Perhaps the greatest misconception when it comes to our triceps is that they are each made up of one single muscle. No true! As the triceps‘ name implies, the muscle is actually made up of three heads: the “long head,” which, runs along the back of your arm, the “lateral head” which is outermost part of the muscle, and the “medial head,” which runs underneath the other two and is mostly visible closer to the elbow.
Triceps are famously tough to train, and the key to amassing your best and most evenly distributed arms possible is hitting all three heads, at equal intensity.
Performing just one kind of tricep exercise won’t target all the areas evenly, so you’ll need to switch it up, using a combination of moves to really tone your triceps and burn arm fat all over.
These 9 triceps exercises will get you well on your way towards achieving well-built, shirt-busting, horseshoe-shaped triceps.
1. Triceps Dips
Dips deserve to go first on your triceps-strengthening list; they’re one of a select few exercises that manage to engage all three “head” muscles in your triceps all at once, plus, they don’t require any special equipment. With tricep dips, you’re able to employ your bodyweight, and you can change the intensity as you see fit. Dip lower and keep your knees straight, your feet far away from the bench for a real challenge; bend your knees and bring your feet in closer if you want to lighten the load.
2. Closed Grip Bench Press
We encourage you to start slow with this difficult exercise. The bench press also is best performed with a lifting partner, as you don’t want to end up stuck beneath a heavily weighted barbell with a mere two repetitions to go. The greatest benefit provided by the closed grip bench press is the substantial extra amount of weight the exercise allows you to add when you target your triceps — consider it a more difficult variation of the traditional close-grip push=up.
3. Skull Crushers
This exercise targets the long and medial heads of the triceps, and as you build up the long heads of your triceps, you effectually add more mass to the lower parts of your arms. An expert tip commonly advocated for this move is to lower the weight behind your head, so you avoid inflicting further stress upon your elbow joints, and instead target your actual triceps.
4. Reverse One-Arm Cable Triceps Extensions
This exercise helps you add muscular length to your triceps. What’s key to note with this exercise is that your upper arm shouldn’t move at all.
5. Triangle Or Diamond Push-Ups
This exercise resembles the closed-grip bench press, but in this case, you have a chance to engage your core as well. Some members of the fitness community frown upon certain triceps exercises for their universal failure to sufficiently strengthen shoulder mobility, but with close grip push-ups, you don’t have to worry about that! This is a tried-and-true move to build those triceps.
6. Seated Triceps Extension
7. Rope Pushdowns
8. Stability Ball Push-Ups
This variation on the traditional pushup simultaneously targets your triceps and midsection. You’ll be shocked to find out just how difficult it is to keep that stability ball steady from rolling every which way, as you try to perform pushups at a regular rhythm.
9. One-Arm Dumbbell Kickbacks
The last of the most effective triceps exercises, the isolated dumbbell kickback, effectively targets your lateral head muscle within your triceps, which happens to be the most visible of the three muscle heads. So this exercise is especially great for toning up those “beach bod” muscles.