads and promote growth.  

How long does it take to see results in triceps development?  

The time it takes to see results in triceps development varies from person to person and depends on factors like genetics, diet, consistency, and training intensity. Typically, noticeable improvements can be seen in a few weeks to a couple of months with consistent training.  

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