The triceps, situated on the back of the upper arms, are essential muscles responsible for arm extension and stability. As some of the largest muscles in the upper arm, they play a significant role in arm mobility. Tricep exercises are crucial for strengthening and toning these muscles. Six effective exercises to target the triceps include tricep dips, tricep pushdowns, close-grip bench presses, skull crushers, diamond push-ups, and overhead tricep extensions. These exercises help improve tricep strength, enhance arm function, and contribute to overall upper body strength and aesthetics.

Unlocking the Power of Triceps: Their Anatomy and Functions Explained:

The term “triceps” is derived from a Latin phrase meaning “three-headed arm muscle,” accurately describing the triceps’ anatomy with its three distinct muscle heads: the long head, the medial head, and the lateral head. These individual muscle heads originate from the upper arm and converge to form a single tendon, attaching to the bony part of the elbow.

The primary function of the triceps is to extend the forearms, and this action involves a complementary relationship with the biceps. While the biceps contract to pull the forearm bones closer to the upper body, the triceps play a crucial role in reversing this motion, returning the forearm to an extended position. Bethany Stillwaggon, an American College of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer, explains this coordinated effort.

Furthermore, the triceps contribute to the stability and overall health of the shoulder joints. Whether you’re engaged in sports or daily activities, strong and well-functioning triceps are essential for supporting various arm movements and maintaining shoulder joint integrity.

Essential Preparations for Effective Triceps Training:

Before embarking on a triceps training regimen, several key considerations are essential for a safe and effective workout. Firstly, warming up is crucial to prepare your muscles and reduce the risk of injury. Engaging in light cardiovascular activity before strength training helps increase blood flow.

Secondly, mastering proper form is fundamental. Accurate technique not only prevents injuries but also ensures that the triceps are effectively targeted during exercises. Seeking guidance from a certified trainer can be beneficial, especially for beginners.

Diversifying your exercises is the third point to keep in mind. The triceps consist of three distinct heads, so incorporating various exercises like tricep dips, pushdowns, bench presses, skull crushers, push-ups, and extensions is essential to work all aspects of the triceps.

Lastly, adhering to the principle of progressive overload is vital for triceps development. Gradually increasing the resistance or weight used in your exercises over time is key to building strength and muscle effectively. Starting with a weight that challenges you but still allows for proper form is a solid foundation for progressive training. Overall, a well-rounded approach to triceps training includes these considerations for a successful and safe workout.

5 Tricep Exercises to Increase Arm Strength:

Certainly, here are five triceps exercises designed by Bethany Stillwaggon that you can incorporate into your upper body strength workout. You can perform these exercises after warming up with larger muscle group exercises or include them in the second half of your arm strengthening routine:

1.Tricep Dips:

Tricep Dips

Tricep dip is a versatile bodyweight movement that targets the triceps effectively. To perform it, sit on a stable chair or bench with hands gripping the seat beside you and feet flat on the floor. Lift your buttocks off the seat and, maintaining a 90-degree angle at your elbows, lower your body toward the ground. Push back up to the starting position and repeat. To increase the challenge, extend your legs straight with heels on the floor, ensuring your buttocks stay off the ground. For an even greater difficulty, place both feet on another bench. Tricep dips are excellent for strengthening the triceps and can be adjusted in intensity to suit various fitness levels.

2. Narrow Chest Press:

Narrow Chest Press

The Narrow Chest Press is a variation of the chest press exercise that specifically targets the inner portion of the chest muscles. To perform it, lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and hold dumbbells in each hand, palms facing each other. Extend your arms above your chest and slowly lower the dumbbells towards the center of your chest while keeping your elbows close to your sides. Pause briefly, then push the dumbbells back up to the starting position. This exercise is designed to enhance the development of the inner chest muscles, providing a focused and effective way to work on this area of the chest for a more balanced upper body workout. Proper form and controlled movements are essential for optimal results and safety.

3. Tricep Extensions:

Tricep Extensions

Triceps extensions are a group of exercises aimed at strengthening and toning the triceps, the muscles located on the back of the upper arm. These exercises typically involve extending the arms against resistance, effectively targeting the triceps. One common variation is the “Overhead Tricep Extension,” where you hold a weight or a dumbbell with both hands overhead and extend your arms upward. Another variant is the “Cable Tricep Pushdown,” which involves using a cable machine to push down a bar or rope attachment to work the triceps. Tricep extensions are essential for developing arm strength, improving overall upper body function, and achieving well-defined arms. It’s crucial to maintain proper form and select an appropriate weight to maximize the benefits and minimize the risk of injury during these exercises.

4. Tricep Press Downs:

Tricep Press Downs

Triceps Press Downs are a specific type of exercise designed to target and strengthen the triceps, the muscles on the back of the upper arm. This exercise is typically performed using a cable machine equipped with a bar or rope attachment. To execute Tricep Press Downs, you stand facing the cable machine, grip the bar or rope with your palms facing down, and extend your arms downward, effectively pushing the attachment towards the ground. The emphasis is on contracting the triceps throughout the movement. Tricep Press Downs are an effective way to isolate and work the triceps, helping to improve arm strength and tone. It’s essential to maintain proper form, control the weight, and select an appropriate resistance level to ensure a safe and effective workout.

5. Classic Push-Up:

Classic Push-Up

The standard push-up is a classic and effective bodyweight exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps while engaging the core and other stabilizing muscles. To perform it, start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from head to feet. Slowly lower your chest towards the floor by bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle, then push yourself back up to the starting position. To modify the difficulty level, you can keep your knees on the floor for an easier variation or elevate your feet on a bench for a more challenging version. Push-ups are a versatile and valuable addition to any fitness routine, helping to build upper body strength and overall functional fitness.


Tricep exercises are a fundamental component of any comprehensive upper body workout regimen. These exercises not only contribute to well-defined and strong arms but also play a critical role in overall upper body strength and stability. Triceps are essential for various everyday activities and athletic performance, making their targeted training crucial. Whether it’s through classic movements like push-ups and tricep dips or more specialized exercises such as overhead extensions and tricep pushdowns, there is a wide array of options to effectively work the triceps. Proper form, progressive overload, and adaptability to individual fitness levels are key considerations when incorporating tricep exercises into a fitness routine. Strengthening the triceps not only enhances aesthetic appeal but also supports functional fitness and a well-rounded upper body strength profile.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.

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