Top 5 Tricep Exercises
For The Best Tricep Workout

By Lee Hayward

French Press (aka "Lying Tricep Extension")

French Press

Lying Tricep Extension

This exercise works the triceps, particularly the large inner head of the tricep muscle.

Lie back on a flat bench. Feet shoulder width apart on each side of the bench. Have a training partner hand you a barbell. Grip it with your hands place a bit narrower then shoulder width. Press the barbell up until it is at arms length above your shoulders.

Moving only your forearms lower the barbell in an arc motion until it is about an inch above your forehead, then using just your triceps strength push the bar back up in an arc motion to the starting position.

Tip - using an ez curl bar is generally more comfortable and will place less stress on the wrists then a straight bar.

Close Grip Bench Press

Close Grip Bench Press

Narrow Grip Bench Press

This exercise is a big basic compound movement that heavily works the triceps as well as the chest and shoulders.

Lie down on the flat bench press. Place your feet flat on the floor on each side of the bench. Grab the bar with a grip no wider then the width of your torso, generally for most guys this will be with the index fingers on the smooth part of an standard Olympic barbell. Straighten your arms to lift the barbell off the rack. Position the bar so it is at arms length over your chest.

Lower the barbell until it touches your lower chest / upper abs, then press the bar back up until it is locked out at the starting position. As you lower the bar keep your elbows tucked in close to the sides of your body. Do not let your upper arms go straight out to the sides as this will place excess strain on the shoulder joints.

Tip - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the close grip bench press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell.

Tricep Cable Push Downs

Tricep Cable Push Downs

tricep pushdowns

This exercise targets the outer head of the triceps.

Attach a bar to an overhead pulley. Stand in front of the pulley with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab the bar with a narrow overhand grip. Bend your arms fully and tuck your elbows close to your sides at all times during the exercise.

Moving just your forearms push the bar down in an arc motion until your arms are straight. Hold this position and squeeze your triceps for a second to maximize the peak contraction. Then slowly lower to the starting position.

Tips - do not let the weight plates touch during the exercise, keep the tension on the tricep muscles. For variety you can use different bars attached to the overhead pulley (i.e. rope, ez bar, V bar, etc.) to work the muscles at different angles.


Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

This exercise works the triceps hard, but it is also a great chest and shoulder exercise as well.

Grab a pair of parallel bars so the palms of your hands are facing each other. Straighten your arms and support yourself between the bars.

Slowly bend your arms and lower your body between the bars until your elbows are at 90-degree angles. Hold this stretched position for a second, then push yourself back up to the starting position and lock out your arms at the top.

Tip - this is an advanced exercise because you have to be able to lift your entire bodyweight. But as you get stronger you can add extra weight to the exercise by hanging weights from your waist using a weight belt.

Tricep Push Ups

Tricep Push Ups

Close Grip Pushups

This push up variation works the triceps harder then regular push ups.

Lie face down on the floor. Place your hands palms down on the floor with your index fingers and thumbs touching (as shown in the pics). Keeping your legs and torso in a straight line push yourself up and support your upper body on your arms. Spread your feet a bit wider then shoulder width apart for better balance.

Slowly lower yourself until your chest is about an inch from the floor. Hold this position for a second and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

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