Check out the best triceps exercises for toned arms. The triceps play a significant role in the movement of the upper limbs, as they are involved in all those movements that involve a push.
Specifically, they are the largest muscle group in the arms and run from the elbow to the shoulder. Their main role is to straighten the elbow, and they are made up of three bundles of muscles, which means they have more growth potential.
Most prominent are the lateral and long heads running from the shoulder to the elbow. The last head, known as the brachial or medial head, lies below the lateral and long heads. It is usually only visible when looking at the arms from the side. So training these three bundles of muscles will make your arms look much bigger and more toned.
Anatomy: What are the triceps for?
The triceps are located in the back and upper arm. They are so called because they are composed of three distinct heads: a medial (central), lateral, and long head. The long head originates from the back of the scapula, while the lateral and medial heads originate from the lateral and posterior surfaces of the humerus. or upper arm bone. All three heads insert at the back of the elbow, on a small bony protrusion called the olecranon process.
The functions of the triceps are:
- Elbow Extension: This includes moving your forearm away from you.
- Stabilize the shoulder: for example, when carrying objects overhead.
- Shoulder Extension: This includes moving the arm back and behind the body.
The triceps acts as an antagonistic or even opposite muscle of the biceps, and as already mentioned, the triceps are the largest muscles in the upper arm.
If you are interested in the topic, discover the best biceps exercises.
Triceps exercises: why and how to train them
If you’re wondering why train your triceps, here are some good reasons to include exercises targeting this muscle group.
The triceps are involved in many complex weight training exercises that target different muscle groups (e.g. military press, half press, bench press, dip etc.)
Thus, despite having a strong chest or back, having weak triceps can lead to unbalanced muscle growth and more importantly, increase the risk of injury.
The triceps are often overlooked when it comes to shoulder stability. Remember, though, that this muscle is attached to the shoulder blades and is involved in rotation and adduction of the arm. Having strong triceps can help stabilize the shoulder joint at the top of the humerus, which is the upper arm bone.
The triceps also fix the elbow joint when the forearm and hand are used for fine movements such as writing. More specifically, the three muscle bundles have different functions: the long head for force generation, the lateral for movements requiring high-intensity force, and the medial for more precise and less force-requiring movements.
We advise you to train them 2 to 3 times a week, following a training plan designed for you and adapted to your needs. Remember, however, to vary the exercises in order to always stimulate the muscle in a different way.
Triceps Exercises: How many times a week to train your triceps and when to do it within a workout?
A beginner will need to build a foundation first, so they can have the ability to handle higher workloads.
For this reason, direct training of the arms (in addition to the training volume of pulling and pressing movements) 2 times a week can serve as a starting point.
We recommend that you do 8 to 12 total sets of direct triceps work at least 2-3 days a week.
Athletes and professionals, but also those who have been training for some time, can train the triceps even 3-4 times a week or more. We recommend a variety of exercises and an increase in progressive load.
Another tip is to perform a combination of exercises in a supersetting movement in order to build muscle mass, especially when performing movements that target different aspects of the triceps.
For example, pairing overhead extensions with dips can be a winning move because each movement works different parts of the triceps itself.
What are the training techniques that make the triceps pump up first?
There are many ways to train your triceps, although finding the right muscle contraction isn’t always easy. Remember to focus on maintaining tension on the triceps, through activating the mind-muscle connection, and actively flexing them as you bring your arm back straight.
One way to pump up these muscles sooner is to change the angle of the arm relative to the torso, which results in different levels of stretch in the triceps muscle.
Or, you’ll want to add pauses, both at the beginning of the reps and in the middle of the reps, to emphasize the different phases of the contraction.
The best exercises for triceps
Now it’s time to know which are the best triceps exercises to do both at home and in the gym.
Exercises with dumbbells
1 – Extensions for triceps
Hold a dumbbell in one hand directly behind your head, with your elbow bent and pointing toward the ceiling.
Extend your elbow until your arm is straight and the dumbbell is directly above you. Lower your arm to the starting position and repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
2 – Tate press
Lie on a bench and hold two dumbbells directly above your shoulders.
Slowly bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells to your chest, so that your palms are facing out and the dumbbells are toward the ceiling.
Return the dumbbells to the starting position and repeat. Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions.
3 – Lawn mowers
Starting position – legs parallel, put your right leg on the toe and bend it slightly. Lower your torso and lean against a chair with your left hand, keeping your back straight.
Take a dumbbell in your right hand and bring it close to your left hand resting on the chair. Perform an outward rotation of the torso bringing the right arm bent backwards without the shoulders moving.
The exercise is similar to the starting movement of the lawn mower. Return to the starting position.
Repetitions: 3 sets of 15.
Triceps exercises with barbell
1 – Board press
It is an exercise that is performed on a bench and with the use of a wooden board, essential for improving the strength of the shoulders and triceps. Position yourself with your back firmly resting on the bench, the barbell under your head.
Grab it, while your feet rest on the ground, and have someone place a wooden tablet on your chest. At this point, he lowers the barbell until it touches the board, and then returns to the starting position.
This exercise targets the triceps muscles, but also the rhomboids, lats, and scapulae.
Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions.
Bodyweight triceps exercises
1 – Diamond push-up
Lie on the floor like in a classic push-up, and create a diamond shape with your hands. He lowers his body until his chest almost touches the floor.
Push your body back to the starting position while simultaneously contracting your triceps and chest.
Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions.
2 – Dip goes parallel
You can perform this movement leaning against a chair, sofa, or parallel bars.
In this case, grab the parallel bars and bring your body up, arms straight. Lower your body by bending your elbows, as you lean your body forward slightly, until your shoulders are under your elbows.
At this point, lift your body by straightening your arms and elbows.
Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Triceps exercises: the training to tone them
Below you will find a simple workout to tone the triceps suitable for everyone, both experts and beginners.
The first exercise to include in your triceps training routine is the classic bench dip or bodyweight dip. This exercise will work your triceps. Feel free to use a sturdy, stable chair (or even your couch) if you don’t have access to a bench. Dips are an effective exercise because they also work the biceps and anterior deltoids while strengthening all three heads of the triceps brachii. Perform 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
Another bodyweight exercise is a push-up variation that will burn your triceps, we’re talking about the diamond push-up. This movement also engages the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and quadriceps while improving core strength and stability. Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions.
The last exercise to include is the Straight Bar Dips which focuses on the triceps, chest and shoulders. You can perform this movement on any bar, railing, or piece of equipment that can safely support your body weight.
How to run it? Start by holding your body over the bar with your arms fully extended and a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Engage your core during this exercise to help you maintain balance and proper posture. Again you can perform 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions depending on your strength.
If you are interested in this topic, discover all the exercises to tone your arms.
Triceps exercises: mistakes not to be made
To make sure you’re training your triceps correctly, it’s good to avoid some very common mistakes. First, make sure they get the…