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How to get Tantalizing Triceps

Sep 12, 2016 • By • 53 Views

I don’t understand why you see photos of people kissing their biceps to symbolize strength.  I guess Colin Kapernick is helping that along now. 

The tricep is where it’s at.  It makes up 2/3 of the arm.  It’s bigger and stronger than the bicep.  Dare I say, that the arm would be nothing with without the tricep.  The tricep makes the arm. 

It’s mostly responsible for the extension of your arms.  It does support the latissimus dorsi (lats, back) in some lifting when the elbows are close to the body.  It also helps aide the chest in some movements. It is uniquely shaped and wraps around the arm.  Due to its shape and size, the tricep needs to move through the full range of motion to see benefits around all three heads of the muscle.  A variety of arm-extending exercises will work best to fully form the tricep.

Below are some exercises and tips to get your triceps to bulge.


I’m sure these got their name because someone dropped a barbell on their skull.  It’s risky but worth it.

  1. Lie on your back on a weight bench.
  2. Using a barbell, stabilize the weight directly above your shoulders.
  3. Bend the elbow.  Carefully drop the weight down toward your forehead.
  4. Extend the elbow to return to the starting position.

Form Reminder:  Keep your elbows directly over your shoulders during the entire exercise.

Rope Pressdown

This exercise is usually performed with a cable machine.  You can also use resistance bands to push out those muscles.

  1. Attach a rope to a high pulley.
  2. Grasp the rope with your palms facing each other.
  3. Push the rope down toward the ground using your triceps.
  4. When you near your thighs, press the pull the hands away from one another and angle your palms toward the floor.  Return to start.

Form Reminder:  Use only your triceps to press down to isolate the mucle.  Stand with correct posture and engage your core for stability.

Pronated dumbbell extension

This exercise is my go to if I know I want to feel the burn for days in my triceps.  I like to do it on the decline bench.

  1. Grip dumbbells with palms facing each other.
  2. Lie down on your back.
  3. Bend the elbow.  Move the dumbbells down toward your ears.
  4. Extend the elbow to return to the starting position.

Form Reminder: Don’t arch your back. Make sure your elbows stay over your shoulders during the lift.

Close Grip Bench

This is one of my favorite presses to do until failure.  I feel like I use all of my upper body strength to support the push my triceps are putting behind the weights.

  1. Lie flat on your back
  2. Grip the barbell about shoulder width apart.
  3. Bend your elbows until they are parallel with the floor.
  4. Extend your elbows to return to the starting position.

Form Reminder: Engage your core to provide a stable base and prevent injury.


Dips can be performed either on a bench or using parallel bars.  Dips performed on a bench will give you concentrate on your triceps more than bars.  Both variations are effective for building the triceps.

  1. Place a bench behind you and stand facing away from it.
  2. Place your hands on the bench with your fingers pointing toward you.
  3. Bend at the waist and extend your feet out.
  4. Push up to extend your elbow.

Form Reminder: Don’t over extend.  Your upper arms should ever fall below parallel to the floor.

Kick backs

Sorry to disappoint, but this has nothing to do with relaxing.  Kickbacks are a great exercise to make it easy to utilize the full range of motion.

  1. Grip a dumbbell with your palms facing your body. 
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a slight bend in the knee.
  3. Bend slightly at the waist.
  4. Press your pinky toward the ceiling until your arm is parallel with the floor.
  5. Bend the elbow for full range of motion.

Form Reminder: Keep your elbow as close to your torso as possible to fully target the tricep.

Close Grip pushup

For me this is the most challenging of the pushups.  That’s what makes them my favorite.  I always keep them in rotation.  It’s one of the best exercises to give your triceps a good workout.

  1. Get into push up position.
  2. Move your hands so that your wrists align with your shoulders.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to the ground.
  4. Push up and extend your elbows.

Form Reminder: Keep your elbows as close to you torso as possible.  Tighten your abdominals and maintain and straight and even back.

Overhead tricep extensions

I see the most gains when I do these with a rope and a cable system.  They can be done using free weights as well.  All variations are effective at building tricep muscles.

  1. Attach a rope to a low cable pulley.
  2. Face away from the cable pully.
  3. Grasp the ropes with your palms facing each other.
  4. Extend your arms over your head.
  5. Bend your elbows until your arms are parallel to the floor.

Form Reminder: Stand with a strong base and correct posture to prevent lower back pain.

Tricep exercises burn more calories than other arm exercises.  Since the tricep is the largest muscle in the arm, using them takes more fuel and burns more fat.

Choose 3 or 4 of the exercises to add to your workout.  Don’t forget to change up your workout every 4 to 6 weeks.  Lucky for you, I gave you plenty of exercises to choose from. Using the exercises to build your triceps will have you well on your way to tank tops and gym selfies.

About the Author

Makayla Leazott Makayla Leazott

Content Curator, at The Adulting Guru. MaKayla enjoys sharing her knowledge with others to help them be happy and fit. As a Personal Trainer...

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