If you could only ever train your triceps with five exercises… what would they be?
Don’t worry, you will still be able to do other tricep exercises. We’re not that cruel. This is a purely hypothetical question. But it still pays to know the answer. Because in theory, if you know your ‘desert island’ exercises, then you will have reliable staples that you can return to time and again. If you know the five exercises that you can use to get an amazing tricep workout in every time, then you can build the rest of your routines around those and you’ll never be at a loss for how to get the backs of your arms popping!
Not sure what your top five would be? Then how about taking it from Rob Riches, a guy who knows a thing or two about amazing triceps. These are the five exercises he thinks are the best for triceps.
The push downs are pretty basic but that’s no bad thing! The push downs really target the triceps well and they allow you to drop the weight down, move it up and generally increase intensity in all kinds of ways without risking injury.
A key tip to doing this well is to stand with your hips back as you perform the reps. This way you’ll be able to extend your arms much further and you should be getting them all the way straight. Make sure you aren’t using momentum or cheating by using your bodyweight.
The Narrow Grip Bench Press
The narrow grip is a bench press but with your hands close together. This removes the focus from the pecs and places it squarely on your triceps. It can be a little uncomfortable on your wrists though, so make sure not to go down further than you’re comfortable with.
Tricep dips are classics again which is only a testament to their versatility. Rob Riches prefers the ‘bench dip’ variation which means he has his feet on one bench and hands on another. This of course allows you to dip much lower and Rob also likes to pile up extra weight with weight plates on the lap. Note that this one isn’t great for the shoulders, so this isn’t a good one if you have bad shoulders.
Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Next up come the dumbbell extensions. Here you’re holding a dumbbell behind your upper back and then extending your arm by straightening it out right directly above you. This is another classic and it works the full length of the tricep for great ROM.
Finally, another classic move. Kickbacks are great for really isolating the dumbbell and it doesn’t take much weight here to get an amazing burn going. By using the cable pulley machine you can perform more inventive drop sets and other routines and you can also ensure perfect technique.
These aren’t the absolute best five of course – you may prefer others. And of course variation is always good. But if in doubt, you can always rely on these absolute classics to ensure you get a good tricep workout.