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Fitness & Health

02nd Aug 2018

Three of the best tricep-building exercises

This muscle makes up two-thirds of your arm, so for greater gains you know where to go

Alex Roberts

If you’re going all-out for greater guns then tricep training should take priority

For many, bigger arms are synonymous with bigger biceps, and so hammering away at the dumbbell curls in the pursuit of growth is common.

Bicep training is important, of course, but let’s look at your anatomy.

The tricep muscle is comprised of three heads, and actually makes up two-thirds of your upper arm. For that reason, your tricep training should arguably take precedence.

As is the case with all muscle groups, some exercises are better than others.

Focussing your training on compound exercises that work multiple muscles at once is best, even for your arms. Certain isolation exercises still hold value, though.

Here are four of the best lifts for tricep growth:

Close-Grip Bench Press

The standard bench press is one of the fundamental shows of strength, and already hits your triceps quite sufficiently.

You can further boost your results by going with a close-grip.

Just bring each hand in slightly closer than shoulder-width apart, and you’ll focus more of the load on your tris. You don’t have to work with a super-narrow grip.

On the lowering portion of the close-grip bench, focus on keeping the reps slow and controlled. This will add further stimulus to your triceps.

Here’s a good video tutorial from fitness YouTubers Buff Dudes:


Bodyweight dips have been referred to as ‘squats for upper body’. This is easy to see, such is their efficacy in building size and strength. Not just for your triceps either, as dips will also grow your pecs and shoulders.

The dip is a great compound exercise for building those tris and it complements your performance on other lifts.

The narrower your grip, the more emphasis you place on the tricep. The wider you go, the more chest muscle you activate.

Many find this move is also less stressful on the shoulder joint than a standard flat bench press.

You can progress the dip quite simply, too. If you find you’re hitting 15 reps with ease, add weight with a weighted vest or dipping belt.

Overhead Extension

These can be performed seated with a dumbbell or using a rope attachment like The Rock does.

The dumbbell version is a personal favourite, but I’m not going to argue with the former WWE champ about that.

All heads of the tricep feel it from this angle, but the long head will experience the most activation. As a result, this exercise is a great mass-builder.

The trick is to keep your elbows tucked in as close as possible to your ears. Flaring out takes the stress off the tricep.

Read more on building bigger arms with these three training tips