The Best Triceps Workouts for Muscle, Strength, and More | Breaking Muscle

Ask 10 lifters to call the physique half they’re coaching on any random day, and also you’ll most likely hear some acquainted solutions — chest, again, arms, biceps, perhaps even legs. However only a few will say they’re working triceps. There’s generic “arm day,” which incorporates the triceps. However they hardly ever get a highlight, and that’s a mistake.

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The tris are a powerhouse muscle, accountable for shifting heavy hundreds through the extra well-liked bench press and overhead press. In addition they cowl extra floor space on the higher arm, making them extra accountable for growing arm dimension than the extra well-liked biceps. It’s time to place the triceps centerstage and provides them the eye they deserve.

Greatest Triceps Exercises

Greatest Triceps Exercise With Dumbbells

Coaching with dumbbells is an efficient approach to scale back joint stress as a result of the arms are in a position to transfer freely with out being locked right into a strict vary of movement. As a result of many triceps workout routines can irritate the elbow joint on account of leverage, utilizing dumbbells is one widespread different.

The Dumbbell-Solely Triceps Exercise

This all-dumbbell plan builds dimension and energy within the triceps with out the necessity for a completely outfitted health club, versatile cable stations, or a wide selection of kit.

Man lying down performing triceps exercise with dumbbells
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With an excellent set of dumbbells and a bench, you may work all three heads of the triceps with minimal joint pressure.

Impartial-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell Cranium Crusher

Single-Arm Overhead Extension

Greatest Body weight Triceps Exercise 

Bodyweight exercises typically target larger muscle groups like the chest, back, and legs because the majority of bodyweight movements involve multi-joint exercises primarily emphasizing those larger body parts.

However, certain exercise variations or specific exercises can emphasize the triceps while associated muscles, like the chest and shoulders, work in a supportive role.

Triceps Size and Strength Without Weights

This bodyweight-only triceps workout uses push-up variations to adjust the body’s leverage, which makes the triceps the primary muscle recruited.

Choose any one of these exercises to plug into a more complete upper body or full-body workout, or perform the entire workout as part of a triceps-focused training day.

Tiger Bend Push-Up

Dip with One-and-a-Half Reps

Close-Grip Push-Up

Best Triceps Workout for Muscle Mass

Big arms are a popular goal for many, if not most, lifters in the gym. However, over-focusing on building the biceps is an inefficient and ineffective plan for arm size.

Muscular person lying on bench performing barbell triceps exercise
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One common anecdote shared in gym locker rooms is, “triceps account for 66% of your arm size.” This well-meaning statistic is as arbitrary as it is widespread. However, the moral behind it is solid. The triceps muscle does have the potential for a greater impact on overall arm size compared to the biceps because it’s anatomically larger, even before weight training’s muscle-building stimulus.

More Size for Your Tris

For maximum muscle growth, the triceps need to be worked with the upper arm in a variety of positions relative to the torso. (2) As a result of assorted attachment factors of the three heads of the triceps muscle, full improvement is achieved by working with the higher arm alongside the torso (pointed down), perpendicular to the torso (pointed ahead), and above the torso (pointed up).

Rope Pressdown

  • The right way to Do it: Connect a rope deal with to a high-cable pulley. Take the rope with each palms and pull your elbows to your sides together with your palms roughly chest-level. Maintain your knees barely bent and your torso upright. Press your palms towards the bottom for a whole contraction. Pause for one second within the backside place. Don’t enable your elbows to maneuver ahead when decreasing the burden.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8-12
  • Relaxation time: 30 seconds between units.

Dumbbell Overhead Extension

  • The right way to Do it: Sit upright on a bench holding one dumbbell with each palms above your head. Maintain your core tight whereas decreasing the burden behind your head towards the bench. Your elbows ought to level ahead, not flare out to the perimeters. Within the backside place, your triceps ought to be stretched and your palms ought to be close to the again of your neck. Elevate the burden slowly, sustaining a forward-elbow place.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 10-12
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds between units.

EZ-Bar Cranium Crusher

  • The right way to Do it: Maintain an EZ-curl bar with a moderate-width (neither shut nor broad) overhand grip. Sit on a flat bench. As you lie again, “kick” the burden right into a locked out place above your face. Decrease the burden in direction of the bench behind your head and permit your elbows to maneuver barely as you bend your arms. Relaxation the burden briefly within the backside place earlier than returning to the beginning place.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 10-12
  • Relaxation time: No relaxation earlier than shifting to the subsequent train.

EZ-Bar Shut-Grip Bench Press

  • The right way to Do it: Stay mendacity on the bench whereas holding the identical weight in the identical hand place because the earlier train. Start together with your arms locked straight above your chest. Decrease the burden till it touches your decrease chest. Maintain your elbows near your sides, not pointed away out of your physique.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x AMRAP (As many repetitions as potential till muscular failure.)
  • Relaxation time: 90 seconds relaxation earlier than returning to the earlier train.

Greatest Triceps Exercise For Energy

Triceps energy is important for all urgent workout routines, in addition to offering stability throughout pulling workout routines. Constructing stronger triceps will carry over to total-body strength, so time spent focused on stronger tris is time spent focused on a stronger body.

Triceps-Focused Strength Workout

While some lifters approach triceps training as assistance exercises performed with lighter weights and higher reps, training the tris specifically for strength using more traditional strength and power-focused sets, reps, and loads can yield more direct improvements in overall strength.

Person in gym performing weighted exercise on dip bars
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It is important to note that training priorities should always be respected. Recovery and progress may be compromised if you try to focus on bench and/or overhead strength as well as triceps-specific strength simultaneously. Taking several weeks to prioritize the triceps before re-prioritizing chest or shoulder pressing is a more efficient long-term plan. 

Close-Grip Bench Press

Weighted Dip

  • The right way to Do it: At a dip station, bounce into the highest place with locked arms. Maintain your head up and your torso upright. Decrease your self below management so far as your shoulder mobility permits. To emphasise triceps recruitment, hold your elbows pointed backwards, not flared to the perimeters. Use a dip belt or weighted vest for added resistance.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 6-8
  • Relaxation time: Three minutes between units.

Partial Overhead Press

  • The right way to Do it: In an influence rack, start in a shoulder press place holding a barbell with an overhand grip at roughly collarbone-height. Maintain your knees barely bent and your core tense as you press the burden overhead to full lockout. Decrease the burden to eye-level earlier than urgent to full lockout once more. On every repetition, carry the burden no decrease than your eyes to extend triceps recruitment and reduce shoulder activation. 
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8-10
  • Relaxation time: Two minutes between units.

The Triceps Muscular tissues

The triceps muscular tissues will not be one of the well-liked physique components, however they play an lively position in numerous higher physique workout routines and a extra supportive position in lots of decrease physique workout routines.

Right here’s a extra in-depth have a look at how the triceps perform and the way they are often most successfully skilled.

Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii, or triceps, are composed of three separate muscle heads working in unison to increase the elbow, or straighten the arm. The lengthy head, medial head, and lateral head all connect just under the elbow.

muscular person in gym flexing triceps
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The medial head and lateral heads originate on the higher arm, whereas the lengthy head connects to the scapula (shoulder blade). (4) As a result of the lengthy head crosses the shoulder joint, it serves an added perform in serving to to regulate motion of the arm on the shoulder.

This shoulder perform permits the lengthy head to be extra extremely activated when the arm is introduced overhead throughout triceps workout routines, as in overhead extensions.

Triceps Heat-Up

An intensive warm-up is important for optimizing efficiency and minimizing joint pressure. A triceps warm-up ought to contain the encompassing musculature (chest, again, shoulders, and biceps) in addition to the triceps instantly. 

person outdoors exercising with resistance band
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Right here’s a easy and efficient resistance band warm-up to start any triceps exercise.

Triceps Band Heat-up

  • Band Pull-Aside: Take a palms-down grip on a resistance band. Start together with your arms prolonged in entrance of your chest. Maintain your arms almost locked whereas pulling your palms consistent with your shoulders. The band ought to contact your chest earlier than returning to the beginning place. Carry out 15 reps earlier than shifting to the subsequent train.
  • Band Chest Press: Safe the band to a steady level roughly chest-height. Face away from the anchorpoint. Take one finish of the band in every hand. Press straight forward till your arms are locked out in entrance of your shoulders. Carry out 15 reps earlier than shifting to the subsequent train.
  • Band Curl: With the band nonetheless anchored at chest-height, flip round and seize one finish of the band in every hand. Step again and prolong your arms straight. Curl your palms in direction of your face with a thumbs-up grip whereas preserving your elbows at shoulder-height. Carry out 15 reps earlier than shifting to the subsequent train.
  • Band Pressdown: Maintain one finish of the band in every hand and step ahead. Pin your elbows to your ribs. Straighten your arms to full lockout together with your palms close to your waist. Return your palms to chest-level. Carry out 15 reps earlier than returning to the primary train. Do a complete of two units of the whole circuit.

Tri to Focus

Don’t let your triceps be overshadowed, figuratively, by different physique components. They’re ignored, quietly working alongside their extra attention-grabbing counterpart, the biceps.

The tris solely step into the highlight when it issues most, whether or not it’s serving to you lock out a bench press PR or fill out your shirtsleeves. It’s time to carry them entrance and heart, select a focused coaching plan, and spend time giving them the eye they’ve been lacking.


  1. Oshita, Kazushige. (2021). Impact of inside focus of consideration with touching cue on the agonist muscle exercise throughout train. 10.14198/jhse.2021.16.Proc2.04.
  2. Kholinne E, Zulkarnain RF, Solar YC, Lim S, Chun JM, Jeon IH. The completely different position of every head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. 2018;52(3):201-205. doi:10.1016/j.aott.2018.02.005
  3. Lehman G. J. (2005). The affect of grip width and forearm pronation/supination on upper-body myoelectric exercise through the flat bench press. Journal of energy and conditioning analysis, 19(3), 587–591.
  4. Tiwana MS, Sinkler MA, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Higher Limb, Triceps Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Accessible from:

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