10 Best Triceps Exercises

Arnold Schwarzenegger training motivation
"The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character."

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Triceps make up two-thirds of your upper arm. So, to achieve powerful muscular arms you must focus on building powerful muscular triceps.

The key is to train the triceps hard and smart with the most effective triceps exercises. Here are the 10 best triceps mass building exercises to include in your triceps workout.

Arnold Schwarzenegger triceps extension
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”


1. Close-Grip Bench Press

Close Grip Bench Press is one of the top three exercises for overall triceps mass and strength. It is an extremely effective exercise that you will be wise to include in your triceps routine.

Place your hands 8-10 inches apart when performing the close grip bench and keep your elbows tucked to the side of your torso. Perform the close grip bench at the beginning of the workout.

close grip bench press
Close Grip Bench Press

2. Parallel Bar Dip

Parallel bar dip is another top three triceps exercise. If you can do more than 12 dips, then use a weight belt to perform weighted dips. To focus more on the triceps instead of the chest, keep your torso more upright and your elbows tucked close to the side of your body. Perform this exercise first or second in your triceps workout.

Arnold Schwarzenegger dips
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

3. Lying Triceps Extension

Lying triceps extension is the third best triceps exercise that you can perform. This exercise equally targets the lateral and long heads of the triceps muscle for maximum muscle activation and growth.

Arnold Schwarzenegger triceps extension
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”

4. Bench Dip

Bench dip is a classic body weight triceps exercise that effectively engages the triceps muscle. If you can do more than 12 reps of this exercise, then make it a weighted bench dip by having a spotter put plates on your thighs to increase the resistance.

Arnold Schwarzenegger bench dip
“As a kid I always idolized the winning athletes. It is one thing to idolize heroes. It is quite another to visualize yourself in their place. When I saw great people, I said to myself: I can be there.”

5. Close Grip Push Up

Close grip push up is an excellent triceps activator that like the bench dip is a body weight exercise. Keep your hands close and elbows tucked in when performing this exercise. Have a spotter put a plate on your back to add resistance.

Close Grip Push Up
Close Grip Push Up

6. Overhead Dumbbell Extension

Overhead dumbbell extension is a very effective exercise for targeting the long head of the triceps. Make sure to keep your elbows back and close to your body when performing the exercise. Get a good stretch on the bottom and good contraction in your triceps on the top.

Arnold Schwarzenegger overhead triceps extension
“When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

7. Cable Rope Overhead Extension

Cable rope overhead extension is similar to the dumbbell overhead extension. The cable version keeps constant tension on your triceps through the full range of movement. Keep your elbows close and feel the stretch and contraction as you perform the exercise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger overhead triceps rope extension
“We all have great inner power. The power is self-faith. There’s really an attitude to winning. You have to see yourself winning before you win. And you have to be hungry. You have to want to conquer.”

8. Cable Straight Bar Push-down

Cable straight bar triceps push down is a great triceps exercise that activates the lateral head of the triceps extremely well. Keep your elbows close to your sides and drive the weight down and then slowly bring it back up. Focus on the mind to muscle connection.

Arnold Schwarzenegger triceps extension
“Just like in bodybuilding, failure is also a necessary experience for growth in our own lives, for if we’re never tested to our limits, how will we know how strong we really are? How will we ever grow?”

9. Dumbbell Kickbacks

Dumbbell kickbacks are effective for developing the upper portion of the triceps. Use less weight on this exercise and really focus on the movement to activate the triceps effectively.

Arnold Schwarzenegger triceps kickbacks
“What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn’t think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.”

10. Cable One Arm Reverse Extension

Cable one arm triceps reverse extension is a great triceps isolation exercise that you can perform at the end of your workout to exhaust the muscle. Keep your elbow close to your body and focus on the movement.

Arnold Schwarzenegger reverse triceps
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”

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