4 of the Most Effective Tricep Exercises
Susan Hoff
January 25, 2021

Intersperse these tricep exercises into your upper body routine for lean and toned arms.

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When you think of toned and strong arms, think triceps. These are the heavyweight champions of your arms. As the name suggests, the triceps have three parts to them—the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head. In order to fully work them all, try performing these four tricep exercises. Below is an in-depth guide to performing each tricep exercise with the proper form for the most effective results. 

Tricep Kickbacks

A well-known tricep exercise, the tricep kickback will make you work against gravity as you lean forward and straighten the weight up and behind you. The most important part of this exercise is the end of the extension, so make sure to squeeze your triceps and hold it for at least one full second before retracting. 

How To Do a Kickback:

1. Move one foot in front of the other and lean forward slightly, keeping a straight back. 

2. Hold both weights in your hands and pull your arms up into a 90-degree angle. Imagine you have picked up a couple of suitcases. 

3. Leave your elbows and the rest of your upper arms where they are and extend your lower arms back behind you. Focus on your triceps as you extend outward. Make sure to squeeze your triceps and hold it for at least one full second before retracting. 

4. Lower your forearms back into starting position. 

Overhead Tricep Extensions

The overhead tricep extension is another common, yet effective tricep exercise. Make sure to hold your elbows in and against your ears the whole time. Do not let them drift outward. Letting them drift will make the exercise easier and take the tension out of your triceps. Make sure to keep your abs tight and refrain from arching your back. Looking at yourself in the mirror as you do this exercise will help you maintain the proper form.

How To Do an Overhead Tricep Extension:

1. Stand with one leg in front of the other slightly for stability. 

2. Hold one weight vertically with both hands and lift it above your head. 

3. Keeping your elbows pointed straight in front of you and your biceps at your ears, lower the weight behind you as far as is comfortable.

4. Straighten your arms back up and squeeze your triceps at the top of the extension. 

Tricep Dips

You can take tricep dips with you anywhere you go—from a workout bench to a park bench. You will work against your body weight and can increase or decrease the intensity of the dip by moving your feet closer or farther away from you. In order to prevent unnecessary strain on your triceps, shoulders, or elbows, keep your body just slightly in front of the bench. 

How To Do a Dip:

1. Sit on a bench and place your hands right alongside your hips. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. You can move them out if you want to make the exercise more difficult, but this is a good foundation.

2. Push yourself off of the bench using your hands and lower your body down below the bench. Your elbows should remain pointed straight back behind you and your shoulders should not rise up to your ears.  

3. Once you have bent your elbows to a 90-degree angle, push yourself back up.

Tricep Rope Push Downs

The tricep rope push down requires a cable machine and rope attachment. Choose your weight by practicing a few reps. If you can comfortably pull the rope down, next to your body and return it without it throwing you back up, then proceed with that weight. 

How To Do a Rope Push Down:

1. Face the cable machine and hold each end of the rope right above the two knotted ends. You will start with your hands about chest level and elbows bent up towards you. 

2. Extend your arms downward and push the ends of the rope towards the floor and away from each other. Squeeze at the end of the extension and hold for at least one second. 

3. Return your arms back to the starting position. Do not let go or allow the rope to pull you back to start. Stay focused and intentionally return to starting position.

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