The 8 BEST tricep exercises for women in a 30-Minute Tricep Workout with dumbbells. From lying triceps extensions to tricep dips, these triceps exercises will make the muscles on the back of your arms pop!
This 30-Minute Tricep Workout will make the muscles on the back of your arm pop.
This “burnout style” tricep workout for women combines bodyweight tricep exercises with dumbbell tricep exercises to fully fatigue the triceps (which is how we build tricep muscles).
Biceps tend to steal the show when we talk about ‘showing off our muscles’ in the classic ‘flex’ move but I’m here to tell you that the tricep is JUST as important!
Did you know that our triceps have the capacity to be bigger than our biceps?! The tricep is a three-headed muscle. Whereas, the bicep is a two-headed muscle. Women especially tend to ‘under-work’ the tricep.
What are the best tricep exercises for women?
Tricep Push Ups
Lying Tricep Extensions
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 four of these ‘power’ tricep exercises.
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 over-compensate 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.
30-Minute Tricep Workout With Dumbbells
The goal of this tricep workout is to strengthen and tone the back of the arm.
There are eight tricep exercises in this workout — four dumbbell tricep exercises and four bodyweight tricep exercises.
This tricep workout is a great way to measure fitness progress and strength gains. Repeat this workout monthly to see if you can increase weights each time you do it.
Set of medium-to-heavy dumbbells. I suggest between 5-20 lbs. I’m using 10, 12 and 15 lb dumbbells for this tricep workout.
This workout also uses a chair, bench or counter top for the bodyweight tricep exercises.
You get to choose which of these tricep workouts is right for you!
20-Minute AMRAP Tricep Workout — AMRAP or ‘as many rounds as possible’ workout. Set a timer for 20-minutes. Complete 10 repetitions of each tricep exercise. Repeat as many rounds as possible, or AMRAP, in 20-minutes; taking breaks as needed.
8-Minute EMOM Tricep Workout — EMOM or an ‘every minute on the minute’ workout. Set a timer for 8 minutes. At the start of the first minute complete 12 repetitions of the first tricep exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the minute. At the start of the second minute complete 12 repetitions of the second tricep exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the second minute. Repeat this format for all 8 minutes. Option to repeat this format for a 16 minute workout.
Make it a Tricep Burnout Workout that you add onto the end of your upper body workout to burnout the tricep muscles — Complete 15-20 repetitions of each tricep exercise; one time through. This will ‘burnout’ or fatigue the tricep muscles at the end of your arm workout. Burnout workouts are great for building muscle; pushing the muscle to fatigue which allows it to grow!
Tricep Push Up (also known as a Narrow Push Up, Diamond Push Up or Military Push Up)
Dumbbell Skull Crushers
Side Lying Tricep Press (also known as a Side Push Up), Right
Side Lying Tricep Press (also known as a Side Push Up), Left
1. Single Arm Tricep Kickback (perform on right arm, then left arm)
Why we love Tricep Kickbacks: They are one of the BEST triceps exercises to strengthen and tone the back of the arm.
Trainer Tip: Try and go heavier than you normally would for this single arm exercise.
Typically you see tricep kickbacks as a bilateral exercises (working both arms at the same time). However, performing the tricep kickback as a unilateral exercise (one arm at a time) allows you to focus on one arm at a time; possibly using a heavier weight than you normally would working two arms at the same time.
How to do Single Arm Tricep Kickbacks:
Start with feet hip distance apart, slightly bend knees and hinge forward. Option to stagger the feed to support the lower back.
Hold one dumbbell in your right hand at your side (palm facing your body) with your right arm bent at a 90-degree angle. Think shoulders down and back away from your ears.
‘Kickback’, extending the right elbow so your right arm forms a straight line as you push the dumbbell back past your hips.
With control, slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position.
Repeat on the left arm.
2. Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions
Why we love Overhead Tricep Extensions: They target the long head of your triceps and require lots of core engagement.
Trainer Tips: To keep the core engaged think about spreading the floor apart underneath you, keeping a nice neutral spine, and keeping your rib cage pulled in (not flaring out). It’s also important to keep your arms next to the ears as you lower the weight behind your head.
How to do Overhead Tricep Extensions:
Standing with feet hip distance apart, or personally I like to stagger my feet to better support my low back.
Hold one dumbbell or two dumbbells straight 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 dumbbells, show the dumbbells’ 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).
3. Tricep Push Up (also known as a Narrow Push Up, Diamond Push Up or Military Push Up)
Why we love Tricep Push Ups: They really target ALL 3 heads of the tricep muscle. Push ups are a fast and effective way build strong tris (and abs too).
Trainer Tip: Modify this challenging upper body exercise by adding an incline. As you can see below, I’m doing tricep pushups on a chair to make them slightly easier while still getting full range of motion on my push ups.
Another modification would be to perform a close grip bench press.
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, starting position.
Why we love Skull Crushers: Lying tricep extensions take any potential weight bearing stress off your back so you can really focus on working the back of your arms with this move.
Trainer Tip: Lower the dumbbells down towards your temples with each rep.
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.
5. Side Lying Tricep Press or Side Push Up (perform on right arm, then left arm)
Why we love the Side Push Up: It’s a challenging and effective bodyweight tricep exercise. While the triceps are the focus of this exercise your abs, core and shoulders are also engaged.
Trainer Tip: Think about pressing away from the ground with the back of your arm (your tricep).
How to do a Side Tricep Push Up:
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 insures 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.
Repeat on the other arm.
6. Tricep Dips
Why we love Tricep Dips: The best way to ‘burnout’ the lateral and medial heads of your triceps!
I think tricep dips are the BEST bodyweight tricep exercise to build lean tricep muscles. Tricep dips are also a great way to measure progress.
Trainer Tip: The farther your feet are away from the chair, the harder this exercise will be. To modify, walk your feet in so your legs are at a 90 degree bend as you dip.
How to do Tricep Dips or Bench 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.
More of the Best (Muscle-Specific) Arm Exercises for Women