The arms are the most sought after muscles when it comes to both appearance and strength. Your biceps and triceps take a large majority of your arms. As attractive as it is to train your biceps and you should. The triceps are a far larger muscle group than your biceps. They make up about 2/3 (70%) of your arm’s total mass. This means that the growth potential is more as well. The more you train your triceps. The bigger your arms will get. The more those T-shirts sleeves get filled. So, without further ado, let’s get down to the top triceps exercises.
The Triceps Pushdown (GYM).
The No#1 on this list and by far the most effective triceps builder is the triceps pushdown. This movement, although it works your shoulders as a secondary muscle, mostly emphasizes your triceps. Doing this exercise with proper form not only burns your triceps more than any other exercise would, but you do so with less weight. You can use whatever extension you prefer. However, the rope extension is more optimal and provides more range of motion as you are able to cross it across your elbows for more triceps engagement.
Since the movement is mostly triceps, it’s extremely difficult to use heavier weights on the machine. Since people aren’t used to using them in our day-to-day life. They turn out to be the weakest muscles. However, do not let that discourage you. The more you train it, the bigger your arms. The more your overall strength, sky rockets.
To perform this movement, stand with your core engaged, chest up and shoulders back. Your feet anchored to the ground and your glutes squeezed. Keep your elbows fixed slightly in front of the body. Now extend your elbows all the way down but without moving them backwards from their position. If you still end up moving them backwards, then reduce the weight as it might be too much for you. You cannot use the chest and the shoulders for assistance as this movement is meant for your triceps.
Triceps Kickback (Home).
The triceps kickback is an amazing home alternative to triceps pushdown and only requires a pair of dumbbells that can be done using both hands simultaneously or individually. It replicates the range of motion of the triceps pushdown. However, you’re bound to use your back a little more as the gravitational pull of the weights is downwards as compared to the triceps pushdown machine which pulls the weights upwards. None the less, the triceps kickback is one of the best triceps exercises when it comes to building triceps, both at home or at the gym.
The way to perform this movement is to bend forward while keeping your abs flexed. Flex your thighs and plant your feet in the ground but keep them slightly bent. bring Bring the dumbbells close to your chest with your elbows bent. Now extend your elbows while keeping their position fixed. It’s performed similar to how you would do a triceps pushdown ass shown above.
Cable Overhead Extension Rope (Gym).
The cable overhead extension is one of the best triceps exercises. As long as you know how to perform it., the triceps require training with proper form. Every muscle should be trained with proper form. However, Triceps are one of the trickiest muscle group to train. As people tend to bring their shoulders and chest in to the movement, trying to lift more weight or squeeze in extra reps than then should or can.
The way to perform this movement is by standing with your feet planted and core engaged. Bring the rope across your head with your elbows bent. This will be the starting point of the exercise. Now extend your elbows and, at the peak of the pull, flex your triceps. Using the rope extension is a must if you need more range of motion and triceps contraction.
If you can’t flex your triceps yet because your just starting out, it’s fine. Over time, you will be able to build mind muscle connection and be able to do so. You should feel the burn on the triceps doing each rep. Do 5 sets of 8-10 reps or 10-12, whatever maxes you out per set. Just know you need to not be able to do a single rep in proper form and that counts as one set. To know more about developing mind muscle connection you can refer here. mind-muscle-connection-how-does-it-increase-muscle-gain.
Dumbbells Overhead Extension (Home)
Although the gravitational pull is downwards, the dumbbells overhead extension is one of the best at-home alternatives to cable overhead extension. Doing this movement standing up allows you to put more strength into your reps. Stand with your core flexed and feet planted. Place the dumbbell in one hand and get into the starting position (left image above) and extend your elbow at shoulder width (parallel). Be careful of choosing weights for this exercise.
This exercise does involve your shoulder and the heavier the weight, the more stress it places on your shoulder. You can place one hand on your shoulder while doing the exercise with the other for support. But this does not mean that you try to lift more than your triceps can take. Doing more will make this a shoulder exercise which this movement is not optimal for.
Standing Or Lying Down Barbell Skull Crushers (Gym )
There is no shortage of triceps exercises, but the skull crusher is an excellent triceps exercise when it comes to building horseshoe triceps. There are two variations to this exercise, both effective on their own. Doing skull crushers standing allows you to put more force into your lift and push due to the force you can drive from the ground using your feet. However, if you have a bad lower back or it’s not just as strong yet. You can do this exercise lying down on a bench, as shown below.
The movement is identical to the first. To perform this movement while standing, you need to grab the barbell with a pronated grip and then get it above you at shoulder width as shown in the image above. Now bring the weight down slowly behind you and stop just above your ear level and then push it back up to the starting position.
For the seated version, you start with the bar held parallel to your upper chest and from there you let it go down but over your forehead. To add more range of motion to this exercise, you can tweak the starting position to be at a 70° degree angle. This makes the barbell positioned above your head. Now, from here, do the same movement and go all the way down behind your head as you would standing up.
Standing Or Lying Down Dumbbells Skull Crushers (Home)
Skull crushers can be done with dumbbells as well. The increased range of motion as well as the ability to train both triceps individually makes it an effective isolation exercise. You can use a pair of dumbbells, one for each hand or use a heavier dumbbell to hold in one hand. The way to perform this exercise is exactly the same as the barbell.
However, if you are using a single heavy dumbbell, stand with your feet planted and hold the dumbbell in the starting position (left-image above). Hold the dumbbell between both your hands using your palms and the space between your thumbs and index fingers to hold the weight. Now perform the movement the same way as you would on a barbell.
To do this movement lying down, you can choose to do it with a single heavier dumbbell or two moderate ones in each hand. It’s, however, advised to use a pair of dumbbells that aren’t as heavy until you’re comfortable with the exercise. Doing the same movement lying down with a single heavier dumbbell can be risky if your not careful and especially if your new to the gym and weights.
- The triceps are 70% of your arms train them and you will notice the difference in both arm musculature and strength.
- Bodyweight triceps exercises do work but they lack the progressive overload you need to build bigger triceps. That’s where the free weights come in.
- You can do all of these triceps exercises on the day you train your triceps or pair them with other workouts that you prefer.
- The lying dumbbell skull crusher is effective but risky due to how heavy it can be. Do not attempt it unless you’re an experienced lifter.
- Here are our top picks on how to build a bigger chest more optimally. Read best-chest-exercises-how-to-build-your-chest-fast.
- Here is our top 3 shoulder exercises for bigger shoulders. Read top-3-shoulder-exercises-to-build-bigger-shoulders
- If you want to increase your push-ups fast. 5-ways-you-can-increase-your-push-ups-fast
- Here are our top picks of exercises for building more muscle mass. Read top-exercises-for-building-muscle-at-the-gym-or-home