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The 5 Best Triceps Exercises For Building Massive, Toned Triceps

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Best Triceps Exercises

If you want powerful, well-defined, titanic arms, building a strong set of triceps needs to be your number one priority. They’re even more important than biceps, given that they make up roughly 2/3 of the muscle mass in your arms.

Triceps Anatomy

The reality is that developing a set of horseshoe-esque, toned-up triceps is ridiculously impressive; impacts performance on lifts like the bench press & military press; and projects Hulk-like power and strength.

Building them also requires precise, well-rounded training that emphasizes the entire triceps muscle.

In fact, the triceps isn’t one muscle, it’s actually comprised of three different heads — the lateral head, medial head, and long head — which together form the larger “triceps” muscle group. In order to build fully-developed, cut-up triceps and that incredible horseshoe-shaped look, it’s essential to hit each of the three heads as hard as possible in every single triceps workout (otherwise you get imbalanced, awkward looking arms).

Here are our top 5 exercises for building ginormous, powerful, chiseled triceps. Each exercise hits all three heads to a certain degree, but some are better than others at activating each part.

Incorporate these exercises into your routine and not only will your triceps pop with enhanced definition and size, but they’ll also improve your bench press and other chest/shoulder exercises.

 

The Big 5 Triceps Exercises


Best Triceps Exercises

 

Triceps Exercise 1 — Triceps Dips


If you want big triceps, dips are absolutely essential.

Dips are fantastic for hitting all three heads at once, and they’re one of the only exercises that effectively blasts all three heads simultaneously (along with the closed-grip bench press, which is #2).

Also, unlike cable exercises and a lot of other isolation triceps exercises, dips allow you to overload your triceps with a significant amount of weight. More weight lifted = more muscle gained.

 

Form:

    

Above are two different variations. The bench dip (right) is significantly easier and a much better option for beginners. The bench dip is also a great exercise for building up endurance and really blasting your tris hard at the end of a workout.

Traditional dips (left) allow the body to handle more weight, and thus are much better for building overall muscle mass. Once you’re able to get 12 reps in a set increase the weight by using a weight belt and weight plates.

Pro Tip: Make sure to lower slowly all the way down until your triceps are parallel with the ground. At the top of the movement, squeeze your triceps hard for 1 second.

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Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
  • Rakesh Babbar

    very good knowledge for triceps

  • Richard Haynes

    Triceps also like any other muscle groups ability to grow and, the shape and fullness etc…are also due in part by genetics and the muscle origins and insertions. Nice article with very good tips.

    • Great point. Everyone’s triceps develop differently due to genetics (so you might not be able to achieve the *exact* look laid out in muscle mags) — build your own unique spin on it!

      • Richard Haynes

        My triceps for instance have high attachments above the elbow so, I do not build that fullness that others do however, I firmly believe you can build and develop them to best of your god given talent. No excuses!

  • Best triceps workout routine you can also read here – http://bit.ly/RFEt08

  • joe

    great article about triceps workout but if you want a big triceps you need to perform the exercises of size check this out lying triceps extensions

  • Parallel bar dips target the triceps and the pectorals, making them a great exercise for warming up with. Pushdowns, on the other hand, are an isolation exercise that only target the triceps and not any other muscle groups.

    UFC GYM San Carlos

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  • Paul

    Hi Bryan, I love your articles very much. For this workout in particular, how many sets and reps of each should you do? Also, is this workout to be done on a dedicated day to just triceps? Or should it be incorporated into another routine as well?

    Also, when I do the skull crushers, I feel a slight pain in my elbow when I do them, but the weight itself doesn’t cause me to break form, what would you recommend I do?

    • Appreciate it Paul. Consider this a triceps exercise bank to use as inspiration to add to your own workouts.

      But, if you were to convert it to a workout plan, I would combine biceps and triceps into one “arm day.” Do 4×12 CGBP, 4×10-20 dips, and then 2 of the others at 3×12/arm.

      What kind of pain are we talking about? If you’re doing them properly, the weight shouldn’t fall on your joint — it should fall squarely on your triceps. Try shifting your upper arms back slightly, a little beyond 90º.

      And if all else fails and there’s still pain, skip the skull crushers. It’s not worth the joint issues. Use the other exercises instead as substitutes.

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