6 Tricep Blaster Workouts (Unleash Your Arm Potential)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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The triceps make up the most significant part of your upper arm, and hitting them hard makes them stronger to execute other workouts.

The triceps play a major role in all the major lifts, and as a fitness trainer, I always encourage my clients to perform the best tricep exercises that work all the tricep heads.

In this article, I will discuss the triceps muscles, tips for triceps growth, and my expertise and findings on the best tricep blaster workouts.

Quick Summary

  • The six tricep blaster workouts include Overhead Triceps Extension, Triceps Kickbacks, Incline Dumbbell Chest Press, Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns, Bench Dips, and Skull Crushers.
  • Triceps blaster workouts target all three heads; thus, doing appropriate sets and reps to fatigue the muscle will develop strength and muscle mass.
  • The study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) highlights that sleep is crucial for the growth and recovery of tricep muscles, as deep sleep stimulates the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and increases blood supply to muscles, initiating their repair process.
  • In my view, incorporating a variety of tricep exercises into a workout routine is key to achieving balanced and effective upper arm strength.

The Tricep Blaster Workouts

Showing varieties of tricep blaster workouts

1. Overhead Triceps Extension

The overhead triceps extension is a triceps muscle development exercise.

Overhead triceps extension variants particularly target the triceps' long head.

The thicker the long head muscle, the bigger your triceps appear.

How to perform:

  1. Assume a standing stance after attaching a cable to a cable stack as high as feasible.
  2. With a split stance, hold the cable overhead with a neutral grip, and bend forward by hinging at the hips.
  3. Begin the motion by extending your elbows and flexing your triceps.
  4. Pull the cable down till the elbows are virtually locked out, then slowly drop back to the starting position under control.
  5. Repeat until the required number of repetitions has been reached.

2. Triceps Kickbacks

Man doing tricep blaster kickbacks

This dumbbell triceps exercise teaches you how to target your triceps.

I advise choosing a weight that is moderately challenging yet allows you to complete all sets with proper form and without straining.

How to perform: 

  1. Get a flat bench and place a dumbbell on the right-hand side at one end to prepare for the dumbbell tricep kickback.
  2. Place yourself on the right side of the bench, your left knee, and your left hand on the bench.
  3. Grab the weight with your right hand, using a neutral grip. Maintain a straight back and a forward gaze.
  4. Tuck your right upper hand into your chest and bend your elbow to produce a 90-degree angle with the upper arm and forearm.
  5. Lift the weight behind you using only your elbows until the arm is completely extended.
  6. After a brief pause, drop the dumbbell back to its starting position.
  7. Repeat for reps and with the other arm.

3. Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

You should use weights lighter than those used for barbell incline or flat dumbbell press.

If you're unsure what weight to start with, start small and gradually increase weight until you feel challenged.

Ensure to maintain your elbows tight.

How to perform: 

  1. Lean back on a 45-degree bench and raise the weights to shoulder level, palms facing away from your body.
  2. Breathe as you push up with both hands.
  3. Lock your arms and compress your chest before gently returning to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for reps.

4. Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns

Woman doing straight arm cable pulldowns

The straight-arm pulldown focuses on the three heads of the triceps.

This triceps cable workout requires both muscles to work together to extend the arm, which is the primary movement.

How to perform: 

  1. Begin by holding the cable handles from a pulldown cable machine's top pulley with both palms facing one another.
  2. Bend forward 30 degrees at the waist, arms fully extended.
  3. Pull the bar down by squeezing your lats while keeping your arms straight until the hands are level with your thighs.
  4. Return to your starting posture while breathing in.
  5. Repeat for reps.

Also Read: High-Volume Arm Workout

5. Bench Dips

As a trainer, I recommend bench dips for strengthening all the tricep head muscles.

They're easily scalable and a versatile addition to your triceps routine, whether to release tension or introduce a new challenge.

How to perform: 

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench, arms outstretched and hands on the bench. Begin by keeping your feet level on the floor and your knees bent.
  2. Both hands should be positioned on the bench with your palms facing outward, away from you.
  3. Lift from the bench to drive the shoulder blades downward and induce scapular depression. To produce tension, squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  4. Drop yourself to a comfortable depth with control.
  5. Return to the starting position under control.
  6. Repeat for reps.

6. Skull Crusher

Skull crusher exercises illustration

You can perform skull crushers while carrying a dumbbell with both hands or if you wish to employ additional weight, you can hold two dumbbells, one per hand.

How to perform:

  1. Sit on a bench with your hands near your thighs. (The same instructions apply whether you want to do a bench dip off a stair or other high surface.)
  2. Move your feet out and stretch your legs, raising your bottom off the bench and keeping it with your arms extended.
  3. Lower your torso as far as you can or until the arms make a 90-degree angle, hinging at the elbow.
  4. Push up through the palms back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

The Tricep Muscles

Showing back and tricep muscles

The tricep is a muscle at the rear of the upper arms with three heads: lateral, medial, and long.

To target the whole tricep and maximize muscle growth, perform various motions that engage all three heads.

  • Long Head: According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the long triceps head is characterized by its origin and entry point from the scapula to the elbow tip [1].
  • Lateral Head: According to NIH, the triceps lateral head emerges from the humerus (upper arm bone) and penetrates the olecranon groove (point of the elbow) [2].
  • Medial Head: As NIH notes, the triceps medial head originates from the back of the humerus and enters the olecranon process (point of the elbow) [3].

Each muscle "head" originates in the upper arm and joins to produce a single tendon connecting to your elbow's bony portion.

"The triceps' main role is to extend the forearms, which they perform in collaboration with the biceps. The biceps pull the forearm bones near the upper body, whereas the triceps assist in returning the arm to an extended posture."
- Bethany Stillwaggon, American College of Sports Medicine, Certified Personal Trainer

Tricep Growth Tips

Showing tricep growth

If you want to see benefits from your tough, effective triceps workout, you must eat well, get adequate sleep, and keep hydrated.

  • According to WebMed, protein is vital since it restores muscle tissue after a strenuous workout [4].
  • Eating enough carbs to power your triceps workout is also important. Complex carbohydrates store glycogen in our muscles, which is then used and broken down during strenuous training sessions to provide ample energy.
  • According to NIH, if you adopt a keto diet, fats will be your primary source of energy [5].
  • Since water makes up 79 percent of muscle tissue, stay hydrated, especially after a hard workout.
  • Sleep is also vital for the growth and recovery of the tricep muscles. In fact, according to NIH, during deep sleep, our bodies generate Human Growth Hormone (HGH), and the blood supply to muscles increases, kicking off the repair process [6]. Obtaining at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night is advisable.

Mistakes to Avoid When Performing Tricep Blaster Workouts

  1. Overextending the Elbows: A common mistake in tricep exercises, such as skull crushers or tricep extensions, is overextending the elbows at the top of the movement. This can put unnecessary strain on the elbow joints and reduce the focus on the tricep muscles.
  2. Using Excessive Weight: Lifting too heavy can lead to poor form, where the focus shifts from the triceps to other muscles like the shoulders or chest. It's important to use a weight that allows for controlled movements and proper muscle engagement.
  3. Neglecting Full Range of Motion: Not fully extending the arms or not lowering the weight sufficiently can limit the effectiveness of the workout. Full extension and contraction are key for maximizing tricep engagement and growth.
  4. Rushing Through Repetitions: Performing repetitions too quickly, without control, can reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and increase the risk of injury. Slow, controlled movements ensure that the triceps are properly engaged and worked throughout the entire range of motion.

FAQs

What Is the Number 1 Best Tricep Workout?

The number 1 best tricep workout is the close reverse grip and close grip bench press. Bench pressing with a close grip and a close reverse grip is a practical approach to exhaust the triceps.

Is 3 Exercises Enough for the Triceps?

Yes, 3 exercises are enough for the triceps. Practicing at least three different movement patterns for the triceps to target all three heads adequately is critical.

Do Skull Crushers Grow Triceps?

Yes, skull crushers grow triceps. Skull crushers are an excellent workout for increasing triceps strength and muscle.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29418118/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6136322/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536996/
  4. https://www.webmd.com/men/default.htm
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8157195/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31469710/
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