15 Tricep Exercises for Men

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Tricep Exercises

The following 15 tricep exercises for men and accompanying videos work the tricep muscles, the large muscles on the back of the upper arms. Select any of the tricep exercises to watch the accompanying video. Below the exercises, find three tricep workouts as well as links to EMG’s other muscle specific guides. These exercises are grouped as follows.

  • Barbell/EZ Bar Exercises
  • Dumbbell Exercises
  • Cable Exercises
  • Bodyweight Exercises
  • Machine Based Exercises

 


 

 

Tricep Exercises for Men

Barbell Press/Extension Tricep Exercises for Men

Tricep Press with EZ Bar

The tricep press is a good mass building exercise that can be performed either seated or standing. Seated is preferable to standing for those with lower back problems. The tricep press works the entire tricep. This exercise is usually performed with an EZ bar, but it can be performed with a straight bar if that is preferred. A close-to-medium grip should be used for maximum isolation of the tricep. Be certain not to use too close of a grip as they may cause pressure on your elbow. If the tricep press can not be performed without the flaring of the elbows, lower the weight.

 

EZ Bar Tricep Extension

EZ Bar Tricep Extension

The EZ bar tricep extension is one of the simple tricep exercises that builds size and strength. Tricep extensions work the whole triceps muscle though they are especially effective at training the upper triceps. Due to the position of the elbow during the movement, using too high a weight or using improper form can result in an elbow injury. If the user experiences elbow pain when performing a tricep extension, the upper arms should be angled away from the upper body, rather than perpendicular to it. Another way to limit elbow problems is to not let them flare during the exercise. A little elbow movement is normal and acceptable.

 

Close Grip Bench Press

Close Grip Bench Press 3

The close grip bench press is one of the fundamental tricep exercises for building tricep size. The chest also receives a secondary workout and this should be factored in when adding this exercise to any routine. This exercise should be performed with your hands as close together as possible, but this can be an uncomfortable position. Any grip position with the hands less than shoulder-width apart will be sufficient. The closer the hands are together, the more the exercise hits the triceps and not the chest.

 


 

Dumbbell Press/Extension Tricep Exercises for Men

Dumbbell Extension

Dumbbell Extension

The dumbbell extension is one of the simple tricep exercises that is best performed at a low weight. Dumbbell extensions work the whole triceps muscle, though they are especially effective at training the upper triceps. Due to the position of the elbow during the movement, using too high a weight or using improper form can result in an elbow injury. Because dumbbell extensions are a shaping exercise, they should be performed slowly and deliberately, making sure to go through the full range of motion. An advantage of performing this exercise with dumbbells rather than an EZ bar is that each arm is able to work independently.

 

Cross Face Lying Tricep Extension

Cross Face Lying Tricep Extension

The cross face lying tricep extension is another on of the simple tricep exercises that is best performed at a low weight. Lying dumbbell extensions work the whole triceps muscle, though they are especially effective at training the upper triceps. Due to the position of the elbow during the movement, using too high a weight or using improper form can result in an elbow injury. Because lying tricep extensions are a shaping exercise, they should be performed slowly and deliberately, making sure to go through the full range of motion. The change in position of the arm (across the body rather than straight up and down) works the tricep in a different manner. Performing the exercise one arm at a time allows the user to focus on the movement and really isolate the tricep muscle.

 

Dumbbell Kickbacks

Dumbbell Kickbacks

Dumbbell kickbacks are a good exercise for developing the upper triceps. They should be performed with lower weight, making sure to keep the upper arm in a set position throughout the exercise. Though commonly performed one arm at a time with the other arm acting as support, they may be performed using both arms at the same time. Men with low back pain should be careful when performing them and should not perform them in this two-arm manner. By bracing the body weight with the free hand, low back pressure will be relieved.

 

Dumbbell Tricep Press

EZ Bar Tricep Press

The dumbbell tricep press is one of the fundamental tricep exercises for building mass. It can  be performed either seated or standing. Seated is preferable to standing for those with lower back problems. This exercise works the entire tricep. By performing the press with a dumbbell, you are forced to use a close-grip and isolate the tricep. If this exercise can not be performed without the flaring of the elbows, lower the weight and perform the exercise again.

 

One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension

One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The one arm dumbbell tricep extension is a variation on the dumbbell tricep extension. Whereas the dumbbell tricep extension is usually used for size and strength, the one arm version is one of the better tricep exercises for shaping and developing the muscle. Performing the exercise with one arm provides two distinct benefits. The first is the longer range of motion. The user is pulling the dumbbell from almost above the opposite shoulder. The second benefit is that the arms are worked independently.

 

Cable Extension Tricep Exercises for Men

Tricep Pressdown with Cable

Tricep Pressdown with Cable

The tricep pressdown with cable is one of the primary mass-building tricep exercises. This exercise can be performed using a variety of bars attached to the cable. If using a straight bar, the wider the grip, the more the outside of the tricep is exercised. Going with too close of a grip may cause wrist or forearm pain. If this occurs, widen the grip. Tricep cable pressdowns can also be performed using a v-bar. The v-bar angles the hands, allowing for a close grip, while limiting wrist or forearm discomfort.

 

Tricep Pressdown with Rope

Tricep Pressdown with Rope

The tricep pressdown with rope is one of the primary mass-building tricep exercises. Performing this exercise with a rope incorporates more stabilizing muscles throughout as the user must control the rope when moving the weight. The user can also flare the wrists at the end of the motion. Rather than flaring the wrists at the end of the motion, the user can instead choose to pull the ends of the rope backwards. This will engage the lateral triceps more than a simple tricep pressdown.

 

Tricep Pressdown: One Arm Cable Reverse

Tricep Pressdown: One Arm Cable Reverse

The one arm reverse tricep cable pressdown is a variation of the tricep pressdown with cable. Depending on the rep range, the one arm reverse tricep cable pressdown can be used to build strength or shape and develop the tricep. This exercise is performed by attaching a single handle to the cable pulley. Performing the exercise with a reverse grip allows the user to get a secondary forearm workout in addition to working the tricep. Working each arm independently assures that one arm does not outperform the other arm.

 

Body Weight Tricep Exercises for Men

Dip

Dip

The dip exercise is one of the combination tricep exercises that works both the chest and the triceps depending on the position of the hands and legs. The closer the hands are together, the more the exercise works the triceps; therefore, a wider grip works the lower chest. Leaning forward (and pulling your legs back slightly) will shift the weight over your chest more, making it a low chest workout. The dip exercise is also one of the great tricep exercises because it can be performed using just your body weight, allowing you to see the progress as the amount of repetitions you can do.

 

Back Dips

Back Dips

Back dips are one of the more versatile tricep exercises for size and strength. Back dips are a body weight exercise that develops the triceps in the same manner as a close grip press. Back dips can be preferred because they can be done almost anywhere in the gym (or out of the gym). A shoulder-width or slightly-less-than-shoulder-width grip should be used. Putting the hands too close together behind the back will put stress on the wrists and elbows without any added triceps benefit. There is much less of a secondary chest workout on back dips as compared to a regular dip.

 

Machine Based Tricep Exercises for Men

Machine Tricep Extension

Machine Tricep Extension

This exercise is a variation on the tricep extension that allows the user to build size and strength in the triceps. Users may prefer performing the tricep extension on a machine as opposed to with an EZ bar due to the ability to keep the elbows in place on a pad. The ability to keep the feet planted as well make this a very secure exercise for those with back or elbow pain. Depending on your gym, the tricep machine may have a back rest. The back rest should be adjusted to a position that accommodates proper elbow position.

 

Machine Dips

Machine Dips

Machine dips are one of the ideal tricep exercises for those looking to utilize the dip motion, but do not feel comfortable or are not able to perform body weight dips. This exercise can add mass to the triceps, especially around the elbow. Most dip machines offer the user the option of using a wide or close grip. The close grip should be used because it makes this more of a tricep exercise than a chest one. However, if the close grip creates pain in the wrist or elbows, a wider grip may be used, though it should be noted that this will engage the chest more.

 

Tricep Exercises Infographic

Tricep Exercises Complete Compressed
 

Tricep Exercises Video Playlist

 
 

Pre-Designed Tricep Workouts

 


 

Tricep Workout #1:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Close Grip Bench Press 4 10-12
2. Back Dips 4 20-25

 

Tricep Workout #2:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. EZ Bar Tricep Extension 3 12
2. Tricep Pressdown with Rope 3 12
3. Dumbbell Kickbacks 3 15

 

Tricep Workout #3:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Tricep Press 3 12
2. Dumbbell Extension 3 15
3. Dumbbell Kickbacks 3 20

 

Additional EMG Exercise Sets

Updated: April 1st, 2015