18 Best Tricep Exercises For Bigger Arms, Strengh and Stamina

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Julien Raby

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Your triceps are essential for more than just impressive arms.

Find out how they play a crucial role in overall upper body strength and daily functionality. Discover why focusing only on your biceps could be limiting your fitness potential, and learn about the unexpected ways strong triceps benefit your athletic performance.

tricep exercises
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This article guides you through effective tricep exercises, each promising significant gains. Get ready to transform your workout routine and witness a remarkable change in your strength, stability, and metabolic rate.

Why You Should Train Your Triceps

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fitness, sport, bodybuilding and people concept – young man doing triceps dip exercise on parallel bars in gym

Engaging in tricep workouts is not just about sculpting impressive arms; it’s a commitment to overall upper body strength and functionality. Triceps, often overshadowed by the biceps, are crucial for complete arm development and play a pivotal role in everyday activities as well as athletic performance.

Enhanced Upper Body Strength

The triceps are fundamental in pushing movements. Whether you’re pushing a door or performing a bench press, strong triceps make these tasks easier. Enhanced tricep strength translates to improved performance in various sports, from basketball to swimming. (Source) (Source)

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Balanced Arm Muscle Development

Focusing solely on biceps can lead to muscle imbalances. Training your triceps ensures symmetrical arm development, promoting not only aesthetic appeal but also reducing the risk of injuries.

Boost in Functional Movements

Triceps are involved in several functional movements, including lifting objects overhead or throwing. Strengthening them improves your ability to perform these daily tasks with ease.

Increased Joint Stability

Strong triceps support elbow joint stability. This is particularly important for athletes involved in throwing sports or activities requiring repetitive arm movements.

Elevated Metabolic Rate

Like any resistance training, working on your triceps helps build lean muscle mass, which in turn can boost your metabolic rate. This means you’ll burn more calories even at rest, contributing to overall body composition and health.

How to Train your Triceps

A study aimed to investigate the effects of resistance training exercises performed at different muscle lengths on the muscle strength and architecture of the triceps brachii. The key findings of this research include:

  • Strength and Architectural Adaptations: The study found that resistance training at either short or long triceps brachii fascicle lengths led to similar adaptations in muscle strength and architecture during the initial six-week period of training.
  • Implications for Training: These findings suggest that the length at which triceps brachii exercises are performed may not significantly impact the initial adaptations in muscle strength and architecture. This indicates that a variety of exercises, regardless of the muscle length at which they are performed, can be effective for developing triceps strength and altering muscle architecture.
  • Relevance for Training Programs: The study’s results are relevant for designing resistance training programs, suggesting that incorporating a variety of triceps exercises, without specific focus on the muscle length, can be effective.

So, in short, you should train your triceps with different exercises. Here are the best ones:

Compound Movements

Bench Press

Bench Press
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The Bench Press, a staple in strength training, is not just a chest exercise; it’s a fantastic way to enhance tricep strength and size. What sets it apart in targeting the triceps is how the muscles engage, especially during the lockout phase of the press.

How to do it:

  1. Start Position: Lie flat on a bench, feet planted firmly on the floor. Grip the barbell with hands just wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Lowering the Bar: Slowly lower the barbell to your mid-chest, keeping your wrists straight and elbows angled slightly away from your body.
  3. Engaging the Triceps: Push the barbell up powerfully. As you approach the top of the movement, focus on extending your arms fully. This part of the motion is where your triceps work the hardest.

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

The Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press brilliantly emphasizes the triceps, thanks to the neutral grip. This grip reduces shoulder strain, making the triceps work harder.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other.
  2. Extend your arms above your chest.
  3. Slowly lower the weights towards your chest, keeping elbows close to your sides.
  4. Press the dumbbells up, focusing on the triceps.

Close-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

This variation intensifies tricep activation. The closer grip forces the triceps to bear more weight than in a standard bench press.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on a bench holding dumbbells at chest level, hands no wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Keep elbows tucked as you press the weights up.
  3. Lower the dumbbells slowly, maintaining control.

Dumbbell Floor Press

Dumbbell Floor Press
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The floor press uniquely limits motion, thus maintaining tension on the triceps throughout the exercise.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the floor holding dumbbells above your chest.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower the weights until your upper arms touch the floor.
  3. Press the dumbbells up powerfully, engaging the triceps.

Isolation Movements

Dumbbell Skull Crushers

Dumbbell Skull Crushers
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Dumbbell Skull Crushers are a tricep isolation classic. Their effectiveness stems from the freedom of movement, allowing a deeper stretch and contraction in the triceps.

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How to do it:

  1. Lie on a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended above you.
  2. Keep your elbows stationary, hinge at the elbows to lower the dumbbells beside your head.
  3. Extend your arms back to the starting position, focusing on the tricep muscles.

EZ Bar Skull Crushers

The EZ Bar Skull Crusher is unique in its use of the EZ bar, which provides a more comfortable wrist position and a varied angle of resistance for the triceps.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on a bench with an EZ bar held above your chest, hands close together.
  2. Lower the bar slowly towards your forehead, keeping elbows fixed.
  3. Extend your arms, pushing the bar up through your triceps.

Dumbbell Kickbacks

Dumbbell Kickbacks
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Dumbbell Kickbacks are phenomenal for targeting the tricep in isolation. The movement ensures that your triceps are working against gravity at the peak contraction point.

How to do it:

  1. Bend forward at the waist, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keep your upper arms stationary, hinge at the elbows to extend your arms back.
  3. Return to the starting position with control.

Alternating Tricep Kickbacks

This variation adds a twist by alternating arms, which allows for focused concentration on each tricep individually.

How to do it:

  1. Lean forward with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Kick one arm back at a time, fully extending at the elbow.
  3. Alternate arms, maintaining a steady rhythm and form.

Overhead Dumbbell Extensions

Overhead Dumbbell Extensions
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Overhead Dumbbell Extensions excel in providing a full range of motion, which stretches and strengthens the triceps.

How to do it:

  1. Stand or sit, holding a dumbbell with both hands behind your head.
  2. Keep your upper arms still, extend your elbows to raise the dumbbell.
  3. Lower the weight back slowly, feeling the stretch in your triceps.

Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

The seated position in this exercise ensures that the triceps are isolated, minimizing the involvement of other muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a bench, holding a dumbbell with both hands overhead.
  2. Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  3. Extend your arms, pushing the dumbbell up with your triceps.

Dumbbell JM Press

Dumbbell JM Press
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The Dumbbell JM Press combines elements of a skull crusher and a press, providing an intense workout that hits all parts of the triceps.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on a bench, holding dumbbells with a neutral grip.
  2. Lower the weights towards your shoulders, slightly tucking your elbows.
  3. Press the dumbbells back up, engaging the triceps throughout the movement.

Single Arm Tricep Reach Exercise

This exercise allows for concentrated work on each tricep separately, ensuring balanced development and strength.

How to do it:

  1. Stand or sit holding a dumbbell in one hand, arm overhead.
  2. Bend your elbow to lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  3. Extend your arm, focusing on contracting the tricep muscle.

Triceps Pressdown

Triceps Pressdown
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Triceps Pressdowns are perfect for targeting the tricep muscles specifically, using a cable machine for consistent tension.

How to do it:

  1. Stand in front of a cable machine with a bar attachment.
  2. Grip the bar with hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your elbows fixed to your sides and press the bar down.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position, controlling the weight.

Bodyweight & Plyometric

Bodyweight Plyo Diamond Cutter Pushup

Bodyweight Plyo Diamond Cutter Pushup
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This plyometric variation of the classic pushup adds an explosive element, intensifying the work on the triceps and increasing muscle activation.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a pushup position with your hands forming a diamond shape.
  2. Lower your body to the floor.
  3. Explosively push up, lifting your hands off the ground.
  4. Land softly and immediately go into the next pushup.

Bench Dips

Bench Dips can be done almost anywhere, using your body weight to effectively work the triceps.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench or chair, hands next to your hips.
  2. Slide off the bench, supporting your weight with your arms.
  3. Lower your body by bending your elbows.
  4. Push back up, focusing on using your triceps.

Dumbbell Upright Dip

Weighted Tricep Dips
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This exercise modifies the traditional dip to be performed with dumbbells, enhancing tricep isolation.

How to do it:

  1. Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower your body, keeping the dumbbells close to your sides.
  4. Push back up to the starting position, focusing on the triceps.

Renegade Rows

Renegade Rows are a multifaceted exercise that not only works the triceps but also strengthens the core, making it a functional and effective movement.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a plank position holding dumbbells.
  2. Perform a row with one arm, keeping your body stable.
  3. Alternate arms, while maintaining a strong plank position throughout.

Narrow Grip Dumbbell Press (Hex Press)

Hex Press
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The Hex Press, with its narrow grip, intensifies the focus on the triceps, offering a unique variation to the traditional dumbbell press.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on a bench, holding two dumbbells together above your chest.
  2. Lower the dumbbells towards your chest, keeping them pressed together.
  3. Push them back up, concentrating on the triceps.

References

  • https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Concurrent-Strength-and-Endurance-Training-of-the-Abernethy-Quigley/537ef9b63779bf8c548840c57e4a0bed74bcb259
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346271433_Physiological_Responses_to_Agonist-Antagonist_Superset_Resistance_Training
  • https://www.mdpi.com/2411-5142/3/2/28

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About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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