One person in any partnership gets more attention than the other. Look at Wham! Granted, George Michael did all the writing and singing, but Andrew Ridgley was just as important…
Ok, he wasn’t really. But that still doesn’t take away from the fact that some things get more limelight than others. The tricep, therefore, is a bit like Andrew Ridgeley, but unlike the former Wham! member, your triceps are far from useless.
So here are the best exercises to build them up, before you go go…
1. The skull crusher
How: Using either a dumbbell or an EZ bar, the logic is the same. Lie on a flat bench, with your feet on the ground and your head just hanging over the top. With an overhand group, take the weight and hold it above your head. Bend your arms at the elbow to bring the weight down close to your head. Bring the weight back up and repeat from 8-12 reps.
Why: This is an isolation exercise, so just works the muscle group you want. It is a good exercise for solving imbalance issues and works the muscle from the elbow to the lats.
2. Standing overhead tricep bar extensions
How: Using a tricep bar in order to get a closed grip, stand straight with a solid base and lift the bar to behind your head. Keep a solid base, make sure you squeeze and stay in control of the motion. Bend the elbows and bring the weight to the top of your back, then bring the weight back up. Don’t lock out on the elbows as this could cause joint problems. Look for an 8-12 rep range.
Why: This is a good exercise for beginners as it is a fairly natural movement, and though it’s best done with a tricep bar, it can be done with any kind of weight (like a 5kg whey protein tub), just be sure to not over stretch.
3. Rope pull downs
How: For this, you need a stable base and you need to keep your elbows tucked in. More importantly though, you need a cable machine and some ropes. With your stable base, and a tight core, simply pull down on the ropes and bring back up in a controlled manner. If you are moving, or using momentum on the ropes, you need to lessen the weight. Go for a 15 rep range. and only move up a weight when comfortable.
Why: This is once again, an easy exercise to do. If performed correctly, it also works as a very concentrated isolation exercise, once again improving muscle balance.
4. Close grip push ups
How: Our guess is that you know how to do a press up. So bring the arms in and create a forward “triangle” shape with the gap created by your thumbs and index fingers, as you point your hands forwards. Your elbow can flare out, but as usual, control the movement, and keep a tight core. Up and down, and hold the weight for an extra challenge. Begin on your knees and move up to the traditional position if you are struggling. Go for an 8-12 rep range.
Why: This exercise needs no equipment, and can be done very quickly. It builds up the triceps and promotes a good solid core, which will help your overall fitness. It also works less of the chest than traditional press ups, so if you have tweaked something there, but still want the exercise in your routine, this is what to do.
How: Keep your back close to the bench, with your hands by your side, and then lower yourself down, and back up. It is important to breathe properly and to stay close to the bench. Begin with your knees bent if need be, and then straighten if you want an extra challenge. Go for an 8-12 rep range.
Why: This builds your triceps, promotes a good core and is a good exercise to learn how to control your breathing. Additionally, it helps to promote good posture, as this is how you get the most out of the exercise.
6. Kick backs
How: You need a flat bench and dumbbell. Set up so one knee is flat on the bench, and your spare hand is holding you weight up, your other leg should then create a “tripod” as it leans off the bench onto the floor. Bring the dumbbell back, making sure you look forward and hold the weight at the top of the movement. Be careful not to swing too much, and as usual, breathe. Go for an 8-12 rep range, and move up weights when you can comfortably complete a set.
Why: By now, you should get the idea. Just as extreme fat burners help you to cut unwanted flab, these exercises will help you build killer triceps. But unlike one half of Wham! they won’t be useless.