Blog
tricep exercises image

17 Best Tricep Exercises

best tricep exercises image

Finding the best tricep exercises can be difficult, especially since there are so many sources online that have a difference of opinion. 

Here at OriGym, we have listed the 17 best exercises according to what has worked best for both us and our clients over the years, whether their goal was to train for strength or muscular hypertrophy. So, if you happen to be wondering what are the best tricep exercises for mass and strength?, we have the answers that you need! 

If you're new to training triceps, you don't have to worry about being intimidated by our list. We have divided the exercises up into the best tricep exercises for beginners, as well as those that are intermediate and advanced. 

Before we jump into our list of tricep exercises, have you ever considered turning your passion for fitness into a career? If so, you'll be glad to know that OriGym provide a full Personal Training Diploma alongside our range of fitness courses, that you can learn more about by downloading our course prospectus here

Also, feel free to download our FREE 16 Week Home Strength Training Programme before jumping in:

Beginner Tricep Exercises 

#1 - Bench Dips 

Set Up: For this exercise (one of the easier tricep bench exercises), you will need a gym bench and your own body weight, as well as a stable surface to work on. It's one of the best triceps exercises to start with, and will really get you used to engaging them! 

Starting Position: 

Tricep exercises photos image

  • Begin by placing your hands on the edge of one bench; your thumbs should be facing one another, and your hands should be around shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your arms (without locking out your elbows), and straighten your legs. You should be balancing on your heels. 
  • Ensure that your back is straight and that your head is in line with your spine. 

Execution:

Tricep exercises photos 

  • Ensure that your core is properly engaged, and inhale. 
  • Lower yourself down in a controlled motion until your arms are at a 90-degree angle, exhaling as you do so. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale. 
  • Push yourself back up into the starting position whilst exhaling, maintaining proper form and keeping a tight core. You should avoid fully locking out your elbows. 
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, pectoralis major, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Flaring the elbows. You should ensure that your elbows remain fixed in their original position throughout the exercise, so that your triceps are fully engaged at all times. Otherwise you will shift the pressure onto your joints and other muscles, and completely eradicate the benefits that the exercise is supposed to have on your triceps. It's one of the more simple tricep exercises, so you shouldn't find this too difficult with some practice. 
  • Rushing the movement. A slow tempo is key for this exercise, otherwise your triceps won’t be properly engaged, and they won’t receive the benefits that you intend for them through performing it. This is one of the easy tricep exercises, so don't let a silly mistake make it more difficult to master!

Benefits of this Exercise

  • If you’re a beginner who has only just started performing tricep exercises in the gym, there really is no better exercise for learning how to do so. Since it’s just you working against your body weight, it’s the perfect opportunity to differentiate between the instances when your triceps are working hard, and when other muscles are taking the strain. 
  • The range of motion that this exercise works the triceps over is impressive, and therefore has many benefits such as increased muscular strength and hypertrophy if you perform no more than 12 reps and keep the tempo slow! It surely is one of the best tricep muscle exercises. 

#2 - Overhead Triceps Extension 

Set Up: For this exercise, you will need a single dumbbell that is challenging enough to complete it, but not so heavy that you’re straining your muscles. It's one of the top tricep exercises for beginners, especially since it's easy to execute whilst still being pretty effective. 

Starting Position: 

what are the best tricep exercises for mass

  • Stand tall with your feet placed at around shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. 
  • Grip the dumbbell with both hands, palms facing inwards and fingers interlocked, and hold it securely behind your head in a central position.
  • Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle. 

Execution: 

how to do tricep exercises

  • Ensure that your core is engaged, and inhale before beginning the exercise. 
  • Drive the dumbbell overhead, exhaling as you do so, until your elbows are almost fully locked out (keep them slightly bent). 
  • You should really feel the tension build up in the triceps, especially when you pause for two seconds at the top of the movement. 
  • Inhale.
  • Bring the dumbbell back into the starting position in a controlled motion, whilst exhaling. 
  • Repeat!

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Allowing the elbows to move. If there’s one thing that you don’t want to do during this exercise, it’s allow your elbows to shift from their fixed position. Not only will this mistake eradicate any of the benefits that you should be getting from the exercise, but it could also cause injury to the muscles in your upper body. It's one of the best tricep exercises for men who wish to build muscle mass in the upper arms, but you will only see gains if you perform it correctly. 
  • Forgetting to engage the core. Since this exercise is an overhead lift, you need to transform your body into a stable base for such a movement. Engaging your core will automatically do this for you, as long as you maintain proper form. 
  • Arching the lower back. This is a sign that the weight that you’re using is too heavy. If this is the case, you should switch it out for a lighter weight until you’ve gotten used to the movement. Don’t be afraid to reach for a lighter dumbbell than the one you’re used to curling with, as the triceps are a completely different muscle to the biceps and need to be trained separately! 

Benefits of this Exercise 

  • One of the main benefits of this exercise is the fact that it engages all three heads of the triceps; the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. This means that it’s a great exercise for boosting muscular strength and hypertrophy in the upper arms, a good thing to know if this is your main goal through searching for the best tricep exercises for mass. Also, isn't bad considering it's one of the easy tricep exercises! 
  • If you struggle to maintain good posture, you’ll also be glad to know that this exercise is perfect for improving this with regular practice. This is due to the fact that during the lifting phase your core is engaged, your back is straight, and your shoulders are upright (as they should be during your every day routine). The movement therefore trains your body on how to maintain good posture as the dumbbell is moved through the full range of motion. It's one of the best shoulder tricep exercises, as it builds stability in the area. 

#3 - Triceps Overhead Extension with Rope

Set Up: For the triceps overhead rope extension (one of the most popular beginner tricep exercises), you will require a cable rope machine. If you’re using this machine within a gym setting, remember to set it to your desired weight. 

Starting Position:

tricep strength exercises

  • Start off by standing with your feet at around shoulder-width apart, or with one foot in front of the other if you prefer this stance. 
  • Grip the rope extension with both hands in an overhand grip, your palms facing inwards, and hold it overhead (you should be facing away from the machine).  
  • It should be just above head height, and ready to be extended upwards. Your elbows should be symmetrical and anchored in place. 

Execution:

top tricep exercises

  • Ensure that your core is engaged, your abdominals are drawn in, and your back is straight. Inhale. 
  • Keeping your elbows in place, exhale as you drive the rope extension upwards in a vertical motion, taking care to keep the movement controlled.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in close to your head to isolate the triceps; you should feel the stretch as you extend your arms. 
  • Pause when your arms are completely extended (for at least two seconds). 
  • Inhale as you slowly bring your arms back down into the starting position, ready for the next rep. 
  • Repeat as desired! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, biceps. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Arching the lower back. It can be common to arch the lower back when completing this exercise, especially if the weight is slightly too heavy for you. When you’re performing the exercise correctly, you should feel no pain or pressure in your back, and your body should be stable. If you find that you are arching your back, be sure to lower the weight that you’re using, the same goes for any tricep arm exercises. 
  • Allowing the elbows to drift outwards. It is common for elbows to drift outwards during the tricep overhead rope extension, especially as the muscles begin to tire. However, for maximum results you should keep your elbows tucked in throughout the movement. 

Benefits of this Exercise

  • The triceps are made up of three different heads. They are the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. One of the biggest tricep overhead rope extension benefits is that due to the fact that the rope adds increased tension to these muscles during the lifting phase, it encourages the three heads of the tricep muscles to work together to complete the movement. This means that they are all fully engaged, and makes it one of the best tricep exercises for isolating these muscles. 
  • Aside from the benefits that this exercise has on the triceps, it also increases strength and stability within the deltoids (shoulders), and is therefore useful for prepping your body for the more advanced tricep exercises for mass that you’ll be attempting in the future. So, if you're looking for shoulder tricep exercises, this is the one to go for. 

#4 - Triceps Push Down

Set Up: To complete this tricep exercise, which is also one of the best mass building tricep exercises, you will require a cable rope machine. If you’re using this machine within a gym setting rather than in your own home, remember to check the weight that it is set at; you may need to reduce it if someone else has used it beforehand. 

Starting Position: 

tricep exercises image

  • Stand facing the cable machine with your feet placed at around shoulder-width apart.
  • Grip the handle of the machine in an overhand grip, your palms facing the machine. 
  • Your back should be straight (with your neck in line with your spine), and your elbows should be anchored to your sides at around a 45-degree angle. 

Execution: 

triceps exercises

  • Ensure that your core is properly engaged before you begin the exercise. Inhale.
  • Bending at the elbows (but keeping them locked in place), push the handle down towards the ground until your arms are fully extended. You should complete this movement in a slow and controlled manner, and exhale as you do so. 
  • Hold your position for two seconds. 
  • Inhale as you slowly bring your arms back up into the starting position.
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Biceps, latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Twisting the wrists out at the bottom of the movement. This is one of the most common mistakes that people make when attempting this exercise, and as well as leaving you open to injury, it more or less eradicates all of the benefits that you’re hoping to get. You should ensure that your wrists are straight and stable at the bottom of the movement, and that the focus is on your triceps. 
  • Overloading yourself. This is never a good idea, but it’s an easy one to make during this exercise in particular since the cable machine has a different feel to it compared to free weights. You should start with a weight that is lower than what you’re used to, and increase it accordingly.  

Benefits of this Exercise 

  • If you’re looking to incorporate tricep gym exercises like the bench press and the overhead press into your routine, then you’ll be glad to know that this exercise is perfect for working on your lockout strength. This is because it improves strength in the triceps, particularly during the push down phase, and they are the muscles that provide wrist, shoulder, and elbow stability once the arms are extended. 
  • Another of the benefits of this exercise is the fact that it leads to improved muscle mass in the upper arms when used alongside progressive overload. You could say that it is one of the best tricep mass building exercises for those who find dumbbells and barbells intimidating, as it is so easy to execute and the weights can be switched effortlessly. If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, check out this guide on how to get bigger arms by OriGym for expert tips. 

Intermediate Tricep Exercises 

#5 - Kneeling Cable Triceps Extension 

Set Up: To complete the kneeling cable tricep extension, you will require a cable rope machine that is set to a weight that you’re comfortable working with, as well as a gym bench. 

Starting Position: 

tricep building exercises

  • Whilst kneeling away from the cable machine (the gym bench in front of you), grip the handle with an overhand grip, and rest your elbows on the lower section of the bench. 
  • Ensure that they are in a stable enough position to support the movement. 
  • Have your knees placed at around shoulder-width apart, and ensure that your back is straight with your head in line with your neck. 
  • The handle should be above your head, with your elbows at a 45-degree angle and ready to extend the arms in a straight line. 

Execution: 

tricep building exercises image

  • Inhale and engage your core before you begin the exercise. 
  • Bending at the elbows, slowly push the handle down until your arms are fully extended. Exhale whilst doing so.  
  • Once you reach this position, hold it for two seconds. Inhale before beginning the next phase.
  • Slowly return the handle to the starting position, exhaling as you do so and maintaining good form.
  • Repeat! 

Kneeling Cable Triceps Extension Muscles Worked 

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Biceps

Kneeling Cable Triceps Extension Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Neglecting proper form. Since this is one of the more intermediate tricep exercises on our list, it is a little tricky to pull off great form when performing it if you haven’t done so before. If you’re struggling, either focus on the mirror whilst getting into the starting position or get a friend to check and correct your form as you go. 
  • Allowing the elbows to flare out. If you allow this to happen, then you’re essentially removing all of the pressure that should be placed on the triceps, along with the benefits that this exercise should bring to them. You should always make sure that your elbows are correctly placed before you begin the exercise, and that they remain stable and steady throughout it. After all, it is one of the top tricep exercises for mass when used with progressive overload, so you want to execute it correctly.  

Kneeling Cable Triceps Extension Benefits 

  • Due to the fact that the cable machine provides the triceps with constant tension throughout the exercise, they are actually worked harder than they are during other exercises for triceps (depending on how you choose to load them up). With progressive overload, this exercise will work wonders for building strength and muscle mass in your triceps. 
  • Another of the kneeling cable tricep extension benefits is that the cable machine makes switching out weights for drop sets incredibly easy. If you’re into drop sets, you may want to drop your dumbbells in favour of the cable machine. When performed correctly, this is one of the best tricep exercises for size with regular use alongside free weights. 

#6 - Low Cable Triceps Extension

Set Up: For the low cable triceps extension, you will need a low cable pulley machine and a gym bench. This is one of the top tricep strength exercises, so prepare yourself to feel the burn! 

Starting Position:

good tricep exercises for men image

  • Begin by lying down on the gym bench, and gripping the handles of the cable machine in an overhand grip (palms facing each other). 
  • Ensure that your elbows are suspended above your head at around a 45-degree angle, and that your feet are at around shoulder-width apart on the floor. 
  • Your back should be straight, and your head should be in line with your neck. 

Execution: 

good tricep exercises for men

  • Engage your core, and inhale deeply before you start the movement. 
  • Keeping your elbows stable (this is especially important as they don’t have the support of your body or a gym bench), slowly extend your arms overhead until they are completely locked out, exhaling as you do so. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds (you should really feel the burn in your triceps). 
  • Now, inhale as you lower the handle behind your head in a semi-circular motion, until it reaches the starting position. 
  • You have successfully completed one rep - repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, rhomboids

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Locking your elbow at the extension. This is one of the best exercises for triceps, so you don't want to make this mistake. The range of movement in the exercise should be fluid, so when you reach full extension don't be tempted to lock your elbow in place for that momentary pause. Keep in loose and your arm muscles tight, before moving back into the bend.
  • Moving your upper arm. For the exercise to be beneficial to the triceps, you need to let the movement come from the forearm. The tricep will pull on the back of your arm, moving your forearm into extension. If you move your shoulders or your upper arms, the triceps will not be properly engaged. 

Benefits of this Exercise

  • The use of the cable machine means that the triceps are provided with a continuous tension throughout the exercise, whereas when free weight weights are used, there is arguably a more limited opportunity to provide resistance. It’s essentially a different method of training the area, so if you're looking for good tricep exercises for men who primarly use free weights, you should definitely incorporate this into your routine.    
  • Another of the main low cable triceps extension benefits is that they target the medial head of the triceps during the lifting phase, which is sometimes missed out during other tricep isolation exercises. Again, this is something that may influence you to choose this exercise over another free weight variation, since it makes it a little more unique. 

#7 -  Dips 

Set Up: For this tricep exercise, you will need a dip station and your own body weight - not too complicated! If you’re looking to perform the exercise at home, be sure to check out our list of the 23 best power towers here, as they’re not as expensive as you may think.  

Starting Position: 

Arm tricep exercises image

  • Grip the handles of the dip station in an overhand grip, your palms facing inwards. 
  • Push upwards, moving your feet off the ground - you may find it easier to balance if you place one foot behind the other. 
  • Rather than fully locking out your elbows, ensure that there is a slight bend in them to maximise the pressure placed upon your triceps (and to avoid injury). 
  • Ensure that your back is straight. 

Execution: 

Arm tricep exercises

  • Inhale before beginning the movement, and ensure that your core is engaged. 
  • In a controlled motion, and exhaling as you do so, lower yourself down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds.
  • Drive yourself back up into the starting position, but remember to keep your elbows from locking out completely! 
  • Repeat. 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise 

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, anterior deltoids, pectoralis major 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Dipping too low. If you dip too low, you will place extra strain on the shoulder joint that could in turn could cause injury to the area, or you could also injure your rotator cuffs (trust us, you do not want to do this). Ensure that you don’t dip past a 90-degree angle! 
  • Locking out the elbows. This will take strain away from the triceps, and therefore remove most of the benefits that the exercise has on the area. Plus, it could even cause injury if you’re new to this movement. 
  • Performing too quickly. You don’t want to rush through this exercise; it’s incredibly important to maintain a slow to moderate tempo. Whilst it is one of the most popular beginner tricep exercises and relatively easy to execute, rushing through reps will only remove the benefits that the exercise has and even lead to injury. 

Benefits of this Exercise 

  • If you’re a beginner who is just learning how to activate your triceps, there really is no better exercise for learning how to do so. Since it’s just you working against your body weight, it’s the perfect opportunity to differentiate between the instances when your triceps are working hard, and when other muscles are taking the strain. 
  • The range of motion that this exercise works the triceps over is impressive, and therefore has many benefits such as increased muscular strength and hypertrophy if you perform no more than 12 reps and keep the tempo slow!

#8 - One Arm Floor Press

Set Up: All you need to complete this exercise is a single dumbbell that you’re comfortable with lifting, and an exercise mat. It's one of the best tricep exercises for mass, especially when used with progressive overload. 

Starting Position:

most effective tricep exercises for men

  • Using an overhand grip, grab the dumbbell with your right arm and lie flat on your back.
  • Your head should be flat to the floor, and your head should be in line with your spine. 
  • Bend your knees at around a 45-degree angle, and keep your feet firmly planted to the floor. 
  • Your right elbow should be placed at around a 45-degree angle in relation to your body, and should be supporting the dumbbell in the suspended position. 

Execution:

best tricep exercises for men

  • Start by inhaling and ensuring that your core is engaged. 
  • Extend your right arm in a tight and controlled motion, whilst exhaling, until your elbow is almost locked out (but not fully). 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, then inhale. 
  • Carefully bring the dumbbell back down into the starting position, ensuring that your elbow is hovering just above the ground to maintain resistance. 
  • Begin your next rep! 

One Arm Floor Press Muscles Worked

  • Primary Movers: Pectoralis major, deltoids. 
  • Secondary Muscles: Triceps, rectus abdominis.

One Arm Floor Press Mistakes to Avoid

  • Raising your shoulder blades. Your shoulder blades should be driven into the ground as you execute this tricep exercise. Otherwise, you will not have a stable base for the movement, and you could sustain a nasty injury to your shoulders or lower back. 
  • Moving too quickly. Remember to pause at the top of the movement to receive all of the benefits of this exercise, and at the bottom of the lift to negate the stretch reflex.
  • Locking out the elbow. If you fully lock out your elbow at the top of the movement, you will take some of the strain away from the triceps and place it on the elbow joint instead. Trust us, you do not want to do this! Always ensure that you leave some room for added resistance. 

One Arm Floor Press Benefits

  • One of the most talked about one arm floor press benefits is the fact that it provides shoulder pain reduction through a stable base. Since the exercise utilises the floor as a stable base rather than having to rely heavily on the form of the user to stay outside of the ‘danger zone’, the risk of injury is reduced as well as the feeling of shoulder pain and discomfort. Therefore, it's one of the most effective tricep exercises for men who have previously sustained a shoulder injury. 
  • Although it appears to be an easier variation of the bench press, there is more to the story. It’s actually one of the most useful tricep bench exercises to perform alongside the bench press, since it can help you to improve your one rep max with regular practice. 

#9 - Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension 

Set Up: For this exercise, you need an exercise band packed with enough resistance to challenge your triceps without causing you to work to exhaustion.

Starting Position:

tricep exercises for men

  • Take the exercise band and anchor it beneath your left or right foot, and stand with your opposite forward (so that the band is centrally positioned).  
  • Hold the band with both hands in an underhand grip, just behind your head. 
  • Ensure that your elbows are anchored in the correct position; they shouldn’t move at all throughout the exercise, and you may find it helpful to imagine an imaginary pole connecting them together. 
  • To check that you are in the correct starting position, you may find it useful to perform a few quick test reps. The band should be moving in a straight line above your head, from where it is slack (just above your shoulder blades) to the overhead position. 

Execution: 

tricep gym exercises

  • Inhale and engage your core before beginning the exercise. 
  • Drive the band upwards until your elbows are almost (but not fully locked out). 
  • Swiftly return to the starting position, before driving the band upwards again. 
  • You don’t have to pause during this exercise, but you should ensure that you are performing it with proper form and that you’re feeling the burn in your triceps and not in your elbows. 
  • Complete your set, and take a rest before the next one! 

Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, pectoralis major

Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension Mistakes to Avoid

  • Using a slack or loose band. If you don't have the band anchored securely under your foot then it won't be tight enough to provide your triceps with adequate resistance. The point of the exercise is to feel the tightness in the band and feel your muscles working against it, so you should ensure that it is tight before beginning! 
  • Moving your arms forward. It can feel tempting to begin the movement with your elbows pointing up and forwards, away from your head. However, this is poor form and will not work your triceps. You need to ensure that your elbows are in line with your shoulders; straight up and pointing at the ceiling.

Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension Benefits

  • Since this exercise uses less resistance than many of those that require free weights, it’s actually one of the best intermediate tricep exercises for those who are used to the movement but are looking to train the triceps a little differently to the way they usually do, or for those who have sustained an injury and are looking for useful rehab exercises that allow you to condition and build strength within the triceps in gentler way. 
  • Another of the speed band overhead triceps extension benefits is the fact that the exercise is brilliant for working on shoulder mobility and flexibility. It’s a pretty shoulder-friendly tricep exercise in comparison to those that use dumbbells or barbells, and is therefore a great one to use in between the more strenuous variations. 

#10 - Two Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Tricep Extension 

Set Up: For this exercise, you will need a set of dumbbells of equal weight. It's one of the best tricep exercises for bodybuilding, so prepare yourself! You may even find it helpful to check out our guide on mental toughness for these kind of exercises. 

Starting Position:

best tricep exercises for mass

  • Grip the dumbbells in an overhand grip, your palms facing inwards. 
  • Stand straight with your feet at around shoulder-with apart, a slight bend in your knees and your neck in line with your spine. 
  • Bend at your waist to bring your torso forward, so that it ends up at a 45-degree angle in relation to the floor. 
  • Bring your upper arms up so they are at a 45-degree angle in relation to your torso, and bend your elbows at around a 90-degree angle, the dumbbells suspended next to your thighs. 

Execution: 

tricep exercises for mass

  • Keeping proper form, drive the dumbbells backwards - your back should remain straight, and your head should remain in line with your spine. 
  • Both arms should move in unison, and your elbows should remain steady and fixed in their position. 
  • You should feel the burn in your triceps during the lifting phase, especially as the dumbbells reach the top position of the movement. 
  • Stop when your arms are fully extended, and hold your position for two seconds.  
  • Carefully bring the dumbbells back down into the starting position in a slow and steady motion. 
  • Complete as many reps as needed!

Two Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Tricep Extension Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids 

Standing Bent Over Two Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension Mistakes to Avoid

  • Locking your elbow at the extension. The range of movement in the exercise should be fluid, so when you reach full extension don't be tempted to lock your elbows in place for that momentary pause. Keep them loose and your arm muscles tight, before moving back into the bend.
  • Moving your arms at different times. For the exercise to be completed with proper form, you need to ensure that both arms are completing the movements at the same time. If you find that one arm is lagging behind the other, use a lighter weight before progressing. 

Two Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Tricep Extension Benefits

  • This exercise is great for those who are looking for something a little different to the standard overhead dumbbell tricep extension, as it’s a completely different movement and arguably more challenging. It’s one of the most effective tricep isolation exercises when performed correctly, and works wonders for building strength and tone in the area. 
  • Compared to other tricep building exercises, the standing bent over two arm dumbbell triceps extension benefits the user by forcing them into training their triceps equally. It creates an equal weight distribution, which is why the exercise can seem more challenging in comparison to others, but this is better for training the muscles in the long run! 

#11 - TRX Triceps Extension 

Set Up: The TRX triceps extension exercise requires either a TRX suspension system or a similar piece of kit. It's one of the best mass building tricep exercises that you can perform without the use of free weights! 

Starting Position:

Exercises for the tricep image

  • Begin by hooking the suspension anchor to a safe point, and allow the handles to hang slightly above head height. 
  • Turn your back to the system, and grip one handle in each hand in an overhand grip.
  • Balance on your toes, and extend your arms (but without locking your elbows out). 
  • Push the handles out until the ropes are taught. Your back should be straight, and there should be a slight bend in your knee. You should feel a little pressure on your shoulders and arms. 

Execution:

Exercises to build tricep muscle image

  • Ensure that your core is engaged, and inhale before beginning the movement. 
  • Exhale as you lower your body by bending at the elbows, focusing all of the pressure in your upper arms. Stop when your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle, and inhale.
  • Hold this position for two seconds. 
  • Exhale as you use your triceps to drive your body upwards, maintaining proper form as you do so. You should do this at a slightly lower tempo compared to the first phase of the exercise, to really feel the burn. 
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise 

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Biceps, deltoids 

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Arching the back. If you fail to keep your back straight during this exercise, you risk injuring your lower back or shoulders. You will remove any pressure that the triceps should be feeling, and eradicate the benefits of the exercise in the process. 
  • Locking out the elbows. This can place pressure on the elbow joints, and remove tension from the triceps. You should maintain a slight bend in your arms at all times to avoid this. 
  • Rushing through reps. To truly reap the benefits from this exercise, you should perform each rep with a slow tempo. If you rush through reps, you will place the strain on other muscles and joints, instead of focusing on the triceps. 

Benefits of the TRX Triceps Extension Exercise:

  • One of the main benefits of this exercise is that when done correctly, it is incredibly effective for training the triceps in terms of strength and muscle mass. It’s a bulk building workout for those that want to grow their arms, and who still value core training as part of their tricep workout exercises. 
  • This exercise will work wonders for the overall stability and balance of your upper body, and even help you to improve your performance in other exercises. This is due to the fact that your body is essentially suspended in mid-air during the movement, and your muscles must work together to keep it stable. 

Advanced Tricep Exercises 

#12 - Weighted Bench Dip 

Set Up: For the weighted bench dip, one of the most popular tricep bench exercises, you will need two gym benches lined up parallel to one another, and a plate that you’re comfortable with using for this exercise. You may want to start small whilst you get used to the movement. 

Starting Position: 

Tricep workout exercises image

  • Begin by placing your hands on the edge of one bench; your thumbs should be facing one another.  
  • Next, balance your feet on the opposite gym bench, your heels in the centre of it and your ankles supported by its edge. 
  • Your arms should be almost straight, but your elbows shouldn’t be fully locked out, and you should be resting your weight on the heels of your hands. 
  • Get your spotter to place the plate in your lap, so that you are ready to begin the exercise. 

Execution: 

Tricep workout exercises

  • Ensure that your core is properly engaged, and inhale. 
  • Whilst exhaling, lower yourself down in a controlled motion until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale. 
  • Exhale as you drive yourself back up into the starting position, maintaining proper form and keeping a tight core. Remember to avoid locking out your elbows! 
  • Repeat.  

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, pectoralis major, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Flaring the elbows. This is a common mistake for those who perform tricep exercises in the gym. Your elbows shouldn’t jut out to the sides or move from their fixed position during the exercise. You should ensure that they remain stationary throughout the exercise so that your triceps are fully engaged at all times, and the benefits of the exercise aren’t lifted by shifting the pressure onto your joints and secondary muscles. 
  • Rushing the movement. It can be tempting to rush through this tricep exercise, especially since it calls upon a good amount of tricep strength (which is difficult to build). If you’re rushing through the reps, this is a sign that you’re either using a weight that is too heavy or you’ve progressed to weighted bench dips too quickly.

Benefits of this Exercise

  • This is a fantastic exercise for building both strength and muscle mass in the triceps, especially since you’re able to use it with progressive overload. It’s a functional movement that helps to build strength and stability in your upper body as a whole, and can even improve your chest press with regular practice. 
  • Dips in general will make the joints in your wrists, shoulders, and elbows stronger, but weighted dips will do this even more so since you can progressively increase the resistance that they’re working against over time

#13 - One Arm Supinated Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Set Up: For this exercise, one of the best tricep building exercises, you will need a single dumbbell that you’re comfortable with lifting (bear in mind that your tricep as the main muscle worked), as well as a gym bench. 

Starting Position: 

best triceps exercises

  • Grip the dumbbell with your left hand, in an underhand grip.
  • Lie on the gym bench with your back straight, and your head in line with your spine. 
  • Your feet should be at around shoulder-width apart on the floor, and bent at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Hold the dumbbell with your arm at a 90-degree angle, so that the dumbbell is suspended above your face. Your wrist should be in a supinated position. 
  • Feel free to support your left arm with your right; you can hold your bicep throughout the movement to do so. 
  • You’re now ready to begin the exercise. 

Execution: 

best tricep exercises image

  • Ensure that your core is engaged and that your back remains straight. 
  • Inhale. 
  • Drive the dumbbell upwards until your elbow is almost locked out, exhaling as you do so. This is one of the main tricep power exercises, so the movement should be explosive yet controlled. 
  • Hold this position for two seconds, and inhale. 
  • Carefully bring the dumbbell back down into the starting position, exhaling as you do so and making sure that you maintain proper form. 
  • Repeat! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: None 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Rushing through reps. If you're speeding through your reps to get this triceps exercise finished in record time, you're actually going to remove the benefits that the exercise has on your upper arms. You should ensure that you perform this exercise with a slow and controlled movement only, otherwise it will have no desired affect on your triceps, and you'll risk injury, 
  • Locking out the elbows. This will only take the focus away from the triceps, and place pressure on the elbow and shoulder joints instead. We would strongly recommend that you avoid this at all costs, and keep a slight bend in your elbow at all times. 

Benefits of this Exercise 

  • The exercise requires a supinated grip, and performing it this way regularly is a great way of ensuring that your muscle development is balanced. If you train only using a pronated grip, or overhand grip, your muscle development won’t be as complete as it could be.
  • Since this exercise is performed whilst lying on a flat bench, it is automatically more challenging to execute and therefore holds more benefits for the triceps when compared to standing tricep exercises.

#14 - Lying Tricep Press

Set Up: For the lying tricep press (one of the most talked about tricep bench exercises), you will need a gym bench and a barbell, as well as plates that you’re comfortable with using for this exercise. 

Starting Position: 

best tricep exercises

  • Begin by lying flat on the gym bench with your back straight, and gripping the barbell with an underhand grip (your wrists should be pronated). Your hands should be somewhere between close-grip and wide-grip, and your elbows should be in line with them.  
  • Ensure that your elbows are positioned in a 90-degree angle. 
  • Have your feet positioned at around shoulder-width apart.

Execution: 

exercises for triceps

  • Ensure that your core is properly engaged. 
  • Inhale.
  • Whilst exhaling, press the barbell upwards in a controlled motion, until your elbows are almost locked out.
  • Hold this position for at least two seconds, and inhale. 
  • Exhale as you lower the barbell, bending at your elbows, until it reaches the starting position. 
  • The exercise can then be repeated for your desired amount of reps! 

Lying Tricep Press Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Abdominis rectus, deltoids

Common Mistakes with the Lying Tricep Press: 

  • Flinging the weight. Be careful as you return to the starting position that you don’t fling the weight back upwards. There’s a big difference between driving it upwards in a controlled motion, and flinging it aimlessly! You should maintain a controlled motion at all times so as to not cause injury to yourself. 
  • Moving the elbows. Your elbows shouldn’t jut out to the sides or move up and down during the exercise. Keep them stationary throughout the movement so that your triceps are fully engaged at all times, and the benefits of the exercise aren’t lifted by shifting the pressure onto your joints and other muscles. 
  • Rushing the movement. When repeating the movement, keep a steady pace by pausing and holding the contraction of the muscles at the top. 

Cable Lying Triceps Benefits: 

  • While it’s classed as one of the more advanced tricep exercises, it’s definitely one of the most beneficial once you’re able to work your way up to it. There aren’t many other exercises out there that target the triceps in isolation as much as the lying tricep press does, so it’s definitely one to try if you’re looking for something that is more of a challenge. 
  • The triceps have to work through a larger range of motion during this exercise when compared to exercises like overhead extensions, which means that additional pressure is placed on them. If you slowly work your way up in terms of the plates that you use for this exercise, you’ll be able to train with progressive overload too, leading yo greater muscle mass in your triceps. 

#15 - Pin Presses

Set Up: This is one of the most effective tricep exercises for mass, and one of the most popular tricep bench exercises. You will need access to a gym bench, a barbell, and a set of plates that you’re comfortable with lifting. Set the pins on the power rack so that the barbell is on your chest at the bottom position. 

Starting Position:

tricep exercise image

  • Lie on the bench with your back straight, and the bar at chest level. 
  • You should be holding it in an overhand grip, with your hands placed somewhere between close-grip and wide-grip (your usual overhead press position). 
  • Your scapulae should be pulled back and your shoulders should be firmly set on the bench. 
  • Tuck your chin in towards your upper chest, while pulling your legs back and keeping your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be placed at around shoulder-width apart. 
  • Your elbows should be positioned at around a 45-degree angle. 

Execution:

tricep exercises photos

  • Ensure that your core is properly engaged, and inhale before beginning the movement. 
  • While contracting your chest, extend your elbows to drive the barbell upwards. While it’s an explosive movement, you should still maintain full control and ensure that you maintain proper form. 
  • At the top position, lock out your arms and flex your chest. Hold this position for two seconds. 
  • In a slow and controlled movement, bring the bar back down into starting position. 
  • Leave the bar on the pins for a count of ‘one’ before starting the next rep. 
  • Repeat the exercise until you have completed your desired number of reps!

Muscles Worked:

Primary Movers: Triceps, pectoralis major

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids 

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Incorrect grip. You should grip the bar with your thumbs to gain the best control, and grip the bar hard throughout the duration of the exercise to maintain proper tension in the chest and triceps. 
  • Elbow flaring. Flaring your elbows out during the descent can lead to shoulder injury. When lowering the barbell, ensure that you position your elbows inwards, towards your lats.
  • Rushing through reps. It can be tempting to rush through this exercise, especially since it’s such an explosive movement in comparison to some of the other tricep exercises for men that are listed here. However, you should ensure that you maintain control at all times and only adjust the tempo once you have gotten used to the movement. 

Benefits of this Exercise:

  • The pin press is an explosive compound exercise that builds strength and muscular hypertrophy in the triceps, as well as in the pectorals and the shoulders as secondary muscles worked. It's one of the more effective tricep muscle exercises. During the lifting phase, the user drives the barbell upwards in an explosive movement but keeps the elbows out of the locked position, which maintains a lot of resistance and puts a good amount of pressure on both of these areas.  
  • Aside from these pin press benefits, another of the main ones is the fact that they are perfect for those looking to work on their bench press technique. The decreased range of motion makes it easy to execute and allows for greater loading too, meaning that this is a perfect tricep exercise for those looking to build muscle mass as well as the stability required for other pressing exercises. 

#16 - Lying Close Grip Barbell Triceps Press to Chin

Set Up: You will require a gym bench, a barbell/EZ bar, and plates at a weight of your choice to be able to perform this exercise. 

Starting Position:

tricep exercise

  • Lay with your back straight and flat on the bench.
  • Your feet should be placed at around shoulder-width apart, flat on the floor. 
  • Your hands should be placed in a close-grip position, hence the name of this tricep exercise, in an overhand grip and with the wrists pronated (palms facing outwards). 
  • However, make sure they’re not placed so close together that it feels uncomfortable - taking this precaution will protect your wrists. 

Execution:

triceps exercises image

  • Engage your core and pull your shoulder blades together to enhance stability. 
  • Inhale. 
  • Press the barbell upwards in a slow and controlled motion by bending at the elbows, exhaling as you do so.
  • During this movement, it’s incredibly important to keep your elbows stable and fixed in place. 
  • Once the barbell reaches the overhead position, pause for at least two seconds. Your elbows should be almost locked out, but not fully. 
  • Inhale before bringing the barbell back down into the starting position, maintaining good form and exhaling as you do so. 
  • Repeat! 

Lying Close Grip Barbell Triceps Press to Chin Muscles Worked

Primary Movers: Triceps 

Secondary Muscles: Deltoids, pectoralis major 

Lying Close Grip Barbell Triceps Press to Chin Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Arching the lower back. One of the most common lying close grip barbell triceps press mistakes to avoid is arching the lower back. This usually happens when the weight is slightly too heavy for you. When using the right weight, you should feel no pain, pressure, or lifting in your lower back. Your body should be stable. So, if you do feel any of this, be sure to reduce the weight that you’re lifting for the time being. It is one of the most effective tricep exercises for bodybuilding, but only if you perform it correctly! 
  • Allowing your elbows to drift outwards. It is common for elbows to drift outwards, especially as the muscles begin to tire, but for maximum results you should keep your elbows tucked in throughout the exercise. Otherwise, you could even face a nasty injury. 
  • Lifting too heavy. This can cause soreness and stiffness in the muscles within the neck. Listen to your body and rest when needed. Also, if using heavier loads, use a spotter for safety. 

Lying Close Grip Barbell Triceps Press to Chin Benefits:

  • During the pressing phase, the close-grip variation of the bench press targets the triceps much more than the variation that uses a standard grip. It is perfect for building strength and muscular hypertrophy in the area, making it one of the best bodybuilding tricep exercises for men.
  • As well as the triceps, which benefit hugely from this exercise, your shoulders are strengthened and stabilised throughout the exercise, as well as your pectorals. This will increase the overall strength and hypertrophy of your upper body, especially when performed alongside other upper body exercises, such as the landmine press or the TRX clock press to name a few. 

#17 - Close-Grip Push Up 

Set Up: For the triceps close-grip push up, otherwise known as one of the best tricep building exercises, all you will require is your own bodyweight and perhaps a gym mat to make the exercise more comfortable to execute. 

Starting Position: 

  • Start by getting into a regular push up position, by balancing on your toes and keeping your back upright and straight.
  • Rather than having your hands positioned underneath your shoulders, move them so that they are only a few centimeters apart (but not so close that it is uncomfortable for your wrists). 
  • Your elbows should be placed at a 45-degree angle in relation to your body, but your arms should be at around a 90-degree angle before the exercise begins, as shown in the image above. 

Execution: 

  • Engage your core and glutes, and inhale before beginning the movement.
  • Drive yourself upwards (exhaling) using your arms as the main source of power (this is one of the main tricep power exercises, after all), until you reach the top position of the push up - but don’t completely lock out your elbows. 
  • You should feel the burn in your triceps, especially from not entirely locking out your elbows - maintaining the resistance is crucial. 
  • Hold your position for two seconds, and inhale before the second phase of the exercise. 
  • Exhale as you lower your body back into the starting position in a controlled motion.
  • Repeat the exercise! 

Muscles Worked During this Exercise

Primary Movers: Triceps

Secondary Muscles: Pectoralis major, anterior deltoid 

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  • Elbow positioning. Having your elbows at around a 45-degree angle in relation to your body rather than a 90-degree angle can make the world of difference to this exercise. If your elbows are flaring out at your sides, you’re going to lack stability and make the movement more difficult for yourself. You’ll also erase the benefits that the movement acn have on your triceps, so be sure to keep your form nice and tight. 
  • Hand positioning. This is a close grip push up, but that’s not the only thing that you need to think about when positioning your hands. This is one of the best tricep exercises for men who are looking to build muscle mass, but only if performed well. Before you drive upwards, your hands should be in line with your sternum, rather than going in front of your shoulders, to ensure a stable position. 
  • Arching the back. If you fail to keep your back straight during this exercise, not only will you risk seriously injuring yourself, but you will also place the pressure that you should be applying to your triceps onto your lower back. 

Benefits of this Exercise 

  • This is a compound exercise that places pressure on your triceps, shoulders, chest, core, back, and glutes, and therefore strengthens all of these areas in turn, the upper body receiving most of the benefits. 
  • While it’s difficult to use with progressive overload, thanks to its high difficulty level it's actually one of the best bodybuilding tricep exercises in the absence of free weights. Plus, you could even try incorporating a weight vest once it becomes too easy. Check out this list of the 23 Best Weighted Vests by OriGym to discover the products that are available! 

Conclusion 

Now that you've made it through our list of tricep exercises, it's time to take action and plan your new arm day workout. No more focusing on the biceps alone; you're now well-equipped to take your training to the next level, especially with all the tricep muscle building exercises mentioned above. 

Next time someone asks you how to do tricep exercises, you'll have all of the expert knowledge that you need to impress them - we bet they haven't heard of all of the exercises above! 

If you do have a natural tendancy to help others, you may find that personal training is a great career change idea. Interested in learning more? Go ahead and take a look at OriGym's full range of PT qualifications, or download our course prospectus before you go.  

Written by Chloe Twist

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Chloe on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Chloe graduated with a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moores University and prior to OriGym worked at J&R Digital Marketing Agency on the Liverpool 'Female Founders' series. Since joining the company, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and advanced Sports Nutrition Specialist. Chloe’s professional interests intersect content-development and the world of online fitness, especially across social media and YouTube, and Chloe has herself contributed pieces on fitness and weight loss to sites including the Daily Star and The Express. Outside her day-to-day role, Chloe enjoys playing the guitar, gaming and kettlebell training. 

Recommended Posts

Download Your 16 week Home Strength Training Programme

Download Your 16 week Home Strength Training Programme