The Often Forgotten Triceps

by Jackie on April 28, 2015

One of the best ways to improve the appearance of your arms is to tone the triceps. While there is no such thing as spot-training (the thought that you can lose weight in a specific area of the body by exercising it more), strength training does help you improve your overall muscle tone. Combine this with a good diet and cardio exercise, and you’ll achieve a fitter, more toned appearance.

DipsDid you know that your triceps make up more of your arm than your biceps do? Yet they often forgotten and get shortchanged at the gym. But before you can give them the attention they deserve, you need to know that they’re made up of three different parts:

  • The medial head
  • The long head
  • The lateral head

This trio of your triceps work together to bend the elbow. The best way to make them stronger is to do exercises that isolate each head. Compound movements like pushups and bench presses recruit larger muscle groups, so the triceps don’t work as hard.

The exercises below will work each part of the muscle to exhaustion. Try these workouts two nonconsecutive days a week and you’ll notice a very sexy back-arm bump within four weeks.

Bench Dips (work all three heads)

Bench dips are a great toning triceps exercise which you can perform anywhere. You do not have to use a bench. You can use a stability ball, a hotel bed, a counter, chair, etc. Bench dips are also great for advanced lifters to finish off the triceps workout.

  1. From a seated position on top of the bench, place your hands on the edge of the bench as close to your butt as you can. Move your butt off of the bench. Keep your butt and lower back as close to the bench for the duration of the motion.
  2. Lower your butt toward the floor, and as far as you can. If you feel any joint pain, limit your range of motion or do an alternate exercise.
  3. Use your triceps to push yourself back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms and squeezing your triceps. Repeat.

Pull-Over and Press (work all three heads)

  1. Grab a 20 to 30 pound EZ Curl bar and lie face up on a bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold your arms straight and position the bar directly above your chest.
  3. Bend your arms and, in a slow, controlled motion, lower the bar past your head toward the floor until your arms are aligned with your ears.
  4. Bring the bar back up above your chest, then slowly lower it to your upper chest. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

Stability Ball Pushup (work medial head)

  1. Get in pushup position with your hands on the center of a stability ball.
  2. Bend your elbows, lowering yourself toward the ball.
  3. When your chest comes within an inch or two of the ball, press back up. That’s one rep. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets. To be nice to your joints, never lock your elbows at the top of a pushup.

There are a multitude of other workouts that you can perform to get those triceps looking strong and healthy. These workouts will be a good start to what you can add to your workout!



Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I'm a fitness nut. I know what you're thinking, one of these people who has never been fat a day in her life, and can eat whatever she wants. The truth is I struggled with my weight growing up and lived in a household where everything seemed to be fried. Once I got away from home I realized I had the choice to eat and exercise how I wanted. I've gained a lot of insight into working as a personal trainer, and feel I can relate to others that were in my situation. I think if I can do it then you can to, and if you want to start kicking butt then hop on board and lets get started.

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