Build strong, defined triceps with the 8 best tricep exercises for women. This challenging 30-minute tricep workout uses dumbbells, a resistance band and your bodyweight to tone your triceps. Reach muscle fatigue in 30 minutes with this strict set format — a set of tricep dips breaks up each strength set (for a total of 100+ tricep dips)!
Build a strong, defined upper body with eight tricep exercises.
Biceps tend to steal the show when we talk about toned arms. But did you know that our triceps have the capacity to be bigger than our biceps?! This is because the tricep is a three-headed muscle, whereas the bicep is a two-headed muscle.
The triceps are the three muscles along the back of your upper arm that help you extend your elbow and straighten your arm. They assist with pushing motions, like push ups.
The strict set format found in today’s workout is particularly helpful if your goal is muscular hypertrophy, or muscle growth.
We’re calling this the “best tricep exercises for women” because historically women haven’t been encouraged to strength train the upper body. That said, these are great tricep exercises for everyone.
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Tricep Exercises for Women FAQs
What Are The Best Tricep Exercises For Women?
Researchers have identified tricep push ups, tricep dips, and tricep kickbacks as some of the exercises that most efficiently fire up the muscle in back of the arm (ACE Fitness). This arm workout includes all of these powerful tricep exercises and more to build upper body strength.
Why Are Triceps Hard To Tone?
Triceps, like most muscle groups, require repetition. I suggest including triceps exercises in your weekly workout routine 2-3 days a week. Since the triceps are commonly undertrained, they are smaller. Thus, the larger push muscles (like the chest and shoulders) tend to overcompensate or take over during push exercises.
How Do Women Tone Their Triceps?
Progressively loading the triceps muscles with these 8 triceps exercises. AKA — adding these triceps exercises to your weekly strength training routine and striving to increase weights every couple weeks or months.
8 Best Tricep Exercises for Women
Strengthen your triceps and build strong, toned arms with these eight best tricep exercises for women.
This tricep workout for women combines bodyweight tricep exercises with dumbbell tricep exercises to fully fatigue the triceps.
Targets: All three heads of the tricep muscle (lateral head, medial head, and long head). The tricep kickback is one of best isolation exercises for targeting the triceps brachii muscle.
How To Do Single Arm Tricep Kickbacks
Start with feet hip-distance apart, slight bend in the knees and hinge forward. Option to stagger the feet to support the lower back.
Hold one dumbbell in your left hand at your side (palm facing your body) with your left arm bent at a 90-degree angle. Think shoulders down and back away from your ears.
‘Kickback,’ extending the left elbow so your left arm forms a straight line as you push the dumbbell back past your hips. At the top of the movement, elbow is fully extended.
With control, slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position.
Overhead Tricep Extensions
Targets: The long head of the triceps and all the stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, core, glutes and lower back muscles.
How To Do Overhead Tricep Extensions
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, core engaged and soft bend in your knees.
Hold one dumbbell or two dumbbells vertically overhead and activate your core by squeezing your glutes and abs to protect your lower back.
Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing the dumbbell(s) behind your head. Think ‘hide the dumbbell, show the dumbbell’ if you were watching yourself in a mirror. Keep your elbows close to your ears throughout the entire movement (don’t let your elbows flare out as you fatigue).
Tricep Push Ups
Targets: All three heads of the triceps muscle, chest, shoulders, back, abs and core muscles.
An effective bodyweight tricep exercise.
How To Do Tricep Push Ups
Start in high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly.
Hold this position maintaining a straight line with your body, flat back, tight core, and neck in line with spine, gaze slightly in front of you.
Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground, keeping your elbows pinned to your sides. Keeping your elbows narrow engages your triceps rather than your chest muscles, like a standard push up would. Maintain a straight line with your body — head, chest and legs in one straight line.
Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank.
Targets: Chest (pectorals), shoulders and triceps.
How To Do A Narrow Floor Press
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a flat bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, elbows at your sides, dumbbells at mid-chest point. Legs bent at 90 degrees with feet firmly on the floor.
Activate your chest by pressing the dumbbells together.
Exhale as you press the dumbbells up in a straight line overhead, ending with your wrists stacked over shoulders.
Lower the dumbbells back towards your chest with control. Repeat this narrow chest press movement.
Targets: Triceps and core.
Lying tricep extensions (skull crushers) take any potential weight bearing stress off your back so you can really focus on working the back of your arms.
How To Do Skull Crushers
Lie flat on the ground or on a bench or stability ball; legs bent at 90 degrees.
Hold one dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms so the dumbbells are directly overhead (palms facing one another).
Bending at the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head (just bending at the elbows, lowering the dumbbells towards your temples).
Then press the dumbbells back overhead to return to the starting position.
Side Lying Tricep Press
Targets: Triceps, shoulders, abs and core.
How To Do A Side Lying Tricep Press
Lie down on one side, stacking your shoulders, hips, and feet. Option to bend your legs or keep them extended long.
Plant your top hand to the mat directly in front of your bottom shoulder. Gently hold your top shoulder with your bottom hand (this keeps the shoulder stable and ensures the work is coming from your triceps).
Pressing through the palm of your hand on the mat, push yourself up off the mat until your arm is almost fully extended.
With control, lower yourself back to the mat returning to the starting position.
Banded Tricep Push Down
Targets: All three heads of the tricep muscle (back of the upper arm).
How To Do A Banded Tricep Push Down
Start with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Option to slightly stagger your feet.
Hold the top of the resistance band at your left shoulder with your right hand. Then loop your left hand/palm through the bottom of the resistance band.
Slightly hinge forward at the hips and perform a tricep kickback on the left arm. Extend the left arm long behind you as you pull the band band back towards your left hips/butt (left arm straight).
With control, slowly return your left hand to the starting position.
Targets: The lateral and medial heads of your triceps.
How To Do Tricep Dips
Grip the edge of a chair or bench, fingertips pointed toward your butt or toes, elbows bent. Note, you can also perform tricep dips sitting on the ground with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your hands behind you (fingertips facing your butt).
Keeping your back close to the chair, lower yourself, bending at the elbows until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle.
Press through your palms, using your triceps to push you back up to starting position.
Modification: The closer your feet are to the bench, the easier the tricep dips will be.
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