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8 Best Compound Tricep Exercises (For Maximum Muscle Growth)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Last updated: May 18, 2023

If you want to have firmer, good-looking, bigger upper arms, you should train your triceps.

As a certified fitness trainer, I've seen most people train their triceps with isolation exercises.

While this is not entirely bad, you will not have stronger tricep muscles than when you do compound exercises.

And with isolation workouts, you may end up with an elbow joint injury.

In this article, I will provide my findings and experiences on the best compound exercises you should execute to build your triceps.

Quick Summary

  • Compound tricep exercises allow lifting heavy weights, exposing your tricep muscles to more muscle-building and strength tension.
  • Compound triceps workouts increase muscle growth and strength by engaging over one muscle group.
  • To successfully develop your triceps, you require compound tricep exercises that will train all the 3 heads of the tricep.

Triceps Compound Exercises

Performing the skull crusher with tricep compound exercises

1. Close Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press is an excellent workout for your tricep compound exercise.

Close-grip bench press was designed to increase triceps muscle and strength. The position focuses on improving the stability and growth of the triceps muscles and the chest.

How to perform: 

  1. Lying down on a bench-press bench, have your feet flat on the ground. Grip the bar with an overhand hold, your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly lower the bar to the lower chest, keeping your elbows near your sides as feasible.
  3. Your elbows should be lower than the shoulders at the bottom of the motion.
  4. Return the bar to its starting position.
  5. Repeat for reps.

2. Diamond Push-ups

A man doing compound triceps exercises with diamond push-ups indoors

Among the finest workouts for triceps activation are the diamond push-ups.

The diamond push-up is a bodyweight workout considered an intensive push-up variation.

By bringing your hands together, you can transform chest-dominant push-ups into triceps developers that you can do practically anywhere and anytime.

How to perform: 

  1. Do a push-up stance with your torso straight, elbows outstretched, and arms together, forming a diamond shape between the index fingers and thumbs.
  2. Inhale and lower your body, bracing your core and keeping your elbows closer to your sides.
  3. Drop until the chest is a few inches off the floor, then push yourself back to the starting position while inhaling at the top.
  4. Repeat for reps.

3. Flat Bench Press

The flat bench press is a great upper-body complex exercise that targets the pectoralis major and triceps.

This exercise also works the back muscles, exercising the anterior deltoids, and traps.

"The bench press is essentially a more weighted variation of the push-up. On a push-up, you would never arch your back. Instead, you'd aim for a tight core and glutes. To obtain the best total-body results, you should mimic that on the bench press."

- Ebenezer Samuel, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

How to perform: 

  1. Lay down on a bench with your hands slightly outside, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Pull your shoulder blades together and drive them into the bench to set them.
  3. Breathe deeply and allow the spotter to assist you with the lift-off to keep your upper back tight.
  4. Let the weight settle and maintain a tight upper back after lifting off.
  5. Inhale and slowly lower the bar by releasing the elbows.
  6. Drop the bar horizontally to the bottom of the sternum (breastbone) and contact the chest.
  7. Press yourself into the bench, push your legs into the ground for leg drive, and extend your elbows to bring the bar back to the starting position in a straight line.
  8. Repeat for reps.

4. Close Grip Dumbbell Bench Press

Woman doing dumbbell bench press

The close-grip dumbbell bench press is intended to improve triceps muscle and strength.

This position emphasizes developing strength and growth in the triceps and chest muscles.

How to perform:

  1. Lay back on a flat bench with a neutral grip on a pair of dumbbells at your chest.
  2. Push the dumbbells straight above until your arms are completely stretched.
  3. Flex your triceps for a moment at the top before lowering the weights to your chest.
  4. Repeat for reps and sets.

Related: Best Upper Body Compound Exercises

5. Barbell Overhead Press

The barbell overhead press is ideal for building shoulder and tricep muscle mass.

It is still the forefather of all shoulder workouts for developing huge, round shoulder muscles while also targeting the triceps.

Doing the exercise when seated is a stricter version than standing and avoids moving the load upward using the momentum created by the legs.

How to perform: 

  1. Sit on a workout bench and use an overhand grip to hold the bar.
  2. Bring the barbell over your head, beneath your chin, and slightly over your upper chest.
  3. Push the barbell straight up overhead until the arms are entirely stretched but not locked.
  4. Lower the bar slowly back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

6. Bench Dip

Performing bench dip outdoors

Bench dips are one of the most incredible tricep complex workouts you can do without equipment at home or in the gym.

You only need a solid object to prop yourself on while performing the activity, like a chair and a flat gym bench.

How to perform: 

  1. Face away from the item and rest your arms on edge, wrists turned back. Your arms should be wider apart than shoulder width.
  2. Extend your torso forward, inhale, and sink with your arms bent. Maintain a solid grip on your elbows and lower until you feel stretching in your triceps. Press through the hands to carry yourself to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for reps.
  4. You may make the action more challenging by placing your foot on an object of the same height.

7. Incline Bench Press

The incline bench press is a basic workout that may benefit any lifter.

Proper technique is essential for reaping the various advantages of this multi-joint, upper-body free-weight exercise while avoiding the risk of injury.

How to perform: 

  1. Lie on an incline bench with your hands slightly outside of shoulder width.
  2. Pull your shoulder blades together and drive them into the bench to set them.
  3. Breathe deeply and allow the spotter to assist you with the lift-off to keep your upper back firm.
  4. Let the weight settle and maintain a stiff upper back after lifting off.
  5. Inhale and slowly lower the bar by releasing the elbows.
  6. Drop the bar to the bottom of the sternum (breastbone) and contact the chest.
  7. Press back into the bench, push your legs into the ground for leg drive, and stretch your elbows to bring the bar up straight.
  8. Repeat for reps.

8. Triceps Dips

Doing triceps dips in gym

Tricep dips are ideal for anybody looking to improve their shoulder and upper arm strength while stretching the back of their arms.

Plus, there are many variations.

Many individuals are unaware that dips can be performed in two ways: focusing on your triceps or chest.

This variation of the dip targets the triceps the most.

How to perform: 

  1. Take an inner grip on the parallel dip bars.
  2. Adjust the bars to about shoulder width apart if they are adjustable.
  3. Lift your feet off the floor and place your body weight on the bars.
  4. The key to targeting the triceps on this dip variation is to maintain your torso upright and not slouch forward. This may imply not crossing the legs and keeping them straight.
  5. Gently lower yourself down while maintaining your gaze forward.
  6. Descend until your elbow is approximately the same height as the shoulder, then bring your body back up, avoiding locking the arms at the peak of the exercise.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

The Anatomy of Triceps

Woman showing triceps

The tricep (triceps brachii) is a three-headed muscle in the back of the upper arms.

Its primary function is to stretch the elbow (straightening the arm) [1].

It comprises three sections: the long, medial, and lateral head.

The triceps brachii lateral head is located on the outside edge of the humerus.

It's the horseshoe form that appears on the back of the upper arm [2].

The triceps brachii medial head is in the midpoint of the upper arm's back.

It runs opposite the long head, starting at the humerus and ending at the elbow [3].

The triceps brachii long head is the biggest section of the triceps and runs along the back of the arm.

The long head differs from the lateral and medial heads in that it spans the shoulder joint and aids in shoulder extension [4].

Benefits of Triceps Compound Exercises

Compound tricep exercises using dumbbell and kettlebell

Compound exercises for the triceps will aid in muscular development, flexibility, and injury prevention by enhancing stability, particularly in activities that trigger elbow injuries, like baseball pitching and golfing.

Compound activities are also proven to burn more calories and increase heart rate [5].

1. Increase Stability

The majority of complex workouts mirror everyday motions.

It trains the muscles to function as a single unit to manage the output force and execute an activity.

Balance and stability are enhanced by strengthening and conditioning the muscles to create motions during regular tasks.

2. More Calories Burned

Exercising for calorie burn

Activities that involve more muscle tissue and hence need more oxygen might cause the body to burn more calories overall.

Since they enhance net energy expenditure, workouts that use many muscle groups, such as the diamond push-up, result in more significant calorie burn than triceps isolation exercises, such as triceps extensions.

3. Increasing Strength

Since tricep compound exercises engage many muscles, they enable heavier weight lifting.

Using heavier weights allows you to engage more muscle fibers.

Using a greater weight enhances the potential for muscle growth and strength, increasing total triceps strength.

"Compound exercises allow you to lift greater weight since they rely on many muscle groups. But, it is still critical that you maintain proper form with the load you are utilizing."

- Josh Davies, Personal Trainer at Aimee Victoria Long Training

4. Increases Heart Rate

Showing heart rate on watch

Compound activities raise heart rates more efficiently than isolation exercises.

Compound exercises enhance heart rate and cardiovascular fitness, which improves the heart's pumping capability.

Exercise's effects on the lungs and heart are closely linked to heart rate.

Compound exercises use more muscle groups, putting the heart in a position to pump blood more efficiently to deliver oxygen to the working muscles.

5. Increases Flexibility

Static and dynamic stretching activities may increase flexibility.

Compound workouts use a vibrant range to simulate everyday activities and extend the surrounding tissues.

Reciprocal inhibition is utilized to do this.

Reciprocal inhibition illustrates how muscles on the opposite side relax to provide a way for movement.

Frequent use lowers muscular activity while extending and relaxing the muscle.


Are Compound Exercises Enough for Triceps?

Yes, compound exercises are enough for the triceps. You can adequately exercise your triceps and biceps with standard push/pull split compound workouts.

How Do You Hit All 3 Muscles in Your Tricep?

You hit all three muscles in your tricep by performing tricep pulldowns, diamond push-ups, overhead tricep extensions, and dumbbell floor presses.

What Is the Best Combination With Triceps?

The best combination with triceps is performing chest, shoulders, forearms, and triceps exercises on the same day.

Use These Pre-Workout Supplements to Perform the Best Tricep Compound Exercises

These tricep compound workouts are highly suggested for anyone looking to bulk up their triceps and develop strength.

They will work out the entire body quickly, improve coordination, burn more calories, and develop stronger muscles for everyday activities.

To maximize the benefits of your tricep workout routine, perform these movements correctly, with better form, and use these best pre-workout supplements.

Our first-hand experience shows that they are fast-acting, increase muscular endurance and performance, boost athletic performance, and raise the muscle energy for better pumps.


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