There is nothing worse than bulking up your arms and forgetting about your triceps. Whether you’re pushed for time or going heavy at the gym, we’ve collected the best tricep exercises around, no matter where you’re working out.
Believe me, after these tricep exercises you’re certainly gonna feel the burn!
Let’s dive in.
Classic press-ups are great for your upper arms and you may find that if you mix up the types of press-ups you do, you’ll be able to complete more of them.
To start, get yourself on all fours and support your body weight on your toes and hands, with your arms extended and hands in line with your shoulders. From your shoulders, to your hips and down to your heels, your body should form a straight line.
Then, slowly lower your chest to the ground, keeping your elbows by you sides. Once you’re almost at the ground, push back up through your arms and return to the starting position.
Repeat for approx 10 reps a set to begin with and increase as you improve.
Now the diamond press-up is very similar to a standard press-up, but instead of your hands being in line with your shoulders, you bring them together and form a diamond with your thumbs and index fingers.
Top tip: Ensure that you keep your elbows close to your sides whilst doing this exercise. This is so you know you’re working your triceps as hard as you possibly can.
If you want to build up that power in your triceps, then this is the move you need to be doing.
Start in the standard press-up position and make sure your core is engaged. Lower yourself down to the ground and then push up hard. Then, as your body comes up, lift your hands from the floor and clap, before quickly placing them back down to avoid hitting your face on the ground.
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Again, we’d recommend around 10 reps per set.
To do this move you’re going to need to have two flat benches parallel to each other, about 1 to 1.5 metres apart (depending on your height). Then place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the bench and your heels and the edge of the bench opposite you.
With your body close to the bench, slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are in line with your shoulders. To get back to the starting position, push yourself back up, squeezing through your triceps.
Top tip: Remember not to lock your elbows are the top of this exercise!
Usually, tricep kickbacks are done with a cable machine. However, you can also effectively do these with dumbbells. This may actually benefit you as it allows you to work each arm individually, helping you to work on any strength imbalance in your triceps.
For this exercise, start on the left side of a bench with your right hand and right knee resting on it. With the dumbbell in your left hand as well as looking forward and keeping your back straight, tuck your arm close to your torso. Then, bend at the elbow to form a 90 degree angle with your upper and forearm.
Lift the dumbbell up behind you, using only your elbow, until your arm is fully extended. Hold that for a moment and then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
Repeat this move for however many reps you like, we’d say 10-12 and then switch to the other arm.
Overhead tricep extension
Again, this move can be done with both dumbbells or a cable machine. Start by holding a dumbbell above your head, with your arms extended.
Then, with your elbows tucked close to your ears, bend at the elbow and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head and then fully back up to the top.
Repeat for 10-12 reps a set.
Lying tricep extension
If you’re someone that goes to the gym often, you could place a lot of stress on your elbow joints. So, if you’re wanting to do an exercise like tricep extensions or any others where you’re flexing you elbows; consider using dumbbells as they allow for more movement.
For this move, start by lying on a flat bench, elbows facing forward and a dumbbell in each hand above your head. Then, flex at the elbow and lower the dumbbells down towards your shoulders. To return to the start, engage your triceps and extend your elbows until they are back overhead.
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Top tip: Again with this one, remember not to lock those elbows so you don’t lose tension in your muscles.
Cable tricep extension
Now the clue is in the name for this one, but for this move, you will need to use a cable machine.
For the cable tricep extension, attach a rope to the bottom pulley of the cable machine. Then face away from the machine and hold the rope with both hands with your palms facing each other. Extend your arms until they are above your head, your elbows should be close to your head and knuckles pointed towards the ceiling.
Next, slowly lower the rope behind your head as you hold your upper arms steady. For this move, inhale on the movement, pause when your triceps are fully extended and then exhale as you return to the starting position.
We’re going to put this one in the slightly more advanced category, because even though it sounds simple, it is certainly not for a beginner.
To start, lie back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms extended up in front of you. Whilst you get used to this exercise, it’s probably better to opt for a lighter weight so you can get the correct form of the move first.
Keep your arms still throughout and bend slowly at the elbows, lowering the weights towards your forehead. Then engage those triceps and raise the dumbbells up, back into the starting position.
For the skullcrusher, you could also use a barbell or an EZ-bar, however, there is a higher risk of losing control with these. If you want to use an EZ-bar, it’s probably best to do it once you’ve mastered the move.
Again with a cable machine, attach an angled or straight bar to a high pulley and hold with an overhand grip (palms facing down) and hands shoulder-width apart.
Stand upright, keep your back straight and core engaged. Then, bring your upper arms close to your body and your forearms should be facing up. Using those all-important triceps, bring the bar down until it touches your thighs and your arms are fully extended; your upper arms should remain next to your torso.
After holding in this position for a second, slowly bring the bar back down to the starting position. Exhale as you bring the bar down and inhale as you return to the start.
For this exercise, get yourself positioned between the dip bars. Then simply bend your knees, slowly lower yourself down and then press back up.
Make sure to keep looking up, that your body is straight and that your elbows are close to your body so they bend behind you, rather than out to the side.
Lying on your back on a bench again for this exercise. With your hands shoulder-width apart, lift the barbell from the rack and hold it right over you with locked arms. Whilst inhaling, slowly lower the bar until it touches the middle of your chest. Unlike a classic bench press, with the close-grip bench, make sure you keep your elbows close to your chest to maximise the use of your tricep muscles.
Then, pause for a second and press the bar back to the starting position, exhaling as you do. It should take you twice as long to go down that to come up.
It’s highly important that this move is performed correctly to avoid putting too much stress on your elbow joints and causing injury.
Set a bench to a 90 degree angle. Hold the barbell over your head with your elbows facing forwards with a narrow grip. Next, bend at the elbows and allow the weight of the bar to pull your arms back until your forearms are next to your head. Then press the bar back up to the starting position using your elbows.
Top tip: Make sure your movements are controlled and that you keep your elbows in check throughout your workout. Again, to keep the tension in your muscles, don’t fully lock your elbows at the top of the move.
Ready to put your triceps into BEAST mode?
It doesn’t matter where you’re working out, the exercises above will train your triceps for some serious gains.
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