5 Best Tricep Exercises You Aren’t Doing (but Should Be)

muscular man's back

It’s time to work those triceps. | iStock.com

So, you want to look like Mark Wahlberg, or any other muscle-bound movie star? It takes more than simply focusing all of your energy on building your pecs, abs, and biceps. Your muscle groups need to be trained together, and when one muscle is stronger, the others benefit. For that reason, you need to make sure you’re training and building every muscle — and when it comes to your arms, that means focusing on your triceps.

Most people do give their triceps some attention. After all, they’re one of the major muscles in your arms, and having stacked biceps would look asymmetrical without some solid triceps to back them up. So, dedicating some time to building your triceps probably doesn’t present a completely foreign concept.

But you may come to a time where you plateau, or realize that your tricep workouts aren’t as effective. That’s when you’ll want to change things up, or add some new lifts and exercises into the mix.

You’ve probably utilized some standard tricep lifts in your workouts. That may include close-grip push-ups and bench presses, planks, and push-downs. But when those lifts and exercises start to stale, incorporating some new things in to your regimen can not only make your workout more enjoyable, but add another dimension of difficulty.

If you’re looking for some (other) tricep exercises and lifts that you probably haven’t been doing, but should be, give these five a shot.

1. One-arm overhead extension

An arm extension is a pretty standard tricep exercise, but with a few tweaks, you can make it more challenging, and help stave off any muscle memory that’s creeping in to continue building muscle. One variant of the arm extension that will really target your triceps is the single-arm dumbbell overhead extension, a demonstration of which you can see above by trainer Scott Herman, of Scott Herman Fitness. It’s a simple lift — and very similar to a French press. Except with this move, you’ll be using one arm.

2. Reverse-grip barbell press

Another new take on a tricep-building classic. You probably know that building your triceps calls for close-grip lifts, such as close-grip bench presses. But one lesser-known variant of the close-grip bench press is to actually do it with a reverse grip; that is, you reposition your hands in a way that is a little scary, but that will make you work that much harder. Lee Hayward demonstrates in the video above.

But be careful with this one, and start with light weights. It’s tricky, but you’ll definitely feel your triceps putting in the work.

3. Skull crushers

Skull crushers are relatively common, but they sound scary, and a lot of people are apprehensive about incorporating them into their workout. Well, as long as you’re using proper form, and are dealing with a level of weight that you are comfortable with, they can be an effective and easy lift to add to your regimen. Buff Dudes, in the video above, demonstrate the proper way to pull it off without … crushing your skull.

Once you’re comfortable with skull crushers, you’re going to wonder why you haven’t been doing them for years.

4. Cross face lying tricep extension

Another variation of a classic tricep extension, this lift is almost like an extension/skull crusher hybrid. Dr. Saranjeet Singh demonstrates in the video above, and the lift itself is actually fairly simple. Again, you just want to make sure you’re not getting yourself into trouble by trying to put up too much weight and using incorrect form. The real trick is to get the angle of your lift down, and not to jerk your arm out too fast. You could hurt yourself, or even cause the dumbbell to slip out of your hand.

5. Back dips

bodyweight dips, exercise

Dips will really hit those triceps. | iStock.com

Finally, we close with a variation of dips. Lots of people do dips, which are a very common exercise, to tone and build their triceps. But adding a little twist to your dips, and doing back dips instead, will actually put more strain on your triceps and cause them to shoulder more of the load. These can really be done just about anywhere — be it in your living room, the gym, or even your desk at work.

That’s just as long as you’re not causing a ruckus with your tricep-building shenanigans.

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