What are the best tricep exercises? Fitness trainers explain how to get stronger arms

Posted by for Strong Women

What are the best tricep exercises? Fitness trainers are here to answer the most googled questions. 

Gaining strength without heavy weights is hard, but just because we’ve waved goodbye to deadlift PBs, it doesn’t mean that we should give up strength training. Now is actually a great time to focus on working smaller muscles and isolation moves that can be done with the lighter weights you have at home, or with no weights at all. 

Arm workouts are the perfect example. But when it comes to arm exercises, a lot of advice out there is all curls and nothing else. However, curls only target your biceps. It’s just as important to focus on the triceps, at the back of the upper arm, as it is the biceps, on the front.

Tricep exercises are actually easier to include in your at-home workouts or equipment-free circuits than bicep moves are. “You can do so much more bodyweight training with your pushing muscles than you can with your pulling muscles,” explains Alice Miller, Strong Women ambassador. “It’s because your body can press against its own resistance.”

But what tricep exercises are best if you want strong arms? Each week, Stylist’s Strong Women ambassadors answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. Today, they’re explaining the best way to get stronger triceps.

WHAT ARE THE BEST TRICEP EXERCISES?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR

Press-ups are great for your triceps, but specifically close grip press-ups. Make sure your hands are shoulder width apart, elbows are pinned back, and you lower all the way down so your chest touches the floor. If you’re squeezing your armpits into your side when you’re doing it you’ll be feeling your triceps work.

“Tricep kickbacks are also good to include. That’s when you’re standing in a bent over position with bent elbows and you slowly straighten the arm so they extend backwards.

“Another really good one is tricep dips. Placing your hands behind you on a stool, your sofa, a bench or any risen surface and bend your elbow to lower down. But the important thing here is tempo: go slow on the way down rather than just collapsing. Play with the timing of the exercises and just really use the eccentric, or lowering, phase of the movement to challenge the muscle.”

Best tricep exercises: press-ups
Best tricep exercises: press-ups

ALICE MILLER, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR

“My favourite exercises for the triceps are press-ups and overhead press. These compound moves are going to offer you way more than just doing tricep isolation moves because you’ve got muscles that all work together, like your triceps, chest and shoulders.

“Dips between two bars or two chairs are also a really great one when it comes to bodyweight moves. It completely stresses the body, but your triceps work particularly hard as they have to lock out at the top of the move.”

HOW MANY TRICEP EXERCISES SHOULD YOU DO IN ONE SESSION?

ALICE MILLER, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR

“I would always focus on the big compound moves at the start of the session, maybe one or two big lifts. Then if you have time and you want to build a little bit more muscle on the arms, go for one or two isolation exercises for the triceps.”

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TRAIN TRICEPS?

EMMA OBAYUVANA, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR

“Triceps are a really small muscle group, so it’s really important to choose a day when you’re training other parts of your upper body to do them. Don’t just dedicate a whole day to them. You might do them on the same day as biceps to make sure you’re hitting all the muscles in the arms equally or do a few small isolation moves after a more compound push day.”

ALICE MILLER, STRONG WOMEN AMBASSADOR

“If you’re doing a workout split that involves two upper body days, I’d say you can get tricep training in on both of those. But not just in isolation: add in with your dips and press-ups and different variations of presses and you’ll be targeting your triceps.”

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Images: Getty

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