Most people want toned and defined arms but don’t want to spend hours in the gym. The good news is that you can get great results with short, focused tricep workouts.
And, when it comes to working your triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – there are a few essential exercises that you can include in your routine.
What Is A Tricep?
It’s good to get clear on what the tricep is. According to the National Library of Medicine, the tricep is ‘a large, thick muscle on the dorsal part of the upper arm. It often appears as a horseshoe on the posterior aspect of the arm. The main function of the triceps is the extension of the elbow joint.’
Also, its other name is ‘triceps brachii’, which is Latin for ‘three-headed muscle of the arm‘. It’s located on the back of your upper arm and needs a range of exercises to target it well.
Are Triceps Hard To Build?
Triceps are small muscles, so this can make them harder to work. You will need to use very deliberate movements to activate them well.
You should not overwork the tricep. It’s recommended that at least twice a week with space in between.
What Kind of Tricep Workouts You Should Be Doing
A published study showed that if you want to increase the size of small muscle groups, then you should do it at the start of your workout.
The tricep and the bicep need each other to function correctly. So, you want to make sure you’re doing exercises that target them individually, and as a pair.
The Top 9 Tricep Workouts
1. Tricep Pull Down
The tricep pull down is an excellent exercise for building total arm strength and size.
It also engages the muscles in your core, back & shoulders. This helps create an excellent total body workout that’ll get you beach ready!
To do it, you’ll need access to a cable machine.
- Step in front of the machine and grasp the attachment with your palms facing down
- Slowly extend your arms down until they are fully extended
- Pause for a second before slowly returning to the starting position
2. Tricep Dip
This tricep dip is a simple exercise. It works your upper arms and has been proven to:
- build muscle mass
- decrease fat levels on our body’s surface area (which means more sleek lines)
- improve balance
- and avoid common injuries like tennis elbow.
To do this exercise
- Place your hands on a bench or chair with your palms facing down.
- Slowly lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle
- Pause for a second before pushing yourself back to the starting position
3. Tricep Extension
Tricep extension is one of the more popular tricep exercises. It stretches your arms and can be done by reaching behind you with one hand or both.
You will feel this in the front of your body. Extend upward from shoulder height all way down past elbow level.
This is also an excellent stretch for biceps muscles!
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart,
- Hands at sides or behind the head as desired (this will make it easier to keep proper form),
- Curl both arms up towards the side until reaching right above chest level
- Lower back down again
- Repeat this cycle without stopping!
4. Seated / Incline / Laying Overhead Tricep Extension
Seated, incline and laying overhead tricep extensions are all great variations of the tricep extension to extend your arms, shoulders and back.
They can be done at home or in the gym, so there’s no need for any fancy equipment! It takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, but you’ll feel like they were worth it after only one repetition because these tricep exercises target every major muscle group, including quads.
- Grasping the dumbbell with both hands
- Slowly flex your elbows to lower it behind you as if pulling a weightlifter in motion
- Keep an upright posture and extend out arms for another repetition of this move.
5. Dumbbell Row
A dumbbell row is one of the best tricep workouts for developing your triceps.
This exercise primarily works your back and engages your biceps and shoulders, making it a great all-around exercise.
To do a dumbbell row, you will need two dumbbells.
- Lean over with your torso parallel to the floor
- Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders.
- With your palms facing your thighs, row the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso
- Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together
- Lowering the weights back to the starting position.
6. Bench Dips
Bench dips are an excellent exercise for the triceps and can be done with a partner or weightlifting belt for added resistance.
You’ll feel this in your chest, shoulders and triceps. It is excellent for overall upper body development!
- Sit on the edge of a bench, table, chair or sturdy box with your hands gripping the edge on either side of you.
- With your feet together, scoot your butt off the edge of the bench so that your hands and feet now support your weight.
- Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower yourself toward the floor until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
- Pause for a second before pushing yourself back to the starting position.
7. Tricep Kickbacks
The tricep kickback is an isolation exercise that targets the triceps muscles.
This is one of the tricep exercises performed with resistance bands, dumbbells or cables.
To do this exercise:
- Put one knee on a gym bench (including your shin and foot)
- Bend over and keep your torso parallel to the floor
- Try to get hold of the head of the bench with your fingertips
- Position your body facing forward with a weight in one hand.
- Bend your elbow and raise the weight as far back as you can.
- Keep your back straight and your elbow close to your side.
- Lower the weight and repeat.
8. Diamond Pushups
Diamond pushups are a variation of the standard pushup and work your chest, shoulders and triceps.
They can be done with or without weight and are a great exercise to add to your tricep workouts!
To do diamond pushups:
- Start in the standard pushup position with your hands close together so that your fingers form a diamond shape
- Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor.
- Keep your back straight and your elbows close to your sides
- Push yourself back to the starting position
9. Close Grip Bench Press
Close grip bench presses are an excellent exercise for the chest, shoulders and triceps. They can be done with a partner or weightlifting belt for added resistance.
You’ll feel this in your chest, shoulders and triceps, so it’s excellent for upper body development!
- Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
- Grasp the barbell with your hands close together (about 6-8 inches apart)
- Hold it above your chest with your arms straight
- Lower the barbell to your chest
- Press it back up to the starting position
Exercising the Whole Tricep
The triceps muscles are often neglected, but they play a significant role in arm movement.
These tricep exercises will help you build strength and size in your triceps, giving you the muscular look you desire. Try adding these exercises to your routine and see the results for yourself!