How to Build Your Triceps

Located at the back of the upper arms, the tricep muscles are often forgotten but are crucial if you’re looking to build stronger, leaner and more sculpted arms.

Each tricep is made up of three areas, lateral, medial and long heads, and although it’s only one muscle, each of the areas needs to be worked on in order to build muscle properly. Although many people focus on biceps in their workout, the triceps are twice the size of the bicep muscle, meaning they’re important if you’re looking to create upper body strength in general. According to several studies, it’s important that you don’t just tack on tricep workouts to the end of your workout either. Give them the time and focus they deserve and work them at the start of your session. In doing so you’ll warm up the smaller muscles they’re connected to (including your biceps) and increase the performance of the rest of your workout too. Creating stronger triceps isn’t just about the arms though, ensuring you pay attention to them when you work out will also improve overall upper body strength as well as general flexibility, stability and range of motion. Here are three of the best exercises to try.

Tricep extensions

A great isolation exercise to work the triceps, this also targets your shoulders, chest, lats and forearms.

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands above your head.
  • Slowly and with control, lower the dumbbell behind your head, flexing at the elbows but keeping your upper arms still.
  • Extend your arms back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 15 reps.

Tricep kickbacks

Good for targeting the long head especially, tricep kickbacks will also help improve upper body strength and contribute to better stability and flexibility.

  • Start by standing hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend your arms to a 90 degree with your palms facing each other. You should have a slight bend in your knees.
  • Engaging your core, hinge at the waist so that your torso is slightly tilted forwards. Keep your chin tucked and make sure you keep your spine neutral and avoid rounding or arching your back.
  • Keeping your arms close to your body and with controlled movement, slowly straighten your arms to push the weight behind you. Try not to flare your arms out at the elbows or move your upper arms as you go.
  • Finish by reversing the movement and bringing your arms back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 15 reps.

Bench dip

A great one for working your triceps as well as your chest and shoulders, this uses your own body weight to strengthen. If you don’t have a bench, a chair, stair or other elevated surface will work.

  • Sit on the edge of your bench with your hands next to your thighs and your feet on the floor in front of you, hip width apart.
  • Walk your feet out and extend your legs, lifting your bottom off the bench as you do so. Hold this position with your arms extended.
  • Hinging at the elbow, lower your body down until your arms form a 90-degree angle.
  • Push up through your palms to return to your starting position.
  • Repeat for 15 reps.