When people think of having strong, toned arms, they tend to focus mainly on building biceps—the meatier part of your arms. But the triceps—the three-headed muscles in the back of your arms—are just as important. FYI: Your triceps run from your shoulder along the back of your arm down to your elbow joint. So while your biceps take up the most real estate on your arms, these supporting muscles act as the bridge between your arms and the rest of your upper body.
Ready to kick those back-arm muscles into gear? Check out the triceps exercises workout designed by Blades below. We guarantee you’ll feel the burn!
Overhead Triceps Extension
If you want to isolate your triceps, this single-joint exercise is the way to do it. You want these reps to be slow and controlled to get the most out of the move and to avoid fatiguing fast.
How to do overhead triceps extensions: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Extend both arms fully overhead. Keeping your arms close to your head, slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells behind your head until your arms are lower than 90 degrees. Remember to keep your elbows pointing forward and not moving out to the sides.
This exercise primarily targets the triceps long head, which is the big muscle that runs along the back of your upper arms, Blades says.
How to do triceps kickbacks: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart with your knees slightly bent and your hips hinging forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the sides by your chest so your elbows are bent at about 90 degrees. Engaging your triceps, straighten your arms behind you with your palms facing in. Your arms should be fully extended in a straight line parallel to your torso.
Standing Eccentric Triceps Extensions
This exercise might look simple, but it can tire your triceps out quickly if you move at a faster pace and use a heavier weight, so choose dumbbells wisely.
How to do standing eccentric triceps extensions: Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms in front of you. Squeezing your triceps, bend your elbows until your arm forms a 90-degree angle and then extend them back out.
Also known as French presses, Blades says this exercise works the entire triceps muscle group through the concentric phase of the movement.
How to do skull crushers: Lie flat on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your chest and extend your straight arms up to the ceiling. Slowly lower both arms toward your head down by your sides, bending your elbows at 90 degrees.
Close-Grip Dumbbell Press
While this move is similar to a chest press, the closed grip focuses on targeting the triceps instead of the chest.
How to do a close-grip dumbbell press: Lie flat on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your chest. Squeezing your triceps, push the dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling, pressing them together to lockout at the top. Continue to press them together as you lower them back down with control. This is one rep.
Changing the position of your hands in a standard push-up can help you further target the triceps. You’re still doing full-body work, but you’re zeroing in on your triceps to do the heavy lifting.
How to do diamond push-ups: Get into a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your body in a straight line. Place your hands together directly under your shoulders with your index fingers and thumbs touching to form a diamond. Slowly lower your body to the mat with your elbows widening out to the sides. Using your triceps, press your arms back up to straighten. This is one rep.
Yes, yoga is about building strength, too. This classic pose is a great way to build upper-body and core strength while improving your flexibility and range of motion in your shoulders.
How to do Chaturanga push-ups: Get into a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your body in a straight line. Lower your body towards the mat while keeping your knees and thighs lifted like you would in a standard push-up. Roll your body forward to the top of your feet with your chest forward and your back arched. Then, roll your body back to a high plank. This is one rep.
Up-down planks, aka plank walks, are basically what happens when you combine a plank and push-up. As you move from high to forearm plank, your core will get some action, in addition to your triceps. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is to move slowly to avoid rocking your hips.
How to do up-down planks: Get into a high plank position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your body in a straight line. Keeping your hips as still as possible, bring your right arm down to a forearm plank and then your left arm. Then, put your right hand on the mat and press back up to a high plank, followed by your left arm. This is one rep.