Everyone wants big arms it seems, and spend an awful lot of time on their biceps and they often seem to forget all about the other parts of their arm. And this is bad news for anyone who wants halfway decent arms as the biceps aren’t even the most important muscles in the area.
While you might not think it, actually your triceps should be the largest muscles in your arms and are supposed to take up 2/3rds of your arm. So if you’ve got apples in your arms when you tense but you still look skinny the rest of the time then that’s probably because you forgot about your triceps. Shame on you for being so vein… =)
So in other words the triceps are very important if you want your arms to look good and if you want your musculature to look good full stop. So how do you make sure that they look the part? Here we will look into how you can build impressive triceps in the gym or at home with a range of varied and effective exercises.
Tricep Exercises Using Weights
Tricep Kickbacks: The tricep kickbacks are one of the most basic and popular tricep exercises and all you need to get started with them is a dumbbell set on a very light weight. Now what you are going to do is to lean over or lean against a wall, and hold the weight in one hand so that your upper arm is parallel to the ground and your elbow is bent at a right angle with the dumbbell hanging down. Now what you are going to do is to pivot your arm at your elbow so that you lift the dumbbell out backwards and straight your arm. If you can’t get the weight up high enough then your weight is too heavy – better technique is more effective here.
Tricep Push Downs: Tricep push downs are exercises where you push down on a handle to lift up weights on a pulley system. The most common way to achieve this is by using a cable crossover station, but you can also use a lat pull down or even a pull up bar with some rope over it attached to a handle and some weights on the other end.
Tricep Extensions: Tricep extensions involve doing pretty much the same movement as kickbacks but while your arm is bent back over your head. Hold the dumbbell with one arm so that it is behind your neck (while standing straight) and then simply straighten out your upper arm in order to lift it directly up and work the tricep at the same time.
Dumbbell Runners: This one I got from Sylvester Stallone’s book ‘Sly Moves’ and it’s one that he recommends highly (and the man has good triceps!). Basically what you need to do is to hold a dumbbell in either hand, and then to move your arms as though you were running in slow motion (imagine you’re on Baywatch).
Tricep Cable Pullover: These are not to be mistaken for regular pullovers on the bench. Here you stand in front of a cable machine like the cable crossover or the lat pull down, and you hold the handle behind your head and extend your arms to lift the attached weights while pushing forward with your bodyweight. It’s similar to the tricep extensions but I find it more convenient.
Tricep Exercises Using Your Bodyweight
Tricep Dips: Tricep dips are the easiest bodyweight exercise and most popular for training your triceps. Here you simply place your palms facing forward onto a bench behind you while you have your legs extended straight. You are then going to lower your buttocks down to the floor by bending at the arms and raise yourself again.
Tricep Dip Variations: Tricep dips on their own though are a little too easy so there are some ways you can make them more difficult. One way is to place a weight on your lap to force yourself to push against more resistance, while another is to put your heels up on something high up that’s opposite you (like another bench) in order to be able to dip down lower and work your triceps in an extended range of motion. My particular favourite though is the one armed tricep dip which of course is like lifting twice as much. It seems hard at first but the solution is to just spread your weight out more by having your legs further apart. You can also do a compromise by keeping your other hand on the bench for stability but just dipping down lower on one side. What I like to do is to do as many one armed dips as possible on each side then immediately finish off with a flush set of normal tricep dips.
Other Exercises That Work the Triceps
These exercises work triceps as the ‘major’ muscle group being targeted, but there are many other ways that you can train your triceps when you are actually focussing on other muscle groups – and pretty much that means anything that’s a pushing movement. Bench press then for instance will work the triceps as well as the pecs, as will press ups and regular suspended dips. If you want to target the triceps more than the pecs then you can accomplish this by moving your hands in closer together – wider works the outer pecs while closer works the triceps.