Triceps Workouts

Man does triceps dip in gym
(Image credit: Getty Images / mihailomilovanovic)

Everyone wants bigger biceps, and many of us devote plenty of time to training them, but don't bother too much about working our triceps. This is a mistake. Before we can get bigger biceps we need to get bigger triceps – the true power behind the arm.

How to do this workout

Do Workout A and leave two to three days before doing Workout B to give your muscles time to recover properly. These workouts are trisets, which means you should do the required number of reps for exercise 1, then move immediately on to exercise 2, then exercise 3. Then rest for two to three minutes before repeating the triset. 

You can add the workouts into a longer gym session or just keep it short and focus on maintaining intensity throughout the three exercises. Warm up with five minutes on a treadmill and some press-ups. Make sure you stretch out your triceps after the workout.

Workout A

1. Close-grip EZ-bar press

Close grip EZ bar press

(Image credit: Unknown)

Trisets 3  Reps in each triset 8

Target triceps, core

Recruit plenty of muscles to shift serious weight.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Brace your core and bring the bar up and behind your head, with your upper arms straight.
  • Bend your elbows to lower the bar, then press the bar directly above your head.

Why it works: By using a bar, and doing this at the start of the workout when you’re energised, you recruit as many muscles as possible to move as much mass as you can and get the best potential results.

2. Unilateral cable press-down

Unliateral cable press down

(Image credit: Unknown)

Trisets 3  Reps in each triset 10 each side

Target triceps, core

Build strength across your triceps' full range of motion.

  • Stand in front of a cable machine set on a high pulley with feet staggered for balance.
  • Brace your core and then press down on the cable handle with your right hand to straighten your arm.
  • Pause for peak contraction and then let the cable back slowly.
  • Keep your torso still and your elbow by your side throughout.

Why it works: The cable places constant tension on the triceps so that it builds strength across its range of motion and irons out any weak points, which should improve your bench press limit.

3. Unilateral cable diagonal extension

Unilateral cable diagonal extension

(Image credit: Unknown)

Trisets 3  Reps in each triset 8 each side

Target triceps

Exercise your arms one at a time to balance your muscle gains.

  • Stand side-on to a cable machine set on a high pulley to your left, with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your core and then draw the handle across your body and straighten your arm.
  • Pause for peak contraction and then let the cable back slowly.

Why it works: By exercising unilaterally (one arm at a time), you allow each muscle group to work at full effectiveness and promote muscle balance in your arms. The diagonal pull hits the triceps from a different angle to maximise muscle fatigue.

Workout B

1. Triceps dip

Triceps dip

(Image credit: Unknown)

Trisets 3  Reps in each triset 10

Target triceps, core, chest

Use your own bodyweight to train your triceps.

  • Suspend yourself from two dips bars, with your feet off the floor and arms straight.
  • Lower yourself keeping your elbows pointing back, not out to the sides.
  • When your upper arms are level with the floor, stop and drive back up again.

Why it works: Lifting your own bodyweight with your triceps trains them to be proportionally strong. This big, compound exercise releases growth hormones and fires up your metabolism for great results. Keeping your torso upright places the load on the triceps rather than the chest.

2. Unilateral triceps cable chop

Unilateral triceps cable chop

(Image credit: Unknown)

Trisets 3  Reps in each triset 8 each side

Target triceps, core 

Another cable exercise that produces balanced gains.

  • Stand with your back to a cable machine set on a high pulley, with your left foot forward.
  • Brace your core and grasp the handle in your right hand with your upper arm horizontal.
  • Drive the handle forwards so that you straighten your arm using the triceps only. Pause for peak contraction and then let the cable return slowly.
  • Repeat on the other arm.

Why it works: The motion used in this exercise is a functional way to link the triceps in a dynamic multi-joint move and the cable applies tension across the whole range of motion to improve strength without injury.   

3. Unilateral triceps dumbbell kick-back

Triceps dumbbell kickback

(Image credit: Unknown)

Trisets 3  Reps in each triset 8 each side

Target triceps

Finally, hit those triceps hard to ensure better muscle gains when they recover.

  • Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, place your right hand and knee on a bench and lean forwards.
  • Raise the dumbbell with your arm bent at 90° until your upper arm is level with the floor.
  • Straighten your left arm without using momentum and lower the weight under control.

Why it works: Your muscles are probably already used to this classic move, but doing it at the end of the triset provides a fresh challenge by isolating the muscle and making sure it’s completely exhausted.

Coach Staff

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