The best tricep exercises for building muscle and strength are within this page.
Many people who want bigger arms don't realize that the triceps make up the majority of the upper arm.
It's not the biceps that make up the majority of your arm size.
It's really true.
The triceps are much larger than the biceps. Surprised?
Most people are who have never thought about it before. For most people, the triceps make up about 2/3 or 67% of the upper arms. The biceps are left with only about 1/3 or 33% of your upper arm size.
Pretty amazing, huh? This means your triceps are huge compared to your biceps.
Many people also want or need to work on the triceps because it is a problem area where more fat accumulates. Flaps of body fat can develop there easily for many people.
If you want to build muscle in your arms, check out all of the best weight lifting exercises listed below.
All The Best Triceps Exercises You Need to Know
As you can see we have 5 main triceps exercises listed on this page. We're going to tell you all about them and show you how to do each of the weight lifting exercises. Focus on these exercises and put all your effort into getting stronger on every exercise you do within your weight lifting program. This will build the triceps muscles quickly.
#1 Parallel Dips
If you attempt to stay as upright as possible throughout the range of motion on dips, you will put more stress on the triceps to do the work. The more you lean forward during dips, the more stress you place on the chest.
Dips are the absolute best exercise for building strength and muscle in the triceps. The only reason I wouldn't include dips in a weightlifting program is when you don't want to increase chest size. But most people don't have that issue.
Dips also work the chest VERY well so it's a great exercise choice for the triceps and chest. Using dips as a chest exercise in your program can help you prioritize your triceps if they are a weakness for you or you just want to focus on them for another reason.
Please don't attempt to add weight to dips until you are ready. If you can't currently do body weight dips, use resistance bands to help you as shown in this video:
Notice how the band decreases overall resistance for you by helping to lift your body weight. This helps you get stronger and stronger on dips when you can't yet do a body weight dip. As you get stronger, you'll eventually need a hip belt to add more resistance to your body weight!
Again, dips are one of the 7 core weight lifting exercises here at WLC for a very good reason… they are one of THE best upper body exercises and one that works the triceps better than ANY other weight lifting exercise.
#2 Bench Press Variations
Using heavy weight is one of the keys to getting better triceps. Dips do this for you, but many different bench press variations will also do the same for you.
By changing the grip on the bench press movement, you can target the triceps to a greater extent. The chest will still be used, but the triceps will be stressed more with these different grip positions.
Move your hands closer together on the barbell
Moving your hands closer together (but not too far) will really hit the triceps muscle more than a regular grip on the bench press.
I do not like to go any closer than the video above shows. An even closer grip on the barbell can really tweak the wrists. And I don't risk injury for a closer grip. It's just not worth it.
Reverse your grip on the barbell
This is one of my personal favorite triceps exercises. I love reverse grip bench press exercises. You can use a barbell as shown in the video below or even a Smith Machine works great for these.
I like to use a much wider grip than my normal bench press grip. Watch the hand placement in the video above. You need to start out with very light weights and find the grip width that feels best to you.
Make sure you place the bar on the padding of your palm. A wider grip usually makes this tricep exercise feel more comfortable. You'll love the results from this one.
Use a parallel grip with dumbbells and keep them close together
Dumbbells add so much variation to many exercises. You can do so many more exercises with dumbbells than barbells and here's a great triceps exercise that also works the entire upper body very well. You should be able to get very strong on the close grip dumbbell bench press.
Keep the elbows in tight and use the triceps to lift the weight. Give this exercise a shot when you want to use dumbbells versus a barbell or other equipment. Remember that dumbbells can really help decrease workout time as you can grab them and get going without the need to change weight around.
Tricep extensions are one of the better triceps exercises that allow you to isolate the muscle. I do not like tricep extensions simply because they bother my elbows. I wish they didn't because they are a good triceps exercise.
You can do this exercise lying on the floor, lying on a bench, or you can do them seated or on an incline or decline bench. You can use barbells, dumbbells, cables, and even machines.
Any tricep extension exercise is more of an isolation exercise and as you probably know, I first recommend compound weight lifting exercises like dips and bench press variations for the triceps. If you need to focus more on the triceps, I will recommend some isolation exercises as triceps extensions.
I really like tricep kickbacks, but I don't do them as most people attempt to do them. I use both arms at the same time, and I use heavy weights. I don't try to be as strict as humanly possible. Watch the video below. I do not believe in using strict form like shown in this video:
Use some of your body's momentum but always control the weight. Be smart. Use some body momentum, but don't overdo it.
And use both arms at the same time… no need to put your leg up on a bench. Put both feet firmly on the ground and use a little natural body motion to do the kickbacks.
You can use a lot heavier weight this way and build the triceps MUCH better. Start out light and increase over time.
Tricep pushdowns are another isolation exercise for the triceps. I've included several isolation exercises for the triceps because these are all very good exercises.
You can even use a reverse grip on the tricep pushdown (behind your back) to give a different angle on the pushdown. You can alternate regular grip and reverse grip.
I hope you've enjoyed this page and really use the above exercises to build your triceps. Don't forget that 2/3 of the upper arm consists of the triceps muscles… it's not all bicep.
Good luck and make sure to get your copy of the WLC System to get triceps results even faster!