When you work out, it’s always important to never neglect a muscle group to keep yourself perfectly fit. But if there’s one area that we have to admit is a bit more fun to work out than others, it’s those arms.
Working the arms is great because you can see results quickly, and most arm workouts tend to work some other area of the body as well. And while you can do as many bicep curls as you want, you won’t get the toned physique you desire if you don’t give your triceps some attention.
It’s time to try your tri’s. Here are some of the best workouts to get your tricep muscles burning.
Understanding the Tricep Muscle
Understanding the anatomy of your muscles is just as important as working them out. This lets you create your own exercises and modify your routines to work specific areas.
Your tricep is a large, thick muscle on the dorsal part of your arm. If you hold out your right arm palm down, your tricep is the muscle on the right side of the arm. Its primary function is to extend the forearm and elbow joint.
There are three components of the tricep muscle (tri = three, cep = head). They are the lateral head, long head, and medial head. The best routines work all three of these.
Your triceps are usually activated when you complete any type of pushing motion. When you push a shopping cart, for example, you’re using your triceps. That’s why most tricep exercises use some sort of pushing motion as opposed to bicep exercises, which utilize the opposite pulling motion.
Having a strong tricep is important to show off your gains with a more buff physique. However, more important, strong triceps help you prevent injury during activities that involve elbow flexion.
Five Steps to Toned Triceps
Now that we’ve got biology out of the way, it’s time to do some exercise. You can do all of these exercises right from home, so there’s no excuse not to give them a go.
Something important to remember before you get started is that we are always more concerned about proper form as opposed to higher weight. If you find you’re doing the exercise incorrectly, there is never any shame in dropping the weight or reducing the range of motion. This will help you stay safe and improve the effectiveness of the exercises.
1. ½ Kneeling Skull Crusher
According to muscle and fitness experts, skull crushers are one of the most challenging exercises for the entire triceps muscle group. You’ll perform this movement while laying on the floor.
To perform the ½ kneeling skull crusher:
- Position your body inside of your Gorilla Bow then lay with your back on the floor and the Gorilla Bow resistance band under you. Your feet will be flat on the floor, your knees bent at an angle.
- With your hands at the center of the Gorilla Bow and your elbows in front of you, push up away from your face.
- Slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep.
If you notice that your back is arching or your arms are shaking out of position during this exercise, consider using a lower tension resistance band until you perfect this movement.
2. Tricep Push Up
Similar to the Gorilla Bow Push Up, the tricep push up will work your tricep muscle group and deltoids. However, you’ll begin with your hands positioned close together to isolate the triceps, instead of shoulder width apart as shown in the video demonstration.
To do a tricep push up:
- Position your body inside of your Gorilla Bow. The resistance band should be across your back; the Gorilla Bow will be in front of you on the floor.
- Start with your hands close together at the center of the Bow, and push up until your arms are fully extended. Hold for 1 second.
- Slowly bend at the elbow and lower your torso to the starting position. This is one rep.
If you need to, drop down to your knees instead of supporting your body on your toes. This makes the movement easier to perfect while building strength.
3. Push Down
Tricep pushdowns are great exercises because they really isolate the triceps and force them to do pretty much all of the work. You can use a cable machine for these, or you can whip out some resistance bands. If using the latter, you’ll want to attach them to a hook above your head, such as a chin-up handle.
Then, we can get to work:
- Face the cables and grasp both ends of the band or cable with your hands. You can grab the resistance bands around your hands for extra grip.
- Keep your elbows tight and drive your hands down towards your waist. Try not to move your upper arms or shoulders.
- Lock your arms, rotating your palms slightly outward as you do. Hold for a second.
- Slowly bring your hands back up to chest height. Repeat.
Pushdowns are a good way to change up your normal tricep routine because it doesn’t utilize the typical overhead movement that many others require. Plus, it gives you an excuse to whip out your Gorilla Bow and detach the resistance bands.
4. Tricep Dips
If you thought extending your triceps with a dumbbell was hard, wait until we use your body weight. Tricep dips are tough workouts that lead to lasting results. If you don’t have a bench, you can use any elevated surface that’s around 18 inches in height.
Here’s how to do a tricep dip:
- Stand facing away from the bench. Extend your legs out in front of you while grabbing the bench with both hands at shoulder width.
- Slowly lower your body by flexing at the elbows until your forearm is at a 90-degree angle.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat.
It should feel kind of like an extreme push-up. If you’re having trouble completing the repetitions, you can reduce the range of motion and try to get your forearms to a 45-60 degree angle instead.
5. Lying Tricep Extension
This is one of the toughest tricep workouts you can do. There are many ways to perform it, but they all involve extending your elbows. This is a workout that activates the long and lateral tricep heads.
To perform this exercise, here’s what to do:
- Lie down on the floor or on a bench. Extend your arms straight over your chest, dumbbells in each hand.
- Bend your elbows and lower the weights until they are just above your shoulders, being careful not to move your upper arms.
- Hold for a second and return to the starting position. Repeat.
Want more of a challenge? You can do this exercise on an incline bench instead of a flat bench. This will target different areas of the tricep and also make the exercise more difficult as a whole. We recommend only giving this a go once you’ve mastered the form.
The Cool Down
Your triceps are a major component of your arms that tend to be much less strong than your biceps. In order to close the gap, it’s important to practice some exercises that are sure to get you feeling the burn.
Your triceps are composed of three heads, the lateral, medial, and long head. Choosing exercises that activate each of these areas is the best way to tone your arms and give your upper body a more desirable physique.
You can use a dumbbell to test out your tri’s by doing an overhead tricep extension or a lying tricep extension. Additionally, you can just use your body weight by completing a tricep push-up to target your triceps. Finally, those resistance bands can come in handy by hooking them to something above your head so you can do some pushdowns.
Regardless, incorporating tricep exercises into your full-body workout is essential for your overall health. For more ideas, tips, and tricks, join Gorilla Bow’s All Access Membership that gives you access to a full library of total body workouts, as well as live classes right from home. You won’t be needing that gym membership any longer.
Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Triceps Muscle | NCBI
Muscle Fatigue in the Three Heads of Triceps Brachii During Intensity and Speed Variations of Triceps Push-Down Exercise | Frontiers in Physiology
“The Push/Pull/Legs Routine for Muscle Gains” | Aston University