Shoulders and biceps are the two arm muscles, often over trained, in comparison to triceps. Triceps are a much smaller muscle and so it can tire more easily and be tough to train, aching quickly. However, with these great exercises, you can be sure to reap the benefits and improve your triceps, no matter what your shape or size.
Triceps are a vital muscle for many sports performances. They add strength, meaning you can throw further and faster and punch harder. In addition to this, well-toned triceps muscles are very aesthetically pleasing.
We’ll begin with a list of exercises suitable for beginners.
Press ups are a great all -round workout; they are also a great way to build triceps. To work your triceps muscles, keep your elbows close in to your body the whole time, as opposed to having your elbows go out at the sides as you usually would. You can adopt the diamond press up position for an optimal triceps workout, however, this will make your press up harder, so if you struggle to repeat a high number of reps in this position, bring your hands slightly wider, so they are placed under your shoulders. Slowly lower down towards the floor and then push back up with speed to maximise results from this workout.
Grab a pair of light dumbbells, or tins of food/bottles of water if you don’t have access to dumbbells. Stand in front of a mirror, holding your 2-3kg dumbbell in front of your chin. Stand square, knees slightly bent, palm facing down. Punch forwards to head height, hard and fast. Alternate arms as you punch, going for speed and force. Complete 60-90 seconds and build up as you improve.
Overhead Triceps Extension
Hold a dumbbell behind your head, with your elbow tucked right in to the side of your head. Straighten your arm without allowing your elbow to come away, and return to the start position. You can work arms alternately, or do one side and then the other, or if you wish, hold the weight with both hands and straighten together. You will need to change the leading arm half way though, to ensure an even workout.
Alternatively, attach a rope to the pulley of the cable machine, face away from the machine, and extend arms until they are fully above your head. Slowly return to the start position.
Either of these workouts will work your triceps. Go for a high amount of reps, over and above a heavier weight. Repetition and good form will build your muscles at a faster rate, with a much lesser risk of injury.
Get a chair, low coffee table, bench or stair. Place your hands on the bench, fingers forward, legs extended straight out in front of you. Your bottom is ahead of the bench. Keep your elbows tucked in, and lower your bottom towards the floor by bending your arms, then straighten your arms to come back to start position. Keep the movements slow and controlled, making the apparatus higher for more of a challenge.
Intermediate Triceps Exercises
Triceps Kick Back
Place your right knee and right hand on a bench, and hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Keep your elbow tucked into your side, back straight, and your arm at a 90-degree angle. Extend from the elbow, pushing the lower arm to full extension behind you. Hold here. Lower back to start position. Again, high repetitions are ideal for this exercise, preferential over a higher weight. Repeat on the other side.
Lay flat on your back with a barbell weight. Bring your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, palms facing forwards. Slowly lower the barbell down towards your chest, as you bend your arms, and then push up to the start position with speed.
There is a close grip option listed below, which will isolate the triceps muscles more than the chest press, however, this chest press still requires effort from the arms, and is a great way to build up to the more advanced options.
Not only does this great exercise work your triceps, it also strengthens your core muscles and the whole of your upper body. Grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and get into a high plank position, with your weights in your hands. Keep your hips tucked and your body stable as you bring your right arm up, until the upper arm is slightly higher than your torso. Lower the weight back down. Repeat the desired number of reps, (around 25) and then complete on the other side.
If this is too much, you can drop your knees if you need to. You should not be feeling pain in your lower back. If you are, drop your knees or lower your weights, and work within your limits. Build up over time, we all have our own journey.
Advanced Triceps Exercises
Similar to the above-mentioned chest press, rest on your back with your barbell. This time, we are going to keep a narrow grip on the barbell, with hands about a fist apart. Lock your arms above you, and then lower the bar until it touches your chest, keeping your elbows tucked closely into your body the whole time. Push your bar back up to start position and hold, before slowly lowering again.
Lay on your back and hold a barbell above your head, narrow grip. Keep your elbows square, and bend at the elbow, bringing the barbell down towards your forehead, and then push back up to the start position. This is tough. Begin with a low weight, or even just the bar, until you perfect the technique. If you want to make it slightly easier, you can use dumbbells for this, as it gives you more manoeuvrability, however, try to keep that position still, as much as you are able to.
With all of these exercises, remember to warm up and cool down, and build up over time. You also need to ensure you are giving yourself rest days and recovery periods to allow your muscles to repair and to grow.
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