The triceps may not have the same cultural cache as their cousins on the other side of the humerus, but in the strength world, they’re just as important—if not more so! Whether you’re a bodybuilder or just someone looking to get stronger in your presses, it’s worth your time to add some size to the back of your arms.
You can put together a hundred different triceps routines by fine-tuning variables like exercise choice and order, rep ranges, intensity, volume, and rest periods. But rather than making you sit down to try and figure all of that out, I’ve done the work for you here with six straightforward and effective triceps workouts.
Each is a bit different from the others based on your training experience and goals. Each one includes movements from the large family of triceps exercises—close-grip bench presses and dips, skullcrushers, press-downs, overhead extensions, and kick-backs—that focus on one or more of the three heads (lateral, long, and medial). Of course, you can’t isolate a particular head, but you can shift the focus to some degree with changes in hand and body position.
Pick a routine you like, try it for 4-8 weeks wherever it makes sense in your split, then go back to your regular workout or try another from the list.
“But don’t forget that you need more than just a great triceps workout to build serious arms! Check out the Muscle-Building Workout Plans in BodyFit to get a total-body program that puts the principles of these workouts into action. The plans are created by professionals and offer detailed training and nutritional assistance for any lifter looking to add overall muscle mass and strength”.
If your goal is to build sleeve-splitting arms, you can’t overlook your triceps. Most people make the mistake of going too hard on their biceps but skip training their triceps. Your arm development can never be complete without some ripped triceps.
Your triceps have three heads; long, lateral, and medial. You need to be training them from all the angles to ensure an overall development. A combination of isolation and compound exercises is the most effective way of building horseshoe triceps.
1. Cable Pushdowns – 3 Sets 15 Reps
Cables are a great way to maintain a constant tension on your target muscle throughout the movement. While using the cables, you have the same amount of tension on your triceps at the top of the movement as you have on the bottom.
Stand at an arm’s length from the pulley machine. Attach a straight bar to the pulley and grab it with an overhand grip with your thumbs over the bar. Keep your elbows pinned to your side and hold and squeeze your triceps at the bottom of the movement.
2. Skull Crushers – 3 Sets 12 Reps
Skull crushers are an incredibly effective exercise when it comes to building ripped triceps. This exercise is also known as head smackers. Skull crushers train the long head of your triceps. The long head is also the hardest part to develop as only a few exercise can target it optimally.
You can use a straight bar or an EZ bar for this exercise. Make sure you have a complete range of motion while performing this exercise. Keep your elbows fixed at a single position, hold and squeeze your triceps at the top of the movement.
3. Smith Machine Close Grip Bench Press – 3 Sets 12 Reps
Smith machine close grip bench press works on the medial and lateral heads of your triceps. Using a Smith machine adds tension to your triceps while performing this exercise. Performing exercises with a complete range of motion are the secret to building horseshoe triceps.
Keep your elbows pinned to your sides throughout the movement. If you don’t have an access to a smith machine in your gym, you can perform the close grip bench press on a flat bench.
4. Cable Overhead Rope Tricep Press – 3 Sets 15 Reps
Ropes can target your triceps from a completely new angle. Overhead presses train the long head of your triceps. Keep your elbows pinned to the side of your head throughout the movement.
Keep the ropes together at the bottom of the movement, spread them out at the top and squeeze your triceps. Make sure you’re not using momentum while performing this exercise. Use moderate weights so you can handle and keep your reps slow and deliberate.
5. Dips – 3 Sets 15 Reps
By this point, your triceps will be completely exhausted. Dips can be a complete triceps buster and are a great exercise if you want shredded triceps. You can perform this exercise on parallel dip bars or on a flat bench.
If bodyweight version of this exercise is too easy for you, you can add extra resistance by using weights. Follow an explosive motion while performing this exercise. Hold and squeeze your triceps at the top of the movement.
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