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Triceps Exercises for Strong and Sculpted Arms

Strong triceps contribute to better performance in activities like pushing, lifting, and throwing, making them invaluable for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Triceps exercises help you achieve a well-rounded physique and promote functional strength and stability in your arms and shoulders.


This article unveils the top 10 triceps exercises that will transform your arms and help you achieve your desired well-defined, muscular look.


Triceps Anatomy


The triceps, also known as triceps brachii, is a large three-headed muscle located on the posterior side of the upper arm. It accounts for almost two–thirds of your upper arm’s mass and is responsible for the extension of the elbow joint and straightening of the arm. The three heads of the triceps include:


Long Head 


It is the largest and most prominent of the three heads. It originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (shoulder blade) and runs down along the inside of your arm closest to your body on the back of the arm.


Since the long head is the largest, it is responsible for most of the muscle’s bulk and contributes to overall arm extension.


Lateral Head


The lateral head is the strongest. It arises from the posterior surface of the humerus bone and joins the long head towards the elbow joint. The lateral head releases a high amount of force, extending the elbow joint and providing overall stability to the arm during movement.


Medial Head


The medial head is the smallest of the three heads, originating from the posterior surface of the humerus but closer to the groove for the radial nerve. It is situated at the back of your upper arm beneath the long head and above the elbow. Although it is the smallest, it does most of the lifting.


The three heads merge into a single tendon known as the triceps tendon, which attaches to the olecranon, a bony prominence at the back of the elbow, allowing the triceps to extend the forearm.


Regular strength training exercises that target the triceps, such as triceps dips, push-ups, and extensions, can help develop and strengthen this muscle group, contributing to arm strength and overall upper-body stability.


Benefits of Strong Triceps


Strong triceps provide several benefits in terms of aesthetics and functional movement. These benefits include:

Enhanced Performance


Working out, sports, and other activities, such as throwing, punching, and pushing movements, require arm strength. Strong triceps can enhance your performance in these activities by giving you better speed, accuracy, and force generation.


Stabilizes Shoulder Joint


The strong triceps, biceps, and other muscles help maintain the stability of the shoulder joint and the entire upper body. This improves posture and balance during various exercises, such as weightlifting and activities requiring upper body strength. They also reduce the risk of shoulder injuries.


Improves Muscle Definition


Strong triceps add mass and shape to the back of the upper arm, creating a visually appealing look and enhancing muscle definition, which is essential for bodybuilders as it gives them confidence and boosts self-esteem.


Improved Functional Movements


Daily activities involving extending the arm such as writing, opening a heavy door, or lifting objects, rely on the strength of the triceps. Strong triceps help perform these functional movements more easily and with less effort as they provide energy.


Injury Prevention


By providing stability and support, strong triceps can help prevent certain injuries or minimize the risk of strains, sprain, and overuse injuries, particularly those related to the shoulder and elbow joints.



Top 10 Triceps Exercises


Below are 10 triceps workouts for strong and sculpted arms: 


1. Triceps Dips


Triceps dips are simple yet highly effective workouts isolating and effectively working on triceps, shoulder, and chest muscles.


There are various variations of triceps dips, including bench and machine dips. You can perform them on parallel bars, benches, or dip stations, depending on the one you choose. Furthermore, they are versatile; therefore, you can pump up the load by adding weight.


To perform a triceps dip, stand between the parallel bars or sit on a chair or bench if available. Place your hands on the bars, ensuring they are shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower, and firmly extend your legs in front of the floor.


Lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms parallel the ground. Maintain a slight forward lean and keep your elbows close to your body.  Once you reach the bottom position, push yourself back up to the starting position by extending your arms. Repeat the desired number of repetitions.


2. Skull Crusher


Skull crusher, also known as lying triceps extension, targets the long and the lateral heads of triceps muscles, helping to develop overall triceps strength and size. It has several variations, including dumbbell skull crusher, EZ skull crusher, bench skull crusher, and band skull crusher. But the most common variation is the bench skull crusher.


To perform the workout, lie on a bench or floor facing up with your legs firmly on the floor bent at the knees. Hold a pair of dumbbells and lift the weight towards the forehead by bending your elbow while keeping your upper arm stationary. At this point, you should feel a deep stretch in your triceps.


Without moving your elbow, reverse the movement and extend your arms to the starting position, fully contracting your triceps. Repeat.


3. Close Grip Bench Press


Unlike traditional bench presses, close grip bench press stresses more triceps, especially the lateral and medial heads. It also engages the shoulder and chest muscles.


To do a close grip bench press, lie on a flat bench, grip the barbell with your hands closer than shoulder-width apart, and lower the barbell from the rack to your chest, keeping your elbow at 45 degrees angle closer to you.


Firmly plant your feet on the floor and push the weight back up to the starting position, focusing on engaging your triceps. Repeat.


4. Close Grip Push Up 


Close grip push-up is a variation of the traditional push-up. Unlike traditional push-ups, this is done with hands inside the shoulders and elbow tucked in to produce high muscle activity. It targets the triceps, shoulders, and chest muscles.


To perform the workout, assume a push-up position with your hands close together, underneath your chest. With your core engaged, lower your body until the chest is close to the ground by bending your elbows and keeping them close to your sides, and then push yourself back up.


5. Underhand Triceps Kickback


Unlike the normal dumbbell kickbacks, underhand kickback uses momentum and prevents swinging, leading to better isolation of the triceps.


To do the workout, stand and hold a dumbbell in each hand and hinge forward at the waist until your body is parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight.


Bend your elbow slightly and your palm facing outward. Keeping your upper arms against your side, extend your elbow straight back until they are perpendicular to your body. Return to the starting position and repeat.


6. Cable Triceps Pushdown


Cable triceps, also known as triceps pushdown, is a great isolation workout, targeting all three heads of the triceps, especially the lateral and medial heads. Like many other workouts, cable push-down has several variations, such as cable rope push-down, cable straight bar push-down, and cable V bar push-down.


To do cable triceps pushdown, begin by standing and facing a cable machine. Hold a straight bar or rope attachment, depending on what the machine has, with an overhand grip and hand shoulder width apart. Adjust the robe or the bar to your chest level—the cable is slightly above your head.


Brace your abdominals, keep your elbows close to your sides, feet slightly apart, and your upper arms stationary throughout the movement.


Push down the bar or rope by fully extending your arms, but not in a locked position. Keep your elbows close to your torso and upper arms stationary, and bend your knees to the pushdown. As you push, keep your back straight. Exhale and slowly return the bar or rope to the starting position, allowing your elbows to bend while keeping tension in your triceps.


7. Overhead Triceps Extension


Overhead triceps extension targets the long-head triceps muscle. You can do it using a dumbbell or kettlebell while standing or seated. To do overhead triceps extension, stand or sit with a dumbbell or barbell held above your head with your arms fully extended.


Slowly bend your elbows, lower the weight (dumbbells) behind your head as much as possible, and then extend your arms to the starting position.


8. Diamond Push Up


Diamond Push-Up is an advanced variation of traditional push-ups you can do anywhere. It emphasizes various muscle groups by recruiting smaller muscles to make the workout more challenging.


With its narrow placement of the hands, you put more loads on your hands, engaging the triceps more than the chest, making it suitable for a bodybuilder wanting to gain triceps strength and muscle definition.


To do a diamond push-up, assume a push-up position with your hands close together beneath your shoulders, forming a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs.


To maintain the diamond shape, bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest center meets your hands at sternum level, then push back up.


9. Triceps Stretch


It is a great workout as it stretches your triceps before a workout and also serves as an excellent indicator of your shoulder mobility.


To stretch your triceps, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise one arm above your head, keeping it close to your ear. Bend the elbow of the raised arm and reach your hand behind your neck, towards the opposite shoulder blade, with your palm facing downwards.


With your other hand, palm facing out, reach behind your back, and try to grasp the fingers of your bent arm. Pull your bent arm downward, using your other hand to increase the stretch.


Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds while maintaining relaxed breathing. Release the stretch and repeat on the other side.


If you cannot reach your fingers or your shoulders lack mobility, you can use a towel or strap to bridge the gap between your hands.


10. Triceps Pullover


The pullover exercise primarily targets the chest muscles (pectoralis major) and back (latissimus dorsi). While it may not directly isolate the triceps, it can still contribute to their development, improve strength and boost coordination between them and upper back muscles.


Lie on a flat bench with your head positioned at one end and plant your feet firmly on the ground, creating a stable base.


Grab a dumbbell or barbell with both hands, holding it above your chest. Use an overhand grip with your palms facing down.


Hold the bar overhead and lower the weight in a controlled manner towards your head by bending your elbows. Keep your arms extended and maintain a slight bend in your elbows.


Continue lowering the weight until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders. You can go as far as comfortable while maintaining control. Reverse the movement by raising the weight back up to the starting position.




From the classic triceps dips that engage multiple muscle groups to the isolating skull crushers and the versatile cable pushdowns, there is a wide range of exercises to choose from to grow your tricep.


Each exercise provides unique advantages, whether building triceps strength, enhancing arm aesthetics, or improving overall upper body stability.


Take your arm training to the next level and unveil those sculpted triceps by incorporating these workouts into your workouts.





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