As their name suggests, the triceps are a group of 3 muscle: heads lateral, medial and long; amongst other jobs, they extend the forearm at the elbow joint and, located in the back of the upper arm make up more than 2/3 of your upper arm mass.
As triceps exercises are an isolation move, incorporating a variety of triceps exercises into your routine will mean that you can target and sculpt this group of muscles from different angles allowing each muscle to get it’s fair share of the workout!
Working uni-laterally (each arm in turn rather than at the same time) gives you the opportunity to notice and address any imbalances that may exist. Allowing your weaker side to govern the number of reps and sets you do and mirroring this with your stronger side is a good technique to try.
Bench/box dips: position yourself with your hands shoulder width apart and your back to the box/bench. Bend your elbows and slowly lower yourself towards the floor until your elbows are at 90o. Press down into the bench at the bottom of the movement to push yourself back to the start position.
Diamond press-ups: begin in a high plank position with your core engaged. Place the hands underneath your chest creating a diamond shape with your thumbs and forefingers. Slowly lower your body towards the floor keeping the elbows tucked in for maximum tricep work, pause, then push back up to the top. This move can be performed with knees on the floor to make it slightly easier.
Dumbbell 45o floor press: Being supported by the floor in this version can allow you to try heavier weights than with some other triceps exercises. Lay on your back with your core engaged and a neutral spine. Holding your chosen dumbbells, position your arms at 45 o away from your body with the backs of your arms on the floor. Press the weights up towards the ceiling, pause at the top, then control the backs of the arms to the floor. This exercise can also be performed with single or alternating arms.
Barbell close grip bench press: While sitting on the end of the bench, engage your core, roll your shoulders back and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Lay down on the bench with your eyes directly underneath the bar, grab the bar with your hands shoulder width apart – the close hand position is what targets the triceps more than a traditional bench press. Lift the bar vertically towards the ceiling, don’t lock the elbows out, pause at the top, then lower it down to the middle of your chest.
Triceps dumbbell kickbacks: You can perform this exercise with both arms at the same time or alternating using a bench or box to lean on – the benefit of alternating your arms is that you gain more rest time between reps so it can be a good approach for beginners or if you want to work with a heavier weight.
- Standing, both arms: engage your core and position your body at an angle of 45 o. Roll your shoulders back and slide your shoulder blades down. Holding the dumbbells, bend your arms and position your upper arms in line with your body, keeping the elbows in, push the dumbbells backwards to reach full extension of the arms, pause then bring the arms back to the start position.
- Standing, single arm: place your right knee right hand on a bench or plyo-box for support. Engage your core and lean forwards from the hips, keeping your back straight. Holding the dumbbell in the opposite hand, position your upper arm in line with your body, keeping the elbow in, push the dumbbell backwards to reach full extension of the arm, pause then bring the arm back to the start position. Complete your reps and sets then repeat for the other arm.
Lying triceps extensions/skull crushers: Sitting on the end of the bench with feet flat on the floor, hold the dumbbells in a hammer grip resting them on your thighs. Engage the core, roll your shoulders back and shoulder blades back and down; lower yourself back to lay on the bench. Raise the dumbbells towards the ceiling with palms facing each other, then, keeping your core engaged and upper arm still, bend your arms at the elbow and lower the dumbbells towards your shoulders to an angle of 90o. Pause then push them back towards the ceiling repeating for as many reps and sets as required.
Overhead dumbbell triceps extension: This exercise can be performed seated or standing using a plate weight/KB or dumbbell as a single or double arm exercise. It can also be performed standing with the rope attachment on a cable machine.
Seated: sit on the edge of a bench or plyo-box with your core engaged and a tall spine. Hold the weight above your head with your chosen hand or both hands together. Extend the weight towards the ceiling but slide your shoulder blades down your back, then keeping your core engaged, bend your arms at the elbow and lower the weight towards the floor. Pause then push the weight back towards the ceiling repeating for as many reps and sets as required.
Standing: Using the high cable, attach the rope and set your weights. Pull the cable over your head to find the tension and secure yourself with a split stance, core engaged. Ensure your upper arms are by your ears and your elbows are bent then straighten and extend your arms overhead bringing the weight forwards. Pause then return the arms to the bent position with the upper arm by your ears. Repeat for as many reps and sets as required.
Triceps push down: This exercise can be performed by using a cable machine or the Gamma station on the Kinesis wall. With this version, you can choose various attachments, a straight bar or a rope attachment which provides the opportunity for an extra push and extension at the bottom of the move due to the separate strands of the rope.
On the Kinesis wall stand facing the machine with feet hip width apart then grasp the attachment with an overhand grip. Engage your core muscles and ensure the attachment is around chest height before you pull the weights down to hip height. Next, pin your elbows into your sides with your shoulder blades sliding down your back. Aim to have a slight bend in the knee on the push down as well as a straight spine and finish the move just before you reach full extension in the elbow. With control, release the weights back to the start position and repeat for as many reps and sets as required.
For any help with the above exercises or to make sure you are working your triceps correctly just ask one of the team!