When it comes to building big arms, for most people – it’s just all about the biceps. Well, they don’t realize, the biceps are a smaller muscle group compared to the triceps. This is why building big triceps is one of the little-known “secrets” to building big arms.
There are a number of tricep exercises that can build the triceps, with many focusing on a broad range of muscles in the arm. However, there are some specific top tricep exercises that target primarily the triceps and deliver the best results.
The Absolute Best Workout For Triceps – Best 5 Tricep Exercises For Size
You don’t need to do fifty types of triceps exercises to build great arms. Here is a quick run down on 45 minutes best triceps workout for mass program that you should be doing once a week for building big, horseshoe tris & muscular triceps that your colleagues will admire! And they are as follows…
If I were to do just one triceps exercise, it would be either the close-grip bench press or weighted dip. They both emphasize the lateral heads of the triceps and also give a little boost to your chest development.
(i) Lie back on a flat bench. Using a close grip (with the hands no more than a foot apart), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position.
(ii) As you breathe in, come down slowly until you feel the bar on your middle chest.
Just Fitness Tip: Make sure that – as opposed to a regular bench press – you keep the elbows close to the torso at all times in order to maximize triceps involvement.
(iii) Just before you touch the bar to your chest, bring the weight back to the starting position as you breathe out – by pushing the bar and using your tricep muscles. Lock your arms in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again.
Just Fitness Tip: It should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up.
(iv) Repeat the movement for the recommended number of repetitions. When you are done, place the bar back in the rack.
Caution: If you are new at this exercise, it is recommended that you use a spotter. If no spotter is available, then be conservative with the amount of weight used. Also, never let of the bar drift too far forward.
Variations: You can also do this exercise with an e-z bar using the inner handle as well as dumbbells. In case of dumbbells, the palms of your hands should be facing each other.
Sets: 3; Reps: 12-15
There are two types of dips you can do: the bench and upright dip. I prefer the upright dip because it’s easier to load with weight and involves the shoulders and chest more, but both are good for training the triceps – both types will enhance the muscle by providing resistance. Mostly the people do dips using their own body weight, though additional weight can be added in the both types of dips.
(i) To get into the starting position, grip the bars and hold your body with your arms extended and nearly locked above the bars – bending your knees if there is not sufficient clearance below.
(ii) Keeping your torso upright, descend slowly your body until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.
Tip: Your torso should remain upright and your elbows should stay close to your body. This helps to recruit tricep muscles in a better way.
(iii) Using your triceps, press on the bars to extend your arms until you return to the starting position. Do not lock out the elbows at the top of the exercise.
(iv) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions
Variations: More advanced lifters can increase the resistance by using a weight belt.
Sets: 3; Reps: 12-15
Also known as Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Press, this is one of my favorite triceps exercises. It’s especially good for targeting long head of the triceps and lets you safely press heavy weight and overload the triceps. For this exercise, it’s important to use a seat or weight bench of some kind with an adjustable seat for back support.
(i) Sit down on a bench with back support, pick an appropriate dumbbell and hold it with both hands. Raise the weight up overhead at arm’s length,
Tip: A better way is to have somebody hand it to you, especially, if it is very heavy. The resistance should be resting in the palms of your hands with your thumbs around it. This will be your starting position.
(ii) Keeping your upper arms close to your head (elbows in) and perpendicular to the floor, lower the resistance in a semi-circular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps.
Tip: The upper arms should remain stationary and only the forearms should move. Breathe in as you perform this step.
(iii) Using your triceps, raise the dumbbell back overhead to the starting position so that the arms are fully extended. Breathe out as you perform this step.
(iv) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
(a) You can also do this exercise standing but this puts strain on your back, especially, if you are using heavy dumbbells.
(b) Another variation is to use an EZ or straight bar instead, in which case you will be holding the bar from the inside (around 5 inches between both hands) with the palms facing forward (pronated grip).
Sets: 3; Reps: 12-15
It has been a bodybuilding staple for decades because it’s simple and effective. This fundamental favorite isolates intense stress on the triceps, especially the medial and outer heads.
(i) Taking a narrow over hand (pronated) grip in the middle of a moderately weighted e-z bar (my preference) or a straight bar barbell lie on your back on a flat exercise bench.
(ii) Keep your feet on the sides of the bench on the floor to provide balance.
(iii) Extending your arms straight up, raise the bar in front of you at arms length.
Tip: The arms should be perpendicular to the torso and the floor. The elbows should be tucked in. This is the starting position.
(iv) While breathing in and with your upper arms and elbows remaining motionless throughout the set, slowly bend your elbows allowing the barbell to travel downward in a semicircular arc until it slightly touches your forehead.
(v) While breathing out, reverse direction of the movement of the bar using only triceps strength to slowly straighten your arms up back to the starting position.
(vi) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
Caution: This is an exercise that you need to be very careful with when choosing the weight. Also, if you suffer from elbow problems this exercise might be too harsh on your elbows, so you may need to look for a substitute.
Variation: You can use dumbbells as well to perform this exercise in which case the palms of the hands will be facing each other as opposed to facing forward. You can also use different grip widths, doing them seated, or using a decline or incline bench.
Sets: 3; Reps: 12-15
This is the most common triceps exercise that people do and, surprisingly, it’s quite good. This basic movement stresses the entire triceps muscle complex, particularly the outer and medial heads. I prefer to do it at the end of my triceps workout routine, after I’ve done heavier work on the compound movements given in this list. I also prefer the V-bar and straight bar attachments more than the rope.
(i) Attach a straight, angled or V bar to a high pulley and grab with an overhand grip (palms facing down) at shoulder width.
(ii) Standing upright with the torso straight and a very small inclination forward, bring the upper arms close to your body and perpendicular to the floor. The forearms should be pointing up towards the pulley as they hold the bar. This is your starting position.
(iii) Using the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs and the arms are fully extended perpendicular to the floor. The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your torso and only the forearms should move. Exhale as you perform this movement.
(iv) Pause for a second at the contracted position, and then bring the bar slowly up to the starting point – keeping your upper arms locked at your sides and your back straight with only a very small inclination forward. Breathe in as you do this part of the movement.
(v) Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.
Variations: There are many variations to this exercise. For example you can use an E-Z bar attachment or a V-angled bar that allows the thumb to be higher than the small finger. Also, you can attach a rope to the pulley as well as using a reverse grip on while using the bar.
Sets: 3; Reps: 12-15
It’s recommended not to include all of these exercises in each and every workout you do. By interchange them from training to training with some of other best triceps muscles building exercises, you can maintain the stimulus high and also not allow your muscles to get adapted. Such constant change in your triceps workout plan is what needed to avert a plateau and help push your strength levels to new extremes. So, do make sure you are making use of a good variety.
Have I missed any of your’s favorite tricep exercises? Please share with me. I will include them in my next triceps building workout post.