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Nathan DeMetz Personal Training

Build Up Your Arms With Better Tricep Workouts

The Ultimate Guide to Top Tricep Exercises

When it comes to building strong, toned arms, the triceps often take a back seat to the more visibly prominent biceps. However, the triceps brachii make up the majority of the upper arm's muscle mass, playing a crucial role in arm strength and aesthetics. Well-developed triceps not only improve arm appearance but also enhance overall upper body strength and functionality. Here are some of the best exercises to target and effectively develop your triceps.

The Top Tricep Exercises Broken Down

1. Close-Grip Bench Press

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii, chest, shoulders

How to Perform:

  • Lie flat on a bench and grip the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Lower the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows tucked close to your body.

  • Press the bar back up to the starting position, focusing on engaging your triceps.

Tips:

  • Keep your back flat against the bench to prevent injury.

  • Ensure your feet are firmly planted on the ground for stability.

  • Use a spotter if lifting heavy weights to ensure safety.

Benefits:

  • Combines compound movements to engage multiple muscle groups.

  • Allows for heavier lifting, promoting muscle growth and strength.

  • Enhances upper body power, useful for various sports and activities.

2. Tricep Dips

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii, chest, shoulders

How to Perform:

  • Position yourself on parallel bars with your arms straight and legs off the ground.

  • Lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

  • Push yourself back up to the starting position.

Variations:

  • Use a bench for bench dips if parallel bars are not available.

  • Add weight using a dip belt for increased resistance.

Benefits:

  • Utilizes body weight for resistance, making it accessible for many.

  • Effective for building tricep mass and strength.

  • Can be modified for different fitness levels, from beginner to advanced.

3. Overhead Tricep Extension

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii

How to Perform:

  • Stand or sit with a dumbbell or an EZ bar held overhead.

  • Lower the weight behind your head by bending your elbows.

  • Extend your arms to return to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Keep your elbows close to your head to ensure maximum tricep activation.

  • Avoid using too heavy weights to maintain proper form.

  • Perform the exercise slowly to control the movement and engage the muscles fully.

Benefits:

  • Isolates the triceps for focused muscle engagement.

  • Can be performed with different equipment (dumbbells, cables, resistance bands).

  • Helps in improving flexibility and range of motion in the arms.

4. Skull Crushers (Lying Tricep Extensions)

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii

How to Perform:

  • Lie on a bench with a barbell or EZ bar held above your chest.

  • Lower the weight towards your forehead by bending your elbows.

  • Extend your arms back to the starting position.

Safety Tips:

  • Ensure a firm grip on the bar to prevent it from slipping.

  • Use a spotter or perform the exercise with a partner for added safety.

  • Keep the movement controlled to avoid putting strain on the elbows.

Benefits:

  • Provides a deep stretch for the triceps, promoting muscle growth.

  • Highly effective for isolating the triceps, ensuring maximum engagement.

  • Can be easily incorporated into various workout routines.

5. Cable Tricep Pushdowns

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii

How to Perform:

  • Stand facing a cable machine with a high pulley attachment.

  • Grasp the attachment with an overhand grip.

  • Push the attachment down until your arms are fully extended, keeping your elbows close to your body.

  • Return to the starting position with control.

Tips:

  • Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the exercise.

  • Avoid swinging your body; the movement should be isolated to the arms.

  • Experiment with different attachments (rope, straight bar) for variation.

Benefits:

  • Constant tension on the triceps throughout the movement.

  • Adjustable resistance for progressive overload, allowing for muscle growth over time.

  • Suitable for all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes.

6. Diamond Push-Ups

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii, chest, shoulders

How to Perform:

  • Assume a push-up position with your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your fingers.

  • Lower your chest towards your hands, keeping your elbows close to your body.

  • Push back up to the starting position.

Variations:

  • Perform on your knees for an easier modification.

  • Elevate your feet on a bench for increased difficulty.

Benefits:

  • Effective bodyweight exercise that can be performed anywhere, making it convenient.

  • Engages multiple upper body muscles, providing a comprehensive workout.

  • Enhances muscular endurance and strength.

7. Tricep Kickbacks

Muscles Targeted: Triceps brachii

How to Perform:

  • Stand with one knee and one hand on a bench, holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand.

  • Keeping your upper arm parallel to your torso, extend your arm straight back.

  • Return to the starting position with control.

Tips:

  • Focus on keeping your upper arm stationary to ensure the triceps are doing the work.

  • Perform the exercise slowly to maintain control and prevent using momentum.

  • Use lighter weights to start and increase as you build strength.

Benefits:

  • Isolates the triceps for focused muscle engagement.

  • Can be performed with various equipment (dumbbells, cables), offering versatility.

  • Excellent for improving muscle definition and tone.

Additional Tips for Tricep Training


tricep workouts

Consistency and Progression

To see significant improvements in tricep strength and size, consistency is key. Incorporate tricep exercises into your regular workout routine, aiming to train them at least twice a week. Additionally, progressive overload is crucial for muscle growth. Gradually increase the weight or resistance you use to keep challenging your muscles.

Proper Form

Maintaining proper form is essential to prevent injuries and ensure the exercises are effective. Always start with a weight that allows you to perform the movements correctly. Focus on the mind-muscle connection, ensuring you feel the triceps working throughout each exercise.

Variety in Exercises

Incorporating a variety of exercises helps to target the triceps from different angles, promoting balanced muscle development. Use a mix of compound movements, like close-grip bench presses, and isolation exercises, like kickbacks, to fully engage the triceps.

Rest and Recovery

Muscles grow during rest, not during the actual workout. Ensure you provide your triceps with adequate rest between training sessions. This includes getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and following a nutritious diet to support muscle recovery and growth.

Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition plays a vital role in muscle development. Consume a balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to fuel your workouts and aid recovery. Staying hydrated is equally important, as it helps maintain muscle function and overall performance.

Conclusion

Incorporating these top tricep exercises into your workout routine can lead to significant improvements in arm strength and aesthetics. Whether you’re using free weights, machines, or bodyweight exercises, targeting the triceps from different angles and using varied resistance will help you build well-rounded, strong arms. Remember to maintain proper form to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness. With consistency and dedication, you'll be well on your way to achieving impressive tricep development.

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