Triceps are a very important muscle probably the most important muscle in the upper body. Every pushing movement starts and ends with the triceps. If they are underdeveloped you will struggle with any hard work you have to do. With weak triceps usually also comes weak chest, shoulders, and back.
It is very important to get a triceps workout in every week. A lot of people work them out after their chest workout which can be great if you hit them up hard enough. Others train them by themselves or have an arms day like bis & tris which is also fine. So pick whatever works for you.
So how to get a great triceps workout in at home?
All you need is a set of adjustable dumbbells and perform workouts that include:
- skull crushers
- tricep extension
- diamond push up
- close grip dumbbell press
Ultimate Tricep Dumbbell Workout Routine
With tricep only workouts you want to really get them fatigued as much as possible. This will in turn help with other exercises like bench press when you are trying to lock those arms out. For doing that I would go with a superset based workout where you do one exercise then move right onto another after that set. Rest then repeat for so many sets sometimes 3 or 4 sets total.
Equipment Needed: You will only need a set or adjustable dumbbells and either a flat bench or stability exercise ball (also called swiss ball).
Superset 1: 3-4 sets with 10-15 reps each
A. Skull Crushers (Lying Tricep Extension) (No Rest) – laying on a flat bench or stability exercise ball with your back flat. Put your arms up fully extended like you are benching your dumbbells. Hold them at shoulder level with palms facing each other. Then slowly lower your upper arms keeping elbows up and in toward your torso. Lower behind your head then extend your elbow back up to the starting position. These are formally known as lying tricep extensions, but we have always called them skull crushers so do be careful and use lighter weights when starting out for obvious reasons.
B. Close Grip Press (Rest 90-120 seconds) – Dumbbell in each hand same as with lying tricep extensions, but you are going to put the two dumbbell in touching against one another. Palms facing toward each other as well again. Just like doing a diamond push up but holding dumbells. Lower down slowly and press slowly for one rep. After this you rest for 90-120 seconds longer if you are a beginner. There is a reason why we have the skull crushers first because you will be less fatigued making that workout safer.
Superset 2: 3-4 sets with 10-15 reps each
One-Arm Tricep Kickbacks – perform these while either supporting with your off arm on a flat bench or swiss ball or even a chair. Lean over and find a nice balance. Hold dumbbell at side of your torso with elbow up high behind you always remember flat back. Lift the dumbbell up and back until your arm is straight pause and release it back down slowly. Repeat this for 10-15 reps.
Tricep Close Grip or Diamond Pushup – you can do either or here. When starting out go with what is most comfortable then push harder by alternating back and forth. Do these all the way down and all the way slowly and at a pace that keeps the tension going.
*OPTIONAL BURN SET
Bench or Chair Dips (60 seconds)- With legs straight to start if you can or bent as a modifier. Perform dips for 60 seconds go at a pace that you can keep for the entire minute.
This is a simple workout that you don't need heavy weights for light to medium should be plenty especially if you are going the full 15 reps. If you are a beginner maybe go with 2-3 sets of only 10 reps and don't do the burn set. See how your muscles react the next couple of days afterward then increase your weights and reps slowly.
What Is The Best Exercise For Triceps Without Weights?
The best workout to perform without weights for your triceps is going to be the downward dog or pike push-up. You can start at a little wider then shoulder width on these then take it narrower all the way to a diamond if you want.
Starting in the downward dog position you then do a push up from there. You can if you are advanced of course do handstand push ups. If not work your way up to these.
What Are Some Other Non Weight Tricep Exercises
Chair or Bench Dips – you can make these as tough as you want. You can go with straight leg or even one leg down and one raises shifting every 5-10 reps. Then when you are about to give up bring your legs in so you can keep going.
Resistance Bands – These get overlooked and are so cheap to get these days. You can do standing tricep extensions, kickbacks, among other tricep workouts.
Diamond/Close Grip Push Ups – you can do both incline and decline with these as well. Just keep your elbows in so it focuses on your triceps more so then chest. If you max out you can always go to your knees and keep going. Always try to push your self further then you think you can go each set.
Homemade Equipment – You don't need expensive weights but if you don't have resistance bands either and want to expand on your tricep exercises grab something heavy and balanced that you can grip with one or two hands securely. Some options could just be some milk or water gallon jugs. If one isn't enough grab a rope and tie a couple together and get to work. You can even use a towel, sandbags, bungee cords (be careful), medicine balls, etc.
What Are 3 Exercises For The Triceps?
Three main exercises you can focus on for your triceps are:
- Barbell Skull Crushers – These are great way to get your triceps primed and ready to go. By using a barbell it keeps your body comfortable with the bench press over using an EZ Curl Bar. You can also increase the weight quite a bit more then when doing these with dumbbells.
- Barbell Close Grip Bench Press – These are a great way to build on your skull crushers as you can immediately transition into this workout from them. So the weight you should be able to keep them the same as your triceps will be more then likely a little fatigued for the superset.
- Close Grip Pushups – just adding this on the end will burn through and shred those triceps. You can pyramid this as well going from 15-12-8 or however you like.
This is a great little workout to do and can either be done by itself or added on the end of chest or bicep workout.
Best Tricep Workout For Size
If you are looking for straight size and bulk it is probably best to break your tricep workout separate. Doing one heavy day a week. That way you can just focus on getting as heavy as possible doing 8-12 reps max. Just do these 10 exercises in order for at least 3-4 sets.
- Close Grip Bench Press (Barbell or Dumbbell)
- Skull Crushers (Barbell or Dumbbell)
- Weighted Dips (Chair, dip bar, or bench)
- Overhead Triceps Extension (Dumbbell)
- Cable Or Resistance Band Extension
- Cable or Dumbbell Kickbacks
- Close Grip Push Ups
How Do I Tone My Triceps?
Toning your triceps just comes down to being consistent with your workouts. Maybe work your triceps out twice a week once by themselves and on the back end of chest day. Outside of that it will come down to your diet cut back on your calories a little bit if you are in a cut. Lean on that protein and maybe add some creatine to your supplements.
Triceps are an amazing muscle so take your time and enjoy working them out. They make all the difference in your daily chores and mainly with pushing your bench press past your current limits. They have always been my weak point with bench where locking out has been an issue in the past.
Especially when I was powerlifting in states my junior year I had cut too much weight and my triceps were the first thing to go and I scratched out. I learned my lesson the following year and had my best bench press in states at the same weight still only finished second but it was a great feeling to have done my best.
So don't slack on your triceps or any other body part for that manner. If you feel you need to play some catch up on your triceps add in that second workout just make sure your entire body is getting some kind of rest every week or take some time off after a long 10-14 day stretch. Supplements can be a great thing but in the beginning maybe take some protein, multivitamin and maybe some creatine/glut-amine combo to help with your recovery.