Whenever we talk about arm development, we focus our attention primarily on the biceps. It is perhaps the single most obsessed about body part because it the most visible to the individual. But the bicep is only half the equation. Just as important for developing true arm strength and balance is the triceps muscle at the back of your arm. The triceps brachii muscle is the large muscle on the back of the upper arm and is responsible for the extension of the elbow joint (straightening of the arm). It is also a secondary muscle that is used when doing chess pressing exercises such as the bench press or the pushup. Viewed from the back, a developed triceps muscle, flexed, forms that “horseshoe” so many bodybuilders desire. Tricep exercises are usually performed during arm or chest exercise days by strength training enthusiasts. While there are literally dozens of triceps routines, we have chosen only a few based on the following considerations. First, we have selected exercises that need the least equipment, so you can perform them almost anywhere, and second exercises identified here are compatible for both men and women. A best triceps workout will be any combination of exercises that your body responds to. Here’s our short compilation for a good tricep workout program.
Dips are great because all you would need is a slightly elevated platform from which you can position your arms to push upward. Dips can be performed at home using the stairs or a work bench. The difficulty can also be varied with how you position your legs. They are also challenging and doable for both men and women. Here’s a detailed how-to from Askmen.com, along with a video. A difficult variation to this would be to elevate your legs also on a platform. The easer version would be to have a slight bend in the knees, usually recommended for women.
“Sit on the edge of a solid chair and hold the front edge of the seat on both sides of your body. Your knuckles should be facing forward, not turned to the sides. You can either plant your feet firmly on the floor or place the backs of your ankles on a bench in front of you so that your buttocks is suspended in the air.
Push yourself off the seat and lower your buttocks below it until your arms form a 90-degree angle. Then, push yourself back up to the starting position, but make sure not to lock your elbows. Repeat until you can’t do any more. Then do two more sets of the same.”
The Triceps Extension
There are many variations to the triceps extension. The exercise basically involves bending your arm at the elbow, and then extending the arm until fully straight, using some form of weight or resistance. Variations can come in many forms, standing up, lying down, and using weights or cables for resistance. Here are two versions: one that is more suitable for men is the lying triceps extension from Menshealth.com, and a second version for women from Howcast.com. Below is a classic description of the standing triceps extension using dumbbells lifted from Bodybuilding.com
“1. To begin, stand up with a dumbbell held by both hands. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart from each other. Slowly use both hands to grab the dumbbell and lift it over your head until both arms are fully extended.
2. The resistance should be resting in the palms of your hands with your thumbs around it. The palm of the hands should be facing up towards the ceiling. This will be your starting position.
3. Keeping your upper arms close to your head with elbows in and perpendicular to the floor, lower the resistance in a semicircular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. Tip: The upper arms should remain stationary and only the forearms should move. Breathe in as you perform this step.
4. Go back to the starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell. Breathe out as you perform this step.
5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.”
Close or narrow arm push-ups
The pushup is one of the most versatile exercises. It is able to develop different parts of the chest depending on the position of the arms or the level of your feet. A secondary muscle always solicited by the pushup movement is the triceps. The amount of work they do depends largely on how wide or narrow you place your arms from each other. To get maximum benefit for the triceps, the narrow or close arm pushups are the best version. Here is a basic description for how to execute the close grip push-up from Workoutz.com.
“First, kneel down on the ground and place your hands approximately 6 inches apart or less. The body should be suspended on four contact points: the toes of both feet and each arm. Next, ensure your back is perfectly straight, then slowly lower your upper body until the chest is a few inches from the ground (or until the elbows are about 90 degrees). Try to keep your elbows close to your rib cage as you descend. Slowly push up to the starting position and exhale as you push. Repeat the exercise.
Step 1 Position hands a few inches apart. Arms straight, back flat.
Step 2 Lower your upper body by bending elbows. Keep elbows close to rib cage.
Step 3 Exhale, then push the body back up to the start position. Repeat the exercise.”
Other variations of the narrow arm pushup are demonstrated here Wikihow.com, which include variations also made for other fitness levels and for women.
There you have it, three easy to do triceps exercises that are guaranteed to fire up your arms and build nice balanced guns. Master these first before you proceed to a more advanced triceps workout. You will find these three exercises, when performed correctly, quite challenging.