4 of the Best Weight Lifting Moves for Maximum Tricep Gains

Here's how you can get maximum tricep gains

Here’s how you can get maximum tricep gains | Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images

There’s more to a pair of stacked arms than just bulging biceps. Your shoulders, chest, forearms, and most importantly, your triceps, all play an important role in composing a well-rounded, muscular upper-body. Though most of the attention inevitably goes toward the biceps when it comes to your arms, the triceps may be the second most-important — or at least most targeted.

Since the biceps get all of the attention, you may have to go out of your way to ensure that your triceps get enough attention. That may mean modifying your workout routine a bit, or even starting over from scratch. Either way, you’ll need to target more than just your triceps to make sure you’re putting together an all-inclusive regimen, and that also includes exercises that target your chest, shoulders, and parts of your core.

But to really zero-in on your triceps, you’ll need to focus on a group of key exercises that have been proven over the years to be incredibly effective. These exercises include variations of classic compound ‘big three’ lifts, dumbbell or barbell lifts, and even simple moves you can execute from the comfort of your own living room. The point is, you need to make the effort to include them in your routine, or risk losing symmetry and balance among your upper body.

To help you get a head start, we’ve found four of the best exercises for targeting your triceps, which will be shared on the following pages. Remember — it’s not all about spectacular biceps. Adding some serious girth to your triceps will do more for you than you likely ever imagined.

1. Dips

Everyone knows how to do dips — but if you’re still on the outside when it comes to this popular exercise, Mr. America 1999 will show you how to target your triceps with nothing more than a bench. Dips can be done in a number of different ways and variations, but if you’re looking to target your triceps for serious growth, follow the steps in the video. You’ll also be giving your shoulders and chest a good workout by incorporating dips into your routine, allowing for proportional growth and muscle-building throughout the upper-body. For tricep growth, dips should be a staple.

2. Pushdowns

Unlike dips, you’ll need some equipment to bang out some tricep pushdowns. You may even require a couple of different attachments. We’ve borrowed a video tutorial from Scott Herman Fitness, seen above, which explains the ins and outs of the exercise, and how to properly perform it. While the fellow in the video is using a variation of a bar attachment to the pushdown machine, you can also use a rope attachment. It really depends on your preference — just as long as you’re putting in the work. The key is to keep your form by ensuring your arms remain stationary throughout the entire exercise.

3. Lying Tricep Extensions

Barbell fans, it’s time to get to work. The lying tricep extension — also known in some circles as a skullcrusher — is another classic lift that will give your triceps a hell of a workout. Though many people choose to use barbells, these can also be performed using dumbbells. Once again, we borrowed a video from Scott Herman Fitness to show you a brief tutorial. The video actually gives us a rundown of how to perform the exercise using a dumbbell, one arm at a time, but what’s truly important is the mechanics of the lift. Also, make sure you’re working with a weight you’re comfortable holding. They call them skullcrushers for a reason.

4. Close-Grip Bench Press

Our final exercise that will deliver Triassic triceps is a variation of one of the ‘big three’ compound lifts: the close-grip bench press. The video tutorial seen above is from GlobalWeightTraining, and gives you the basic rundown of how the lift is performed. Basically, it’s all about the grip — affixing your hands in a slight adjustment from the traditional bench press allows you to target your triceps. Make sure your hands aren’t too close together, otherwise you risk failure. You can also try the lift on an incline or decline to mix it up a bit.

Follow Sam on Twitter @SliceOfGinger

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: