tricep exercises

Build Huge Triceps With These Underrated Exercises

The front double bicep pose is the quintessential test for a good upper body physique. However, when one thinks about anatomy, it’s interesting that this pose stole the show.

After all, the triceps make up a bigger percentage of arm mass. Shouldn’t a tricep pose be a more natural default demonstration of arm size?

Regardless of your thoughts on bodybuilding and which arm muscles should be prioritized, you’d probably agree that having stunning triceps is always a good thing.

Therefore, this article will be dedicated to outlining 5 of the best exercises for serious tricep growth and definition.

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Triceps 101

Triceps 101

When it comes to the muscular system, there are a few key terms that are important to understand. Namely, these terms are:

  • Origin. The origin is essentially where the muscle starts; its stable attachment point.
  • Insertion. The insertion of a muscle is the distal (far away) end of where it attaches. This is usually the point that is moving when the muscle contracts.
  • Action. The action of a muscle is the movement that occurs when the muscle contracts. These movements have specific names such as flexion, extension, and abduction, to name a few.

The “tri” in the name “triceps” refers to the three heads present on this muscle. Each of these three heads has a common insertion at the elbow, but a distinct origin, at various places around the upper arm. 

Because of their origins and common insertion, the main action of the triceps is elbow extension. However, the muscle can also complete shoulder extension and adduction as well. 

Top 5 Exercises for Triceps Growth

To effectively work the triceps, you’ll want to incorporate some multi-joint and single-joint moves. In doing so, you’ll exercise the triceps in isolation, and functionally alongside other muscle groups.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 best tricep exercises!

1. Standing Dips

Standing Dips

Tricep dips are one of the hardest, most versatile, and most beneficial exercises in existence. This movement can be modified in a variety of ways to make it harder or easier. Also, dips emphasize the triceps, shoulders, and chest to a high degree. 

For our purposes, I’ll describe the traditional standing dip on an apparatus you’d find at almost any gym.

How to Perform

  1. Start by standing on the indicated footplates present on the apparatus.
  2. Grasp a handle in each hand and push yourself up so that you are supported only by your arms.
  3. Slowly lower yourself down as far as you can comfortably by bending your elbows.
  4. Once you’ve reached the bottom of your range of motion, slowly push yourself back up into the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 10-12 reps, for 3-5 sets, 2-3 times per week.

2. Bench Press with Close Grip

tricep exercises - Bench Press with Close Grip

The close grip bench press is a terrific variation on the classic bench press. This movement works the chest, shoulders, and, of course, the triceps. Start a little lighter on the weight, as this exercise will be a little bit more challenging than the traditional bench press.

How to Perform

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a bench. 
  2. Grip the bar with both hands, assuming a slightly more narrow grip than usual (this will vary based on your body type and flexibility).
  3. Clear the bar from the rack and slowly allow it to descend toward your chest, keeping your elbows tight to your body.
  4. Once you’ve lightly tapped your chest with the bar, push it back up to the starting position.
  5. Complete 10-12 reps, for 3-5 sets, 2-3 times a week.

3. Overhead Cable Tricep Push

Overhead Cable Tricep Push

If you don’t have a cable machine, you can perform this exercise with bands. Alternatively, you can also complete the exercise using bodyweight resistance on some TRX straps, or another suspension trainer.

How to Perform

  1. Using the rope attachment, grab one side of the rope in each hand, facing away from the cable machine.
  2. Step one foot in front of the other for balance.
  3. Press the rope forward in front of you, such that your elbows are both above and slightly in front of your head. 
  4. Extend your elbows slowly without moving the rest of your arm or your body in any major way.
  5. Allow your elbows to bend to enable you to return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat for 10-12 reps, for 3-5 sets, 2-3 times a week.

4. Lying Triceps Extension

Lying Triceps Extension

The name may sound intimidating, but the exercise is well worth your time! Skull crushers are a great isolation exercise that can help you develop perfect triceps in no time.

How to Perform

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, lie down on your back on a bench.
  2. Push the weights straight up toward the ceiling, as you would at the top of a bench press movement.
  3. From here, slowly allow your elbows to bend such that the weights lower down toward your head (or slightly above).
  4. Do not let the rest of your arms move. At this point, your elbows should be pointed directly toward the ceiling and the weights should be near your forehead.
  5. Straighten out your elbows slowly, pushing the weights back toward the starting position. 
  6. Complete 10-12 reps, for 3-5 sets, 2-3 times a week.

5. Cable Triceps Pushdown

Cable Triceps Pushdown

Much like the other cable exercise described in this article, the cable triceps pushdown can be performed in a variety of ways. An easy alternative, if you don’t have access to cables, is to use bands. 

How to Perform

  1. Using the rope attachment, grab one side in each hand.
  2. With your elbows by your sides, slowly extend your elbows, keeping the rest of your arms stable.
  3. Reverse the motion, bringing the hands back to the starting point, to complete the rep.
  4. Repeat for 10-12 reps, for 3-5 sets, 2-3 times a week.

Common Questions About Triceps Workouts

You’ve got questions about triceps? We’ve got answers about triceps!

What is the optimal triceps workout plan?

In order to build any muscle successfully, you’ll need to practice progressive overload. This is an exercise principle that involves applying a progressively stronger stimulus to a muscle in order to encourage growth.

Therefore, you can perform the 5 exercises as they are listed in this article as part of your triceps workout each week. Just be sure that you are practicing good form, going through the full range of motion, and using more resistance each time (when you are able to do so).

What about pushups?

Pushups are a great exercise for the triceps! If you don’t have any exercise equipment available, or if you just prefer calisthenics workouts, you can use a variety of pushups to grow your triceps. Triangle pushups, sphinx pushups, and classic pushups can all be used to grow the triceps.

How can I build great triceps in a month?

Unfortunately, there is no secret when it comes to building muscle naturally. Muscles develop when there are sufficient nutrients, stimulus (resistance), rest, and water to help them grow. You may not achieve your dream physique in one month, but Rome was not built in a day!

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