The 7 Best Triceps Exercises


Build coveted “horseshoe” triceps with these killer moves

Endless curls won’t build you sleeve-busting arms. For super-sized arms, you need to spend less time on your biceps, and devote more time on your triceps

“Your triceps comprise more than two-thirds of your upper-arm mass,” says BJ Gaddour, Men’s Health Fitness Advisor. So building thicker, more developed triceps muscles makes your entire arms look more like shotguns than pistols

What’s more, says Gaddour, triceps also play a huge role in some of the most effective and popular exercises, like the pushup and bench press. “Triceps strength is usually the limiting factor in pressing movements,” he says. “So your bench, pushup, and other presses only go as far as your triceps take them

That’s why you need to throw the following seven exercises into your routine. There’s no better way to build gigantic arms
and a bigger bench



FOAM ROLLER PRESS
Lowering the bar to the top of the foam roller cuts your range of motion in half. Pressing from the midpoint of the lift emphasizes the “lockout,” or the ending push of the bench press

“The lockout is all triceps, and you can use a big weight on the bar” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA. It also allows you to train hard for the bench press, with minimal strain on your shoulders

DO THIS: Lie down on a bench and place a foam roller length-wise on your chest. Secure it with a resistance band, if need be. Grab the barbell overhead and hold it directly above your chest. Lower the bar to touch the foam roller, and then press it back up


DIPS
Because you’re lifting your entire bodyweight, your triceps have to work against a much heavier load than they would in a triceps-isolating exercise, according to Ian King, owner of King Sports International

DO THIS: Hoist yourself up on parallel bars with your torso perpendicular to the floor; you'll maintain this posture throughout the exercise. (Leaning forward will shift emphasis to your chest and shoulders

Bend your knees and cross your ankles. Slowly lower your body until your shoulder joints are below your elbows. (Most guys stop short of this position

Push back up until your elbows are nearly straight but not locked. If you have shoulder issues, skip this move



CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS
The bench press is a great exercise to work your chest and core. But a change in grip can help expand your arms

“Placing your hands closer together makes it so your triceps have to work harder,” says Craig Ballantyne, Owner of Turbulence Training. “That can lead to new growth and more strength

DO THIS: Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip that’s shoulder-width apart, and hold it above your sternum with arms completely straight. Lower the bar straight down, pause, and then press the bar back up to the starting position



ROLLING EZ-BAR TRICEPS EXTENSIONS
This method of the triceps extension gives your triceps short pauses between each rep. “This allows you to rest more so you can bang out more reps and really pump up the muscle,” says Gentilcore

DO THIS: Lie with your back flat on the ground, a loaded EZ-bar laying on the floor above your head. Grasp the bar, roll it towards your head until your upper arms are vertical. Now press the weight so that your arms are straight and vertical

Reverse the move, placing the weight back on the floor and “rolling” the bar back. Repeat. Do as many reps as you can


KETTLEBELL FLOOR PRESS
This variation of a classic bench press favors the lockout portion of the lift, which recruits your triceps to an extreme degree, says Gentilcore

And since the load is distributed differently with a kettlebell than a barbell, your stabilizing muscles have to work harder to keep the weight positioned correctly

DO THIS: Grab a kettlebell with each hand and lie with your back on the ground. Hold the kettlebells overhead, the bell hanging on the outside of your wrists

Bend your arm to lower the kettlebells. Touch your elbows to the ground, pause, then press them back up


DUMBBELL LYING TRICEPS EXTENSIONS
This exercise nails your triceps, and doing high reps of it results in a serious rush of blood to the muscle and gives you a great pump, says David Jack, MH Fitness Advisor

A review in the Strength and Conditioning Journal found that the pump”—cellular swelling that occurs from blood pooling to the muscle—can actually speed muscle repair and growth after your workout

DO THIS: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie faceup on the ground. Hold the dumbbells over your head with straight arms, your palms facing each other

Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells until your forearms are beyond parallel to the floor. Pause, then lift the weights back to the starting position by straightening your arms


ROPE TRICEPS PRESSDOWN
This move zones in on your triceps—but only if you do it right, says Mike Mejia, C.S.C.S. If you use too much weight, you’ll involve your back and shoulder muscles, defeating the purpose

The trick: Imagine that you’re wearing tight suspenders that hold down your shoulders as you do the exercise. If you can’t keep your shoulders down, lighten the load

DO THIS: Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Bend your arms and grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides

Without moving your upper arms, push the bar down until your elbows are locked. Slowly return to the starting position