The Best Exercises for Building Perfect Triceps

The secret to building bigger arms isn’t working on your biceps all the time, it’s targeting your triceps more often. That’s because your triceps are made up of three separate muscles – the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head – and together they account for 75% of your arms. Consequently, to build perfect triceps, it’s critical to work them at an assortment of angles using various combinations of exercises. Although every triceps exercise call on all three heads, some work one head more than the others. In here, we present you with the top triceps exercises you can utilize in your workout routines to build bigger, stronger arms that will work well and look great.

1. Triceps Bench Dips

Target:  All three triceps heads

Bench dips are the best triceps exercise for overall development. It’s a compound move that hits all three heads of the triceps. And being a compound move, bench dips allows you to use heavier weights and a larger range of motion, both of which are crucial in creating the greatest muscle contraction to build big thick well-developed triceps.

How to do it:

Position two benches a few feet apart and parallel to each other. Sit on the middle edge of one bench facing the other. Place your hands just outside your hips on the bench, cupping it with your fingers. Place your heels on the opposite bench and press yourself upward so your body forms an “L” in the top position. After a partner places a weight plate on your lap, slowly lower your glutes toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles. Pause, then forcefully press yourself back up to the start position. If you don’t have a partner, sit on one bench and set the weight on your lap, then put your hands in position. Next, place one foot at a time on the opposite bench before you press upward onto your hands and move your glutes off the bench. At the end of the set, sit back up on the bench and remove one foot at a time from the opposite bench.

How to use it:

Perform this exercise first in your triceps exercise routine, when your muscles are fresh. Follow this compound exercise with isolation movements like pressdowns and lying or seated overhead triceps extensions. Complete 3-4 sets in which you reach failure at 6-12 reps. Rest between 90-120 seconds between sets

2. Close-Grip bench press

Target:  All three triceps heads

The close-grip bench press is another great move for building triceps mass and strength. It’s a compound exercise that allows you to use heavier weight than other triceps exercises, allowing you to overload the muscle fibers and instigate greater muscle growth. For variety, try the reverse-grip bench press which is great for targeting the lateral head and minimizing the medial head.

How to do it:

Start: Lie faceup on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp the bar with a narrow (about shoulder-width) overhand grip. Press and hold the bar above your chest with your arms extended. Lower the bar to your lower chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Don’t bounce the bar off your chest; rather, when it approaches an inch or so away from your chest, pause and press it back up to the start position. Squeeze your triceps and chest at the top.

How to use it:

Do close-grip bench press first in your triceps workout. Be sure to do several warm-ups sets before going heavy. Follow this exercise with triceps-extension exercises like pushdown or skull-crusher. Do 3-4 sets of 6-10, resting 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Overhead dumbbell extension

Target:  All three triceps heads (emphasis on long head)

The overhead extension is awesome for building size and thickness in your triceps. By raising your arms overhead, you stretch the triceps’ long head, meaning it can contract more strongly than when your arms are fixed by your sides. While you can do this movement one arm at a time, here you use both hands and go heavier with only one dumbbell.

How to do it:

Start: Sit erect on a low-back bench, feet flat on the floor or on the footpads. Grasp the inner plate of a dumbbell with both hands and hold it overhead at full arm extension, keeping your elbows alongside your ears. Wrap your thumbs around the bar. Keep your head straight and your lower back pressed into the back-pad. Bending only at your elbows, lower the weight behind your head until your arms form 90-degree angles. Hold for a brief count, then press back up to full arm extension and squeeze your triceps hard at the top.

How to use it:

Do lying triceps extension as a second or third exercise in your triceps workout, when you are still fairly strong. Follow dumbbell overhead extension with some form of triceps pushdown. Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

4. Lying triceps extensions

Target:  All three triceps heads (emphasis on long head)

Lying Triceps Extensions or skull crushers is another for building size and thickness in your triceps are also. Lying Triceps Extensions provides a great range of motion which allows you to generate optimal muscle fiber activation in the triceps long head. For variety, this exercise can be performed on incline or decline or using cables.

How to do it:

Lie faceup on a flat bench with your back flat and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Holding an EZ bar-bar with a narrow grip, push it to arm’s length; this is the start position. Keeping your upper arms rigid, bend your elbows, and slowly let the bar move toward your forehead. Stop just short of the bar touching your head. Press with your triceps to move the bar back up to the start position.

How to use it:

Do lying triceps extension as a second or third exercise in your triceps workout, after compound moves like bench dips and close-grip bench press. Follow lying triceps extension with some form of triceps pushdown and overhead extension. Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

5. Dumbbell Kickback

Target:  All three triceps heads

Dumbbell kickbacks are simply the best triceps exercise for adding detail to your arms and providing a great finishing pump. Although it is typically done with light, research shows that it creates the highest levels of muscle fiber activation besides bench dips. For variety, also try the cable kickback which keeps a constant tension in your muscle fibers throughout the movement.

How to do it:

Grasp a light dumbbell with one hand and place your other hand on a stable surface. Lean forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor and stagger your feet. Raise your upper arm to parallel to your torso and keep it pressed into your side. Keep your back flat. Holding your upper arm in place, raise your forearm straight back to full extension. Don’t allow your elbow to drop as you return to the start position.

How to use it:

Do triceps dumbbell kickbacks at the end of your triceps workout. Select a weight that you can easily manage as well as hold and squeeze at the top of each rep. Complete 12 reps for two sets, then drop the weight slightly and do two more sets of 15 reps, keeping the rest between sets to 60 seconds or less.

6. Triceps pushdown

Target:  All three triceps heads (emphasis on lateral head)

The triceps pushdowns is one the most efficient isolation exercises you can use for improving the size and strength of your tricep muscles. It’s also an excellent move to begin your triceps workout, the press-down begins filling your arms with a good pump to warm up the joints and prepare the triceps for battle. For variety, try different grips or use a rope attachment to a different bar. Moving your hands closer together places more emphasis on the lateral head of the triceps. Spacing them more than shoulder-width apart works the long and medial heads. A reverse grip involves more of the triceps’ medial head. switching the bar changes the angle changes to activate different muscle fibers, a key for muscle growth. An example of this would be using the V-bar to hit the outer part of the triceps, the rope to hit those hard to reach fibers deep within the triceps muscles.

How to do it:

Attach a handle of your choice on a high-pulley cable and grasp the handle with an overhand grip, shoulder-width apart. With your knees slightly bent, lean forward at the waist and position your elbows close to your sides, holding your forearms parallel to the floor. Look forward, keeping your back flat and your abs tight. With your elbow locked at your sides throughout the set, flex your triceps and press the bar toward the floor until your arms are fully extended. Squeeze your tri’s and hold for a brief count before returning to the start position.

How to use it:

Do triceps pushdowns at the end of your triceps workout. Choose a weight with which you can complete 12 reps for two sets, then drop the weight slightly and do two more sets of 15 reps, keeping the rest between sets to 60 seconds or less.

The Workout

1 Comment

  1. Hunain says:

    How to train only tricep long head

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