Toned triceps are commonly found on the “wish list” for those working on fitness, whether recreationally or as a figure competitor! Heck, who doesn’t want sculpted triceps?
Older women often want to know how to get rid of the flabby arms. People who have lost significant weight, without doing strength training, also have a particular issue with excessive skin and/or lack of toned muscles in the arm area.
Before we look at specific exercises that focus on the triceps, let’s learn a little more about the muscle.
What and where are the triceps?
‘Tri’ in latin means three so triceps logically are formed by three muscles which together are called the triceps brachii muscle. This muscle makes up two-thirds of the upper arm. The three heads of the muscle originate from different points but they all join at the elbow. Although the three heads work together, the three muscles are used in different movements as described below.
Triceps long head – attached to the shoulder muscle, it helps you maintain force on an object or it is used to support the combined movement of the shoulder and/or elbow joint.
Triceps lateral head – it allows you to create movements that need occasional high intensity force.
Triceps medial head – it is used for more precise, slower movements requiring less force, such as writing.
The primary purpose of the triceps is to allow your arm to straighten and bend at the elbow. These muscles also stabilize the shoulder joint and the biceps. The triceps are antagonist or opposing muscles for the biceps so when training your biceps you are also working on the triceps and vice versa.
Exercises for Triceps
There are a number of exercises that you can use to train the triceps. Some of these exercises can be easily done anywhere without equipment. For instance, push ups or dips using a chair are great tricep builders.
Here is a sample of exercises that you may want to include in your weekly training routine. Many of these have variations using different equipment such as dumbbells or barbells, and training one arm at a time versus two.
To work your core at the same time as your triceps, you may want to use a stability ball instead of a bench.
Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension
Lying Triceps Extensions
Ez Curl Bar Skull Crushers
Band Pushup – harder version
Dumbbell Shoulder Press Seated
Two Arm Triceps Extension with Handles
Summer is coming. Start working on those triceps and proudly show your toned muscles in your sleeveless shirts and dresses!
- Hatfield, Fredrick C., PhD, Fitness: The Complete Guide, Edition 8.6.6, International Sports Science Association, Carpinteria, CA: 2013