Updated September 17, 2020If you want strong and toned arms, focus on building your triceps. Most people include bicep-building exercises to their workout regimen, but the triceps are overlooked. Triceps are the muscles at the back of the arms and they constitute 60 to 70 percent of your upper arm size.Training your triceps adds definition, increases arm size, and strengthens your upper body. In this article, we discuss why it is important to include tricep exercises in your workout routine and we go over the 8 best tricep exercises.What are Triceps?The triceps, or the triceps brachii, is a three-headed muscle joining the upper arms to the shoulder joint. Muscle heads are the points where tendons attach to the skeleton, so the triceps attaches to the shoulder joint in three places. The three heads of the tricep muscles are called the long, lateral, and medial heads.The function of the triceps is to extend the elbow so your forearm can reach out. For example, you use your triceps when pushing a shopping cart or opening a door. Triceps also help you move your arms behind your body.Why Do You Need Tricep Exercises?Strong muscles at the back of your arms can improve elbow joint health and prevent pain during weightlifting or other exercises. Tricep exercises also enhance athletic performance as strong arms are needed for strenuous workouts.Including tricep exercises in your strength training routine has the following benefits:Prevents joint pain: Strong triceps can improve elbow joint health by protecting the tendons and ligaments from strains and tears during workouts.Aids shoulder and chest development: More muscle mass at the back of your upper arm gives you the strength needed for intense workout sessions, which in turn increases shoulder width and chest development.Keeps older people in good form: Older people generally find it difficult to push themselves out of low seats because their arms lack strength. Tricep exercises can strengthen the arms and support the body when you’re trying to push yourself out of a low seat. Strong arms also serve as a shock absorber in case you stumble and your hand bears the impact of the fall.How to Do the Best Tricep ExercisesIf you want well-defined and sculpted arms, your exercises must involve all three heads of the triceps. Since the long head of the triceps is the largest, it determines the overall look of your upper arms. Well-developed lateral and medial heads are also necessary for muscular and strong upper arms.The American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned a study to record muscle activity during 8 common tricep exercises. Researchers attached EMG (electromyography) electrodes on the triceps of subjects while they were involved in their arm workouts. The EMG measures muscle response or electrical activity at the back of the upper arm while you are performing the tricep exercises. Higher electrical activity means better muscle growth.Based on their findings, the ACE study ranks the most effective exercises in order of efficiency. Some of these exercises emphasize on all the three heads of the triceps, while others train either the long, lateral, or medial head of the triceps.The triangle pushups, triceps kickbacks, and dips are all great exercises involving the three different heads of the triceps, so they can be used interchangeably. The remaining five exercises can be added to your training workout for stronger and more defined arms.Exercises are counted by reps, short for repetition. Reps are the action of one complete strength training exercise, like one push-up. Repeating an exercise over and over again without any rest makes one set. For example, one set of pushups may include 10 or 15 reps; then rest for 30 to 90 seconds and start with the next set.The following exercises can be done in 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps each.Triangle PushupsTriangle pushups are the best exercise for building triceps as they generate maximum electrical activity, and more electrical activity leads to faster muscle growth when compared to exercises generating lesser electrical activity. This exercise helps you tone your triceps faster than any other on our list. The triangle pushup is similar to the standard pushup, except for your hands are close together and your fingers form a triangle shape.How to Do the Triangle Push-Ups:Lie on your exercise mat with your hands beneath your chest.Spread your fingers, joining the thumb and forefingers of both hands such that they form a triangle.Straighten your legs in a plank position.Push up your body and then lower it down until your chin or chest touches the mat.Tricep KickbacksTricep kickbacks are the second most effective exercise for building the muscles at the back of your upper arm. Kickbacks are a good upper body exercise that strengthens your shoulders as well. You’ll need a set of dumbbells for this exercise. Start with lightweight ones (3-5lbs) and then gradually increase the weight.How to Do Tricep Kickbacks:Prop your right foot on a step, resting your right forearm on your thigh so your head, neck, and back are in a straight line.Pick up a weight with your left hand and throw back your forearm behind your torso, contracting your tricep.Lower your forearm by about 90 degrees, then throw it back again.While doing this exercise, try to keep your upper arms stationary.Repeat the exercise by lifting the weight with your right hand.DipsDips can be performed by either keeping your knees bent or straight. It’s better for first-timers to start by keeping their knees in a bent position, as the straight position is harder. If you want a more intense workout then do your dips without bending your knees. You’ll need a chair to rest your hands on while performing the dips.How to Do Dips:Sit on a chair with your hands resting on the sides.Make sure you don’t slump, otherwise, you may strain your shoulders.Extend your legs out, keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees or straighten them if you want a more intense workout.Bend your elbows, pointing them behind you, and lower your hips.Extend your elbows and lift your body up, lowering it again to repeat the exercise.Overhead Tricep ExtensionsLifting weights up above your head contracts the muscles at the back of your arms, helping you build your triceps. You’ll need a set of dumbbells for this exercise. You can either sit or stand while doing the overhead tricep extensions. Generally, this exercise is more difficult while sitting down.How to Do Overhead Tricep Extensions:Sit on a chair or stand up straight, holding a weight in both your hands.Extend your arms up above your head, weight in hand.Keep your biceps close to your ears, lowering your forearms behind your head until they form a 90-degree angle with your elbows pointing forward.Then straighten your arms, contracting your triceps, and repeat the exercise again.Rope PushdownsRope pushdowns are the fifth most effective way to build your triceps. This exercise is usually done in the gym because you need a cable machine with a rope attachment to contract your muscles.How to Do Rope Pushdowns:Hold the rope at both the knotted ends.Keep your elbows at a 90-degree angle, ensuring they are close to your torso.Extend your arms, pushing the rope down towards the floor.Spread your arms slightly out on either side as you contract the triceps.Bar PushdownsBar pushdowns are like rope pushdowns, but in this exercise, a bar is attached to the cable machine instead of a rope. It’s crucial to keep your elbows stationary during this exercise, otherwise, the efficacy of the exercise is reduced.How to Do Bar Pushdowns:Hold the bars with both hands, keeping your elbows at a 90-degree angle.Without moving your elbows, push the bar down, contracting your triceps.Bring the bar back up to chest level and repeat the exercise.Lying Barbell Tricep ExtensionsLying barbell tricep extensions are also called French presses. You’ll need a bench and a barbell for this exercise.How to Do Lying Barbell Tricep Extensions:Lie on your back on the exercise bench, ensuring your head is slightly hanging off the bench.Hold the barbell with both hands about shoulder-width apart.Lift the weight up above your head, extending your arms with your palms facing out.Lower the weight by bending your elbows, bringing the barbell down behind your head. Make sure you have a good grip on the barbell because if it slips out of your hand, there’s a risk of serious injury. Consider using a spotter during the first few days of practicing this exercise.Close Grip Bench PressThis is more of a compound exercise than an isolation exercise targeting just the triceps. It helps you build your triceps and chest, so it may not be as effective as an isolation exercise meant only for the triceps, like triangle push-ups or overhead tricep extensions.How to Do the Close Grip Bench Press:Lie on your back on an exercise bench.Hold a barbell with both hands about shoulder-width apart.The barbell should be a little over your ribcage.Extend your arms, lifting the weight up so your triceps contract; then bring it down back in position and repeat the exercise.FAQsHow can I tone my triceps fast?To tone your triceps fast, focus on isolation exercises that target only the muscles at the back of your arms. For example, exercises like triangle push-ups generate intense muscle activity, cutting down extra flab in your upper arms. Repeat these exercises four to six times a week, for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 16 reps each.How can I strengthen my triceps at home?You can strengthen your triceps at home by performing the triangle pushups, kickbacks, and dips. You don’t have to go to the gym for any of these exercises. They are the top three most effective workouts for building triceps. You’ll need a set of dumbbells for the kickbacks, a chair for the dips, and an exercise mat for the triangle pushups.Can flabby arms really be toned?Yes, flabby arms can be toned with the right tricep exercises like triangle push-ups, kickbacks, dips, and overhead tricep extensions. Perform one or two of these tricep exercises 4 to 6 times a week. Complement your workouts with a healthy diet to reduce fat deposits in the arms.How do I get stronger triceps without weights?Triangle pushups, dips, rope pushdowns, and bar pushdowns can help you build stronger triceps without the use of weights. Your upper arm muscles contract as you perform these exercises, adding strength to your triceps.Can I workout arms every day?You can train your arms 2 to 6 times per week. The more frequently you train arms, the fewer exercises you should do per day. If you workout arms twice a week, you should do 2 to 3 exercises spread over 3 to 4 total sets per day. If you train arms 6 days a week, do one exercise with only 2 sets per workout.ConclusionYour regular workouts are usually compound exercises targeting multiple muscle groups, including your triceps, but most of the tricep exercises focus only on the muscles at the back of your arms. These isolation exercises train one muscle group so they are more effective when you want to build your triceps. Include 2 to 3 sets of these tricep exercises in your daily exercise routine for strong and well-defined arms.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.