What are the best exercises for the triceps? In this article, we’ll look at two different exercises, that work the triceps in slightly different ways.
Exercise 1: The Handstand Pushup
I picked this up back when I was doing crossfit.
You go into a handstand against a wall. Hands by your head. Then, slowly lower your body down until your head touches the floor, and then push out, lifting your body back to the start position.
This is a really tough workout for your triceps, as they are supporting and lift your whole body weight.
While this means you can’t increase the weight you are putting on triceps, as you build strength, you can increase the repetitions you do, building muscle and toning your triceps very nicely.
Benefits of Handstand Pushups
- It works your triceps HARD
- You can increase repetitions to your strength
- Doesn’t require any weights
- Can be done anywhere – garden, hotel etc.
How to Do Handstand Pushups
1. Go into a handstand against a wall
Keep your arms fully extended and your body straight:
2. Slowly lower your body towards the floor
You will feel your triceps burn! Take your time lowering your body, ideally 4-5 seconds.
3. Once your head reaches the floor, push out
Once you feel your head reach the floor, push your hands into the floor. You will feel your triceps burn as you raise your body away from the floor:
Handstand Pushups for Beginners
If you are struggling with this movement (it is difficult), you can try only partially lowering your self, so your head doesn’t touch the floor, you only lower yourself partway before pushing back out.
I recommend you keep something soft under your head (I use a folded hoody), just in case you lose your balance or your muscles fail – you don’t want your head slamming into concrete!
Exercise 2: Close Grip Bench Press
This exercise lets you put the maximum amount of weight that your body can handle on your triceps.
It’s exactly the same as a bench press, except that your hands are a few inches apart where they grip the bar.
This exercise is included in the Body of a Spartan workout program.
Benefits of Close Grip Bench Press
- Allows you to put huge weight on your triceps
- This encourages growth and strength
- With high weight, you only need to do a few repetitions each work out
Disadvantages of Close Grip Bench Press
- Has to be done in a gym
- Can be done at home, but you will need a rack for the bar and weight
What is Best for You?
Which exercise you choose will depend on where you are in your fitness journey.
If you have very weak triceps, the handstand pushup could be dangerous. You are better off starting with a close grip bench press, with a very low weight, or even just using the bar.
If you already have some strength, the hand stand push up will give you a new challenge. As you grow and your body weight increases, the movement also becomes more difficult.
Building Triceps For Beginners
If you are new to working out, then as previously mentioned, the close grip bench press with just the bar is a good way to get started.
There are two other movements that you can also use that are easy to do with light weights, either in a gym or at home:
The Tricep Pull Down
If you are attending the local gym, then you can use the rope machine to do tricep pull downs. Here’s a video that explains how (it’s super easy):
These can be done at home or in the gym. Grab a weight (if you are just starting out a tin of beans or even a brick will do).
Hold your arm straight up in the air, holding the weight over your head (don’t drop it), bend your arm at the elbow, bringing the weight behind your head. Then, extend the arm back up to the starting position.
How to do Tricep Extensions
To demonstrate the movement, I’m going to use a bottle of water (it was to hand):
So there you have the two best exercises for the triceps. If you are a beginner, build some strength using the beginner exercises, and work your way up to the close grip bench press and handstand pushup. If you want a more comprehensive routine, then try a full body home workout, or the full body gym workout.