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.
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
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.
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.