Your Triceps, Better

Half a dozen exercises to turn your triceps into something worth admiring.

Your body has a lot of muscles. Unfortunately, some can be neglected during your routine. But don’t forget your triceps during strength training. If you do, you may wind up with huge biceps and disproportional arms.

Why? Because your triceps (the muscles on the back side of your upper arms) are actually larger muscles than your biceps.
Want strong arms with defined muscles? Add a few of these triceps exercises into your weekly training and you’ll see results within a couple of months.

Close Grip Bench Press

A great exercise to build your triceps is a variation of the bench press. To do a close grip bench press, lie on your back on the bench and place your hands on the bar. Position your hands so they are shoulder width apart or less. Lower the bar toward your lower chest, but instead of angling your elbows out to the side, keep them in. Raise the bar back up to starting position and repeat. If possible, keep your forearms perpendicular to the floor through the entire movement.


Another classic triceps workout is the dip. You’ll need two supports (parallel bars, rings, or two stable chairs back to back). Hold the bars, rings, or chair backs, raise your body up, and lock your elbows. Lower your body down until your elbows are higher than your shoulders, then raise back up. Keep your torso and chest upright and your shoulders back. Slightly bend your legs and cross your feet. Look in front of you the whole time. Breath when you reach the top, not during your movement.

For extra challenge, add weight to your dips by holding a dumbbell between your feet, wearing a rucksack with plates, or wearing a belt with plates.

Close Grip Push-Ups

Similar to the standard push-up, the close-grip push-up really works your triceps. Place your hands under your chest and in a diamond shape (thumbs and index fingers of the left hand touching thumbs and index fingers of the right hand). Lower your body down, and then raise back up. When you’re able to do 10 of these and want an extra challenge, try adding a clap. Push your body up high enough to clap your hands before lowering back down.

Pulley Pushdowns

Training the entire triceps muscle, the pulley pushdown requires a pulley machine. Place your hands over the middle of the bar about three to five inches apart. Standing approximately 12 inches from the bar, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your upper arms against your body, bend your arms, lean slightly forward, and pull the bar down until your arms are straight. Hold for a second, feeling the burn in your triceps, then slowly return the bar to starting position. Repeat.

Barbell Triceps Extension

This triceps exercise has many variations. You can hold the barbell at different widths; using an over-hand or under-hand grip; and you can lie on your back on a bench, sit, or stand. But the gist of the movement is the same. Hold the barbell and extend your arms above your head. Keeping your upper arms as still as possible, bend your elbows and lower the barbell to your forehead if you’re lying down, or behind your head if you’re sitting or standing. Raise the barbell back up and repeat.

One-Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Hold a dumbbell with both hands so the weight is perpendicular to the floor. Lift the dumbbell and straighten your arms above your head. Slowly lower the weight down behind your head until your elbows are bent, and then raise the dumbbell back up.

Reap the Rewards

Aim to do three to five sets of five reps per exercise. Then watch your triceps grow and strengthen. If you’re a lady, you’ll enjoy the toned, non-flabby look. And men, you’ll finally have the well-rounded arms you’ve been seeking.

Backseat Power

Triceps may take the backseat to the biceps when folks are flexing, but remember—if your triceps aren’t in good shape, your biceps won’t look in shape, either!

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