Surprisingly, losing weight should not be the only approach to obtaining beautiful and toned arms. Only muscles can create the desired silhouette, and the gym is not necessary. Training triceps is possible even without extra weights. Read on! We have selected the most effective triceps exercises for home and gym workouts.
The triceps are three-headed muscles at the back of your arms. Its main functions are to straighten your arms, push objects, and stabilize your arms and shoulders1Landin D, Thompson M, Jackson M. (2018, April) Functions of the Triceps Brachii in Humans: A Review. J Clin Med Res. PMID:29511416.
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They are antagonists of the biceps that move your arms in the opposite direction. All tricep exercises focus on extending movements, while bicep exercises focus on curling ones. The tonus and size of these two muscles define the look of your arms.
Triceps workouts will give you stronger, healthier, and better-looking arms.
If you don't want to become too muscular, you won't. You can't build super-sized muscles by accident. Most ladies who exercise regularly just have toned bodies and a bit more muscles than average women.
Stronger triceps will also help you progress in such exercises as push-ups, dips, and shoulder presses.
There are two types of tricep exercises: compound and isolated movements.
Compound exercises activate several muscle groups, such as pectoral muscles (chest) and deltoid muscles (shoulders). They also activate core muscles. Isolated exercises focus only on one muscle at a time. Good tricep workouts include both exercise types. We recommend starting your workouts with compound movements and then proceeding with isolated ones2Gentil P, Soares S, Bottaro M. (2015, June 6). Single vs. Multi-Joint Resistance Exercises: Effects on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy. Asian J Sports Med. DOI:10.5812/asjsm.24057.
Use a variety of exercises in your workout to emphasize all parts of your triceps from different angles.
Good tricep workouts are challenging during the last reps but don't seem like too much to handle. It means you can perform all exercises in good form and without pain. Strength gain is also an indicator of a good workout routine.
Home workouts are a perfect solution for beginners and busy people. Here, we will show you some bodyweight exercises you can easily perform without equipment. You can regulate the difficulty level using different exercise variations.
You can do this exercise with a little elevation: use a chair, sofa, or bed with a hard mattress. The more you elevate yourself, the bigger the motion range and difficulty you get.
Place your arms under your chest a bit wider than your shoulders. Keep your legs and spine straight (no hunching or bending). Bend your arms, so your chest is about 4 inches above the ground.
Make sure your elbows are not too wide. The angle between your body and upper arms should be about 45 degrees. Simply put, you should look like this "↑" and not like this "T" from above.
If classic push-ups are too hard for you, for now, try kneeled push-ups or put your arms on an elevated surface. Once you get stronger, you can switch to diamond push-ups. They will target your triceps even better than regular push-ups.
Bodyweight triceps extensions
Triceps extensions are similar to push-ups but focus solely on the triceps. In the classic variation, you need to place your arms in front of you at shoulder width. Lower your elbows to the ground while breathing in, and straighten your arms while breathing out.
As this movement is a rather complicated one, you can start with doing tricep extensions against the wall. Then you can move a bit farther from the wall each time to increase the level of difficulty. Next, start doing kneeled tricep extensions. Eventually, you will be able to do it with straight legs.
The gym gives you more opportunities to gradually increase your training volume when you become stronger. Also, training in the gym can make you more productive. The setting and people surrounding you add motivation and mood for workout.
Gravitron dips are similar to parallel bar dips but give you weight assistance. The bigger weight you choose, the easier it will be for you to do dips.
Place your arms on the handles and slightly lean your body forward. Straighten your arms. Put your legs onto the foot or knee platform. Slowly move down, so your upper arms become parallel to the ground and return to the starting position. Make sure you don't spread your elbows wider than your palms.
Triceps machine dips
Also called triceps machine press, this exercise targets your triceps better than usual dips3Kholinne E, Zulkarnain RF, Sun YC, Lim S, Chun JM, Jeon IH. (2018, February 5). The different role of each head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. DOI:10.1016/j.aott.2018.02.005. Sit down and grasp the handles. Push the handles down by extending your arms. Keep your elbows close to your body while you perform the exercise.
Cable rope pushdowns
Put the pulley into the upper position and attach a rope handle with two ends or a horizontal cable bar4Rendos NK, Heredia Vargas HM, Alipio TC, Regis RC, Romero MA, Signorile JF. (2016 July 30). Differences in Muscle Activity During Cable Resistance Training Are Influenced by Variations in Handle Types. J Strength Cond Res. DOI:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001293. Face the cable machine and grasp the handle with an overhand grip. Extend your elbows on exhale. Engage your core muscles, so you don't bend forward. You can step forward with one leg to make your position more balanced.
Cable overhead extension
Adjust the pulley: it should be at your waist or slightly lower. Choose a double rope handle and grab each of the rope's ends. Turn around so your elbows are bent and your palms behind your head. Extend your elbows overhead.
You can feel a little stretch in your triceps when you return to the starting position. Your back should be straight: don't arch it in any direction. You can lean forward a little bit while keeping a neutral spine position.
This exercise selection is perfect for gym workouts. If you have the right equipment at home, you can easily include these exercises in your home training routine.
Close grip bench press
The point of this exercise is to give more emphasis to your triceps instead of your chest and shoulders5Lockie, Robert G., Callaghan, Samuel J., Moreno, Matthew R., Risso, Fabrice G., Liu, Tricia M., Stage, Alyssa A., Birmingham-Babauta, Samantha A., Stokes, John J., Giuliano, Dominic V., Lazar, Adrina, Davis, DeShaun L. and Orjalo, Ashley J. (2017). Relationships between Mechanical Variables in the Traditional and Close-Grip Bench Press. Journal of Human Kinetics, Vol.60 (Issue 1). DOI:10.1515/hukin-2017-0109. Choose a simple flat bench. Lie on the bench and grab the bar at shoulder width with straight arms. Slowly lower the bar to the level of your chest. Push it while breathing out and extend your arms.
Lying triceps extension
You can do this exercise using a flat or slightly elevated bench6Boehler, B. (2011, April 5). Electromyographic analysis of the triceps brachii muscle during a variety of triceps exercises. UW-L Theses & Dissertations. Retrieved from http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/53487. Lie on it and hold a bar above your chest using a shoulder-width grip. Bend your elbows so that you only move your forearms with your upper arms in a fixed position. When the bar is slightly past your head, you can reverse the movement while breathing out.
Overhead triceps extension
The motion range of this exercise is almost identical to the lying tricep extension. Its main benefit is better control as you can see yourself in the mirror while doing the exercise. Overhead tricep extensions also benefit shoulder stability and provide better core engagement6Boehler, B. (2011, April 5). Electromyographic analysis of the triceps brachii muscle during a variety of triceps exercises. UW-L Theses & Dissertations. Retrieved from http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1793/53487.
Use an EZ curled bar for a firmer grip. Hold the bar above your head with a shoulder-width drip. Lock your upper arms and bend your elbows. Return to the starting position when your forearms become parallel to the floor.
Triceps are significantly smaller than big muscle groups such as glutes or back muscles. That is why it will take longer for you to see visible muscle growth in this area. However, you can train triceps more frequently as they don't need as much recovery time as big muscles.
On average, you need around 48 hours to recover after a tricep workout7Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. (2016, November). Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. DOI:10.3390/ijerph16244897. Training triceps 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes is optimal for most people. But remember that triceps also take part in many chest and shoulder exercises. You can count them as tricep workouts too.
For better muscle growth, each set should have 40-70 seconds with a 60-seconds resting period between them8. In other words, you will need 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps. You will also need to gradually increase your training volume to see results. Choose slightly bigger weights or more difficult exercise progressions when you feel you can do it. The first visible results will be after 2 weeks of consistent training.
Of course, it works better with proper nutrition and enough sleep. Your muscles can't grow without enough fuel!
So make sure you train, eat and rest well.
You can build beautiful triceps no mattesr what location or equipment you choose. You can even combine and try all types of triceps training to see what feels better for you. The two things that matter are regular workouts and qualitative recovery. Be consistent in your training, proper exercise form, and rest - the results won't take long to appear.
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