Triceps Exercises

side triceps poseOne of the biggest questions I get is “How do I get sexy/buff arms?” When people think about what they want their arms to look like, they usually show me pictures of the hottest male and female celebrities and ask me to focus on toning their upper arm areas.

Most people believe that by building up bicep muscles, your arms will look great, with well-defined musculature. But the look you want won’t happen without some serious triceps work as well. If you have elbow or lower back pains or problems, check with your doctor before attempting any of these exercises.

Let’s walk through a serious triceps workout, to show you how to put these muscles through their paces. For each exercise, you’ll need to determine which weight is appropriate for you. You should be able to perform at least 6 to 8 reps fairly comfortably with this weight.

If you’re a guy, aim for 10 to 12 reps per exercise, completing three sets.

linda hamilton armsIf you’re a woman, aim for 15 – 20 reps per exercise, completing three sets. Do a superset of bicep exercises alternating with tricep exercises for a well-rounded upper arm workout.

Check out my bicep blog post for a bicep workout.
Your muscles will begin to feel fatigued after your set, but you’ll need to continue for the full three sets.

You can alternate biceps and triceps exercises to work the whole arm on the same day.  Some people work biceps and triceps together, and some train them separately with a larger muscle like Chest / Triceps and Back / Biceps.

Triceps Kickbacks

There are a number of tricep extension exercises, some are performed while standing, some while lying down. Some are done with free weights, some with weighted bars, exercise bands or resistance bands. We’ll start with the standard free weight tricep kickback.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Bend your knees, lean forward at your hips until your bent at a 90 degree angle to the floor. This may take some getting used to, so be sure to do this in front of a mirror to ensure proper form.
Stick your chest out and keep your back flat.
Bend your elbows so your upper arms are parallel to the floor, your forearms are perpendicular to the floor, and your palms face in.
Keep your elbows close to your waist. Pull your abdominals in and relax your knees.
Keeping your upper arms tight against the sides of your chest, straighten your arms behind you until the end of the dumbbells are pointing down.
Slowly bend your arms to lower the weight, making sure not to swing your arms. Repeat.

Reverse Grip Triceps Extensions

Look for one of the adjustable height cable tower machines with the stacking weights. Adjust the pulley on the highest setting and attach a “curl” handle bar.
reverse grip triceps extensions
Grasping the handle with both hands in an underhand position, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your upper arms should be at your sides, with your forearms bent 90 degrees. You may have to step a foot or two away from the cable tower to be in a comfortable position.
While keeping your upper arms at your sides, extend your forearms all the down until your arms are straight. Exhale slowly. You should feel your triceps contracting.
Slowly allow your arms to return to their 90 degree position. Do not release your arms too quickly or the weights will try to snap your arms back. Repeat.

Triceps Pushdowns


This is one of the basics, that I’m sure you’ve done before. Stand facing the stack on the overhead pulley on the triceps station. You can also use the lat pulldown station. To stimulate the inner head of the tricep more, use the V-shaped handle. To work the outer head more use the straight handle with a narrow to medium grip. You can also use a longer handle with a wider grip to target the inner head of the triceps. Start with your upper arms at a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Extend the handle til your arms are straight. If size is your goal, use a solid handle. The rope handle limits your weight and is not the best for mass.

Triceps Dip Machine


I like to finish with this one. This is a great mass and strength builder. Select your weight and seat height. Start with your arms locked and site down with the weight. If you use more than your bodyweight most of these machine will come with a seatbelt. Fasten yourself down and then press the handles down.

Contact me today to create a customized workout to get you into the best shape of your life.

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