Want to work your arms? A triceps workout is a great routine to add to your workout routine because it will help strengthen your upper arms and doesn’t require a lot of time or equipment to do the job.
In fact, you can do a great tricep workout at home in less than 10 minutes. All you need is a set of lightweight dumbbells to get started. Read on to find out what makes a great triceps workout, what your triceps muscles even are, and the best way to incorporate triceps exercises and workouts into your overall workout routine.
Then, once you have everything figured out about your triceps muscles, you can start training. Set aside a little piece of time (and we mean small– say, about seven minutes), grab a yoga mat for extra comfort and get ready to really work your arms. Trust us, this will be a dumbbell workout you’ll want to bookmark for more!
What are your triceps muscles?
Your triceps is a three-headed muscle that runs along the back of your arm, from your shoulder to your elbow, and helps you extend your elbow and straighten your arm. The triceps are considered an accessory muscle or synergist for larger muscle groups like the shoulders and chest, ACE Certified Personal Trainer Sivan Faganfounder of Strong with Sivan in Baltimore, MD, tells SELF.
« The accessory muscle helps the larger muscles, which are the shoulders and chest, to do the ‘pushing’ motion, » she explains. This means your triceps are working when you do exercises like chest presses, push-ups and overhead presses, and even everyday movements like closing a heavy door.
Your triceps muscles are the muscles opposite your biceps, which make up the front of your arms. So if you wanted to do a full arm workout, you’d probably want to include moves that work your biceps and triceps.
How to work your triceps at home?
You can work your triceps at home with dumbbell exercises or bodyweight exercises. For example, bodyweight moves like the push-up — and especially the triceps push-up, also known as the diamond push-up — will really target the backs of your arms. If you’ve got a set of dumbbells, you’ve got even more options: tricep workouts with dumbbells include moves like the skull crusher (less intimidating than it sounds, we promise!), the tricep kickback and overhead tricep extension.
Whichever exercise you choose, you’ll find that the movement pattern for working your triceps will be quite similar: you bend at the elbow, then extend your arm.
What’s the best way to incorporate triceps exercises into your workout routine?
Your triceps pull during push-oriented movements like chest presses, push-ups, and overhead presses. Because these exercises are compound movements — they work multiple muscle groups — they tend to provide a greater fitness benefit for the general user who is simply looking to increase their fitness level or get stronger, says Fagan. So if you have more time for a workout, like 20 or 30 minutes, you’re better off working those large muscle groups (which also target your triceps), rather than focusing on a small muscle group during that time. This would be the fastest way to build upper body strength.
So the best way to work your triceps is to perform a short « finisher » type workout that you can add to the end of your upper body routine, says Fagan, who created this short triceps workout for SELF below. below. You’ll use lighter weights and little rest as you transition from one triceps exercise to the next.
If you really want to smoke your pushing muscles, you can do this dumbbell triceps finisher after a chest workout or a shoulder workout. Doing it after a back workout, which works your « pulling » muscles, is also an option, because that way you’ll be training opposing muscle groups during your workout and finisher. (Also, if you only have a few minutes and want to get moving, you can also do this triceps workout with dumbbells.)
« It’s a great way to end your workout, » says Fagan. « You’re going to really strain those smaller muscles – you’re going to burn out from a triset where we hit those muscles from different angles. »
So whether you only have seven minutes to do this tricep workout alone or want to use it as a tricep finisher, it’s sure to challenge those muscles in the back of your arms. Here’s what you need to get started.
What you will need: A pair of lightweight dumbbells. Because you’ll be working the same muscle with little or no rest, you should choose lighter dumbbells than if you were doing the movements in straight sets or alternating between different movements, says Fagan. You may also want a
Once you’re done, you might want to cool down with some tricep stretches or other great upper body stretches that feel fantastic after a workout.
- plank tricep kickback
- Overhead Triceps Extension
- skull crusher
Perform the movements below in triset, performing each movement for 40 seconds before moving directly to the next exercise. After completing the round, rest for 30 seconds. Complete 3 rounds.
Demonstrate the movements are Amanda Wheeler (GIF 1), certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Forming strength, an online women’s training group serving the LGBTQ+ community and allies; and Rachel Dennis (GIF 2 & 3), a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York State powerlifting records.