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Terrifically Toned Triceps

Build and strengthen your triceps muscles with these five effective exercises.

Running along the back of your upper arm is your triceps brachii muscle. Starting at your shoulder and ending at the elbow, the triceps’ job is to extend the forearm. With strong triceps, everyday activities that involve lifting, pulling, or pushing become easier. When these tasks are easier, so is your life.

A common exercise mistake is to overdo it on biceps exercises while ignoring the triceps. For muscle balance and proper muscle function, it’s important to include exercises for both. As its name suggests, the triceps is divided into three parts, and a balanced workout routine will be made of exercises that work each part.

If you’re looking for isolation exercises that target the triceps, look no further. Here are five of the most effective triceps exercises to include in your strength-training workout.


If you’re ready to do it all, you can work all three parts of the triceps with kickbacks. This exercise requires the use of a free weight. To do a kickback, stand up straight, rest your left foot on a step, lean forward, and place your left forearm on your left thigh. Hold a weight in your right hand and slowly extend your right arm back behind you. Lower the weight as you bend your right arm to a 90-degree angle. You should feel your triceps working. Throughout the exercise, your shoulder stabilizes the upper arm.

Triangle Pushups

The most effective exercise for all parts of the triceps is the triangle pushup. It’s also possibly the most difficult. However, no equipment is needed, so if you’re willing to work, you can get it done.

To get started, get in pushup position on the floor and place your hands directly on the floor beneath your chest. Spread your fingers so that both thumbs and pointer fingers are touching. The shape between your hands should make a triangle. From a plank position, bend your elbows, keeping them close to your sides, and lower your body toward the floor. After nearly touching your chest to the floor, straighten your elbows as your lift your body.

If the traditional pushup position is too difficult, support your body on your knees instead of your toes.


Another simple triceps exercise is the dip. Sit on the edge of a bench or sturdy chair and place your hands on the bench on either side of your hips. Lift your upper body off the bench, move slightly in front of the bench, and lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise your body back up and repeat. The farther your feet are from the bench, the more challenging the exercise becomes. You shouldn’t feel pain in your shoulders, so if you do, skip this exercise.

Triceps Extensions

You’ll need a free weight for this exercise. While seated or standing, hold a single free weight in both hands and lift it above your head. Keep your shoulders close to your head and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle as you lower the weight down behind your head. Engage your abs to prevent your back from arching, straighten your arms, and raise the weight back to its original position. Then repeat.

Triceps Pushdowns

Pushdowns can be performed using an elastic band attached to something sturdy overhead, a rope attached to a cable machine, or a bar attached to a cable machine. Grasp either side of the band or rope. As you start, your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your elbows by your sides. Now extend each arm down and to the sides as you contract your triceps. Return to the starting position and repeat. If using a bar, push it down while keeping your elbows stationary.

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