My 5 favorite exercises for triceps

Especially women often ask me about exercises for triceps, and how to tighten up the upper arm. Well, here are my top 5 favorite exercises for the triceps.

Triceps are made up by three muscle heads (tri-ceps). All three heads connects to the elbow and extends the arm. One of the heads also passes the shoulder joint, extends and pulls the arm back. You need a variety of exercises for different angles and grips to fully develop all three heads.

In my experience triceps respond better to heavy exercises. Low rep barbell and dumbbell exercises are best for strength and volume. Cable pulls and light high rep dumbbell work can later be used for definition, if you like, but light work will not make this muscle grow significantly in volume or strength. I made that mistake for many years. You really need heavy work, and trust me, it’s worth the effort. Strong triceps will help you in presses, throwing sports, martial arts and other contact sports. It will help you in any activity where you push against resistance, or catch yourself falling. Triceps helps to stabilize and support the elbow and shoulder joints.

Narrow grip bench press
Heavy barbell exercise for size and strength. Your strength in narrow grip bench press 3RM (repetition maximum) should be around 90% of your normal bench press 3RM. In my opinion the best exercise for strength and size development. You can use dumbbells but with a barbell it’s more convenient, and perhaps safer, when you go really heavy.

V-bar dips
Heavy body weight exercise for size and strength. I love dips, but be careful with shoulder integrity. Don’t use a too narrow grip, keep the shoulders in place and don’t let them pop forward. Use extra weight as soon as strength allow it. I believe you should start your fitness journey with body weight exercises. I believe that if you learn to control you body in space, you’ll be more prepared to fully develop your strength potential in any activity.

Can you do 5 reps with added resistance that equal half your body weight? You should.

Scalp presses (press above the head)
One of the muscle heads passes the shoulder joint, and to fully stretch this muscle you need to reach above your head. This is why presses above the head is good for triceps development.

This exercise is used for strengthening the lock-out in bench press. It will also help to develop a nice definition. You can, and should, use fairly heavy weights on this one.

Classic exercise, good for isolated pumping of the triceps. Use for definition, and to some extend for strength. If one arm is smaller or weaker than the other, do this exercise one arm at a time. Make sure to keep the elbows still and pointed towards the ceiling.

Now, of course there is a lot more very good arm exercises for the triceps that I like very much and use, but these are my top favorite that I always come back to. I like variation, mainly to avoid stagnation and overuse injuries. Later I will give some examples of cable-cross exercises for the arms that I use.