Tricep Exercises: The Most Effective Exercises

Tricep Exercises

The triceps muscle of the shoulder is the extensor muscle, consisting of three heads – long, lateral and medial, and occupying the entire back side of the shoulder. It’s about how to download triceps. You can perform triceps exercises in the gym and at home, although some of them still require special equipment.

The triceps is a massive muscle group that occupies about 2/3 of the arm and has serious potential for hypertrophy and increased strength. In the article we will find out which triceps exercises are the most effective and how to properly train this muscle at home and in the gym.

Working muscles: long head tricep exercises

Any triceps exercise somehow involves all three of its bundles:

  1. Lateral.
  2. Long.
  3. Medial.

Working muscles

The more you stretch the triceps – for example, when lowering the barbell or dumbbell during the lying close grip bench press, the more intense the long and medial beams work. If the emphasis of the exercise is precisely on the constant contraction of the triceps, as in the bench press with a close grip, extension of the arms on the upper block or push-ups on the bars , then the lateral beam will work harder.

In all multi-joint basic movements, the load also falls on the anterior bundles of deltoid muscles and pectoral muscles. Also, the press performs static work in almost all triceps exercises.

Tricep workouts at home: Training Tips

A few basic recommendations for doing triceps exercises:

  • Correctly select the working weight and determine the range of repetitions. For massive triceps, combine both strength work (8-12 reps) and pumping (15-20 reps) in your training schedule. But remember that exercise will be ineffective if you do not feel the muscles working. You should feel how the triceps contract and stretch in each repetition
  • Gradually increase the weight of the additional weights when doing push-ups on the uneven bars. This is one of the most traumatic exercises for the elbow joints. It is better to put this exercise closer to the final part of the workout and work with relatively light weight.
  • During the execution of the lying close grip bench press, it is crucial to concentrate on stretching the triceps during the negative phase of movement (when lowering). It should be 2, or even 3 times longer than lifting the projectile up. In other movements, you cannot stretch the medial head as much. Although the emphasis on the negative phase should be done in all exercises for this muscle group.
  • Minimize cheating (swinging of the body) when doing extension of arms on the upper block. The buildup deprives this exercise of any meaning and removes all the load from the triceps of the shoulder muscle.
  • Use all available ways to increase your workout intensity. Triceps is a relatively small muscle group: if you want to see noticeable progress, you need to exhaust it in full. Do partial repetitions after failure, ask your partner to help you make a couple of additional repetitions, “finish” with a small weight after each hard repetition – all this affects greatly on triceps. But do not overdo. This muscle also works actively during training of the chest and deltas. Too many triceps exercises can result in overtraining and lack of growth.
  • Spend your rest time between sets to good use: stretch your triceps. The more flexible your muscles are, the more comfortable it will be for you to perform exercises in full amplitude. It will also improve pumping and neuromuscular communication, stretch the fascia and reduce the likelihood of injury.
  • Experiment with your split program. Triceps can be trained with the chest, back, shoulders or biceps. Choose the option that suits you best, or alternate monthly variations.
  • Breaks between sets should not exceed 1-1.5 minutes. So the blood flow to the working muscles will be maximum, and the muscles will not have time to cool down after an intense load. Perhaps the only exception is the heavy close-grip bench press, where more rest is allowed for recovery.
  • If you train your hands on a separate day, work in supernets – first bulk triceps, and then proceed to biceps. Triceps is a more voluminous and stronger muscle, it needs more heavy load for growth. Therefore, it is advisable to first load it while you are full of strength. In addition, while you are doing biceps, the triceps will rest, so you can reduce your rest time.
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How to do dips at home: Best Triceps Exercises

The more intense your workouts, the more prerequisites for triceps growth you will create. Together with blood, all the nutrients necessary for hypertrophy will fall into a working muscle group.

However, this does not mean that the hand training should last several hours, during which you will have time to do 10 or more exercises. For a full workout of all 3 triceps bundles, 3-4 exercises are quite enough, which will take a maximum of 30-40 minutes. We will analyze the most effective exercises and their features.

Tricep Press: Bench Press for tricep workout

This exercise is basic for triceps muscles. Do not take its name too literally: the distance between your hands should be only a little narrower than the width of your shoulders. This will provide a full triceps reduction and protect against discomfort in the hands, shoulders and elbows.

Throughout the exercise it is important to keep your elbows as close to the body as possible, then the efficiency of this exercise will increase. If it’s hard for you to keep the bar in a level position, do a bench press with a close grip in Smith. This will make the exercise more isolated, as it will reduce the load on the stabilizing muscles.

Bench Press for tricep workout

Close grip bench press for long head tricep

This is one of the best exercises for bulking triceps. It allows you to accentuate the load on the contraction of a long and medial beam, namely they set the visual “massiveness” of the hand. To do this, lower the projectile as low as possible and make a short pause at the lower point.

Remember that such an embodiment of the exercise is traumatic and requires a good stretch, so you need to adequately assess your strength and do not overdo it with working scales. Large weights (from about 50 kg) are also guaranteed to “kill” your elbows. Therefore, this exercise should be put second or third in your program and done as technically as possible.

Most often, the close grip bench press is done lying with a barbell on a horizontal bench:

barbell on a horizontal bench

While performing the exercise in lying position it is best to lower the barbell behind the head, closer to the back of the head. In the initial position, the hands should not be perpendicular to the body, but tilted towards the head at a slight angle. Thus, even in this position (and throughout the entire repetition), the triceps will be tense and we will be able to slightly reduce the weight of the projectile due to this for safety.

Using dumbbells allows you to slightly reduce the load on the ligaments and tendons of the elbow joint, although it becomes a little more difficult to perform the movement. However, due to the closer grip, you can lower the dumbbells even lower and stretch the triceps more:

stretch the triceps more

A good option for a change is to perform the close grip bench press while sitting on a bench or standing. We must not forget not to spread our elbows very apart, and try to keep them at the same level throughout the set:

close grip bench press

Also this group includes extension with one dumbbell with both hands from behind the head. Exercise is similar to the close grip bench press, but throwing and holding a heavy dumbbell will be harder.

heavy dumbbell

A variation of the latter movement is the extension with one hand with a dumbbell from behind the head. This exercise is more often done by girls:

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dumbbell from behind the head

Dips for tricep brachii

This is a multi-joint exercise in which the load is distributed between the pectoral muscles and triceps. To load the triceps muscle of the shoulder, keep the body straight throughout the approach. No forward tilt or rounding of the spine in the thoracic zone. Keep your elbows close to the body, and do not move them apart, otherwise the entire load will shift to the lower pectoral muscles. It will be good if the distance between the bars is only slightly wider than the shoulders.

There is no need to go as deep as possible, this will only lead to discomfort in the shoulder joints and ligaments. Slow down until a right angle is formed between the forearm and the upper arm. When you can easily work out 3-4 sets with your own weight, performing at least 15 repetitions, use additional weighting.

Extension on the block

This is an isolation exercise for local workout of the lateral head of the triceps. Although this is the smallest part of the muscle, it needs to be given no less time than the rest, since it gives the “horseshoe” shape of the triceps. Typically, this exercise completes a hand training.

To ensure maximum blood flow to the triceps muscle of the shoulder, work with light weight without helping your body. Do not forget about the emphasis on the negative phase of the movement. At the time of full extension of the elbow joint, maximize triceps for 1-2 seconds. The number of repetitions is not less than 12. Press your elbows to the ribs throughout the exercise.

To “hook” as many muscle fibers as possible, use all the handles available in your gym and vary grip from wide to close (from workout to workout, and not on the same one). This triceps exercise can also be done in a crossover.

The most common option is extension with a rope:

extension with a rope

Also popular is a straight handle that allows you to take a little more weight:

straight handle

Another interesting option is to extend one hand with a reverse grip:

reverse grip

Long head tricep exercises: Push ups

Triceps is perfectly involved in the work while doing push-ups from the floor with a close setting of hands. This is an ideal exercise for home workouts. To load the lateral triceps bundle even more, spread your hands with your fingers towards each other. The elbows will be turned in different directions, but specifically in this case it will only increase the peak contraction. Also, from time to time it is worth performing plyometric push-ups, they perfectly develop the explosive strength of your triceps.

Push ups

This also includes the reverse push-ups from the bench or any other elevation:

push-ups from the bench

Tricep Press: Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press

This exercise is similar to a regular dumbbell bench press. The difference is that the grip here is neutral, that is, the palms are looking at each other, and not towards the legs. When lowering the dumbbells, try to keep your elbows as close to the body as possible, and not set them apart. In this case, you do not need to touch the shells, keep them at a small distance from each other.

Neutral Grip Dumbbell Press

Long head tricep exercises: Kickbacks

This exercise is a pull back with a dumbbell when the athlete himself is leaning. Kickback can be performed with one dumbbell in turn or with two simultaneously.


The body is almost parallel to the floor. You can lean on the bench or even lie on it with your stomach.

Load progression

We figured out what exercises shake the triceps. However, no set of exercises will give the desired result, if at each training session you do not improve your performance.

There are several ways to do this:

  1. Increased working weights. The method is fundamentally important for basic exercises, but for isolation it is desirable to gradually increase the weight used – of course, without prejudice to the technique. This is done like this: you did 3 sets of bench press with a close grip with a weight of 80 kg in 10 repetitions. In the next workout, try to work out with a weight of 82.5 kg. Most likely, to do 10 repetitions in all sets will not work, but it will be approximately 10-8-6. Keep working with this weight until you can complete 10-10-10. After that, increase the working weight by another 2.5 kg.
  2. Increase the number of repetitions. Suppose you were able to do 3 sets of close grip bench press with a bar in strict technique of 12 repetitions. Weight in this case does not play a role. In the next workout, try to do 13 reps without breaking the technique and without increasing the rest time between sets. Next time – 14, then – 15. After that, slightly increase the weight of the bar, go down again to 12 repetitions and repeat all over again.
  3. Increase the number of sets. When you can easily work out 3 sets in any exercise for bulking triceps, take another set. The number of repetitions and rest time remains unchanged. An increase in sets (within reasonable limits) is a powerful incentive for growth.
  4. Adding new exercises. This technique is only suitable for experienced athletes. If you feel that three or four exercises are not enough to properly pump triceps, add one more exercise to your program. Start with easy isolation, if this is not enough – finish your hand training with the close grip bench press with a barbell or push-ups from the bars with extra weight. Pain the next day provided.
  5. Reduced rest time between sets. At first it will be difficult, but with experience your muscles will become more enduring: you will not lose productivity using the minimum rest time. The blood supply to the muscles will be much stronger.
  6. Increase the number of workouts. This option will help athletes whose arm muscles are stubbornly unwilling to grow. There are many reasons for stagnation, but in most cases more frequent and intensive training successfully solves the problem. Train your triceps twice a week: the first time with your chest, the second with your biceps. You can do easier training in supernets to achieve maximum pumping. This should help you build your arms.
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How to do dips at home: Training program

Any gym has everything you need for a full triceps workout. Specific equipment is not required. A dumbbell row, bench benches, various vultures, a set of discs and a block extension machine can be found even in the old basement.

To evenly load all three bundles and create prerequisites for muscle growth, we recommend using the following scheme:

Exercises Number of sets and reps
Bench Press 4×8-12
Close grip bench press 3×12
Extending arms with dumbbells from behind a sitting head 3×12-15
Hand extensions with rope handle 3×15

To fully train triceps at home will be a little more difficult, as the choice of exercises is reduced. You only need a barbell, a set of discs and collapsible dumbbells. Household bars will also be useful, they are conveniently attached and do not take up much space.

You can bulk triceps at home as follows:

Exercises Number of sets and reps
Sitting close grip bench press with a barbell (if there is no barbell – use a dumbbell or kettlebell) 4×12
Dips 4h10-15
Kikbek 3h10-12
Narrow arms push-ups 4×15-20

During a set of muscle mass (and on cutting too), triceps is most often worked out on the same day with the chest:

Exercises Number of sets and reps
Wide Grip Bench Press 4×12,10,8,6
Incline Bench Dumbbell Bench Press 3h10-12
Push-ups on bars with extra weight (in the chest style) 3h10-12
French bench press with barbell 4×12
Extend your arms with the EZ handle 3×15

Another great option is arm day, when the triceps are combined with the biceps:

Exercises Number of sets and reps
Tight grip bench press 4×10
Biceps Barbell Lifting 4h10-12
Close grip bench press with barbell 3×12
Scott’s Bench Curl 3h10-12
Kikbek 3h10-12
Hammer bends sitting on an incline bench 3h10-12
Handle extensions 2×20

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