Triceps Workout Exercises - Top 5 for Maximize Gains

Triceps Workout Exercises – Top 5 for Maximize Gains

The triceps, the often underrated muscles at the back of the upper arms, play a crucial role in overall arm strength and aesthetics. Building robust triceps is not just about the looks; it’s about enhancing functional strength that aids in various upper-body exercises. This article explores the top five triceps exercises designed to maximize muscle gains and arm strength. In addition, we provide a video of how to do one of the best triceps workout exercises to build and grow the arms.

1. Close-Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press is a compound movement that targets the triceps brachii while also engaging secondary muscles, pectoralis major (chest), deltoids (shoulders), and, to some extent, the latissimus dorsi (back muscles). It’s an excellent exercise for building mass and strength in the upper body. Focusing on these areas enhances arm strength and size and improves performance in other pressing movements and overall upper body resilience.

The equipment required for the Close-Grip Bench Press is relatively straightforward: a standard flat bench and a barbell. Using weight plates allows for adjustable resistance, catering to various strength levels. Additionally, it’s important to note that proper grip width (narrower than a standard bench press, typically around shoulder width) and form are crucial in ensuring the exercise is effective and safe, maximizing the benefits while minimizing the risk of injury.

The compound nature of this exercise makes it a staple in strength training routines, offering a comprehensive approach to building upper body muscle and power.

Technique Tips:

  • Lie flat on a bench and grip the barbell with hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower the bar slowly towards the chest, keeping the elbows close to the body.
  • Push the bar back to the starting position, focusing on using your triceps.

2. Skull Crushers (Lying Triceps Extensions)

Skull Crushers, known as Lying Triceps Extensions, are superb exercises for developing triceps strength and size. This exercise primarily targets the triceps brachii, the large muscle at the back of the upper arm responsible for elbow extension. Secondary muscles engaged include the deltoids (shoulders) and the pectoralis major (chest), making it a well-rounded upper-body exercise.

The required equipment is simple: a flat bench, barbell, EZ curl bar, or dumbbells. The versatility in equipment choice allows for adaptation based on personal preference and availability. Performing Skull Crushers involves lying on a bench and lowering the weight towards the forehead before extending the arms to raise the weight back up, hence the name.

This movement enhances the muscular definition and strength of the triceps and improves functional skills. Strong triceps are crucial for any pushing movements, stabilizing the shoulder joint, and are integral in activities of daily living that require pushing or overhead reaching. Incorporating Skull Crushers into a workout routine can improve performance in various sports and physical tasks, reflecting the practical benefits of this focused triceps exercise.

Technique Tips:

  • Lie on a bench with a light barbell or dumbbell.
  • Extend the arms above the chest, then bend the elbows to lower the weight towards the forehead.
  • Extend the arms back to the starting position, concentrating on the contraction of the triceps.
tricep dips

3. Triceps Dips

Tricep Dips are a highly effective bodyweight exercise primarily targeting the tricep muscles, which are crucial for upper-body pushing movements. This exercise is known for significantly strengthening and building the triceps brachii, enhancing the arms’ overall size and definition. Secondary muscle groups involved include the anterior deltoids (front shoulders), pectorals (chest muscles), and the rhomboids and lower traps in the upper back.

The beauty of tricep dips lies in their minimal equipment requirement; they can be performed using parallel bars at a gym, a sturdy bench, or even a solid chair at home. This accessibility makes it a versatile addition to any workout regimen.

From a functional standpoint, strengthening the triceps with tricep dips has numerous benefits. It enhances the ability to perform everyday tasks involving pushing or lifting overhead more efficiently. Additionally, for athletes or individuals engaged in physical activities, strong triceps contribute to better performance in various sports, especially those requiring upper body strength and stability. The compound nature of the movement also helps improve joint health, particularly in the shoulders and elbows, making tricep dips a muscle-building exercise and a functional one for overall upper body health.

Technique Tips:

  • Use parallel bars or a stable surface to support your weight.
  • Lower your body by bending the elbows to a 90-degree angle.
  • Push back up to the starting position, focusing on the triceps.

4. Overhead Triceps Extension

Overhead Triceps Extensions are an excellent exercise for isolating and building the triceps brachii, the large muscle on the back of the upper arm. This exercise specifically targets the long head of the triceps, contributing to both the muscle’s size and definition. All that’s needed for equipment is a dumbbell or a cable machine with a rope attachment, offering flexibility for those training at home or in a gym. Secondary muscles engaged during this exercise include the deltoids (shoulders) and the upper back muscles, making it a beneficial upper-body movement.

Overhead Triceps Extensions are not just about aesthetics; they are crucial in improving functional skills. Strong triceps are vital for lifting movements involving extending the arms, such as pushing a heavy object overhead or throwing. This exercise also helps maintain shoulder stability and elbow joint health, which is crucial for day-to-day activities and sports performance.

Suitable for individuals at all fitness levels, beginners can start with lighter weights to master the form and progressively increase the resistance as their strength improves. This adaptability makes Overhead Triceps Extensions a versatile exercise for anyone looking to enhance upper body strength and functionality.

Technique Tips:

  • Stand or sit with a dumbbell held with both hands behind your head.
  • Keeping your upper arms still, extend your elbows to raise the dumbbell overhead.
  • Return to the starting position, feeling the stretch in the triceps.

5. Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond Push-Ups, characterized by the unique diamond shape formed by the hands, are highly effective variations of the classic push-ups. This exercise primarily targets the triceps brachii, significantly enhancing the strength and definition of these muscles. The close-hand position shifts the focus more intensely onto the triceps than regular push-ups. Secondary muscles worked include the pectoralis major (chest), anterior deltoids (front shoulders), and the core muscles, which are engaged to maintain stability throughout the movement.

Diamond Push-Ups enhance upper body aesthetics and significantly improve functional skills. Strengthening the triceps and chest aids in better performance in pushing movements, which is essential in various sports and daily activities like pushing doors or lifting objects. Additionally, the core engagement in this exercise helps develop overall body stability and balance.

Suitable for intermediate to advanced fitness enthusiasts, diamond push-ups require a certain level of upper body strength and stability. Beginners can start with modified versions, like performing the exercise on their knees, and gradually progress to the full version as their strength and form improve. This progression ensures that individuals at different fitness levels can safely incorporate diamond push-ups into their workout routines for effective upper-body conditioning.

Technique Tips:

  • Place your hands together under your chest, forming a diamond shape with your fingers.
  • Lower your body towards the floor, keeping your elbows close.
  • Push back up to the starting position, using your triceps to drive the movement.

Triceps Workout Routine

Warm-up (10 minutes):

– Arm Circles: 2 minutes, both directions.
– Dynamic Stretching: Includes shoulder stretches, tricep stretches, 3 minutes.
– Light Cardio: Jump rope or jog for 5 minutes to increase heart rate.

Tricep Workout Exercises:

1. Close-Grip Bench Press
– Sets/Reps: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
– Rest: 90 seconds between sets.
– Alternative: Dumbbell Floor Press with a close grip.

2. Skull Crushers (Lying Triceps Extensions)
– Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
– Rest: 60 seconds between sets.
– Alternative: Overhead Dumbbell Extension.

3. Triceps Dips
– Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
– Rest: 60 seconds between sets.
– Alternative: Bench Dips for beginners or Assisted Dip Machine.

4. Overhead Triceps Extension
– Sets/Reps: 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
– Rest: 60 seconds between sets.
– Alternative: Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension.

5. Diamond Push-Ups
– Sets/Reps: 3 sets of as many reps as possible (AMRAP).
– Rest: 60 seconds between sets.
– Alternative: Knee Diamond Push-Ups for beginners.

Cool-down (5-10 minutes):

– Stretching: Focus on the triceps, chest, and shoulders, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
– Deep Breathing: Relaxation and lowering heart rate.

Recovery Time:

– Allow 48 to 72 hours of recovery before targeting triceps again, depending on the intensity of the workout and individual recovery rate.

Best Workout Format:

– Beginners: Start with fewer sets (2-3 sets) and higher reps (12-15) with lighter weights or modified versions of exercises. Focus on form over weight.
– Intermediate: Incorporate a mix of rep ranges (8-15) and gradually increase weight to build strength.
– Advanced: Include supersets (e.g., pairing Close-Grip Bench Press with Diamond Push-Ups) and reduce rest time to increase intensity. Focus on progressive overload by increasing weights or reps over time.

Key Notes:

  • Ensure proper form to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness.
  • Hydration and a balanced diet are crucial for recovery and muscle growth.
  • Adjust the workout based on individual fitness levels and goals.
  • Progress gradually to avoid overtraining or strain.
  • Consistency is critical for long-term results and improvement.


Incorporating these five triceps exercises into your workout routine can significantly enhance arm strength and aesthetics. Remember, consistency and proper form are vital to seeing results. Complementing these exercises with a balanced diet and adequate rest will ensure optimal muscle growth and recovery.

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