Jacob Osborn

10 Best Tricep Exercises for Men | Man of Many

Simply put, your triceps (or triceps brachii) is a large muscle found on the back of your upper arm. It consists of three integral parts – the medial, the lateral and the long head, all of which aid in movement contraction. (2) Importantly, this muscle group is responsible for the extension of the elbow joint, which in turn, allows you to straighten your arm. According to Gordana Sendić MD, the triceps represent the only constituent of the posterior muscle group of the arm, spanning nearly the entire length of the humerus. (4)

What are Your Triceps Muscles?

As mentioned, the triceps brachii muscle has three heads, all of which have their origin. These components come together to form the muscle group, providing support to the exterior of the arm and furthering movement of the elbow joint.

Triceps Anatomy

The main function of the triceps is to allow movement and extension of the elbow joint. As such, this muscle is referred to as an extensor muscle and an antagonist of the biceps and brachialis muscles. As a core role, the triceps help to fixate the elbow joint when the forearm and hand are used for fine movements, otherwise known as active extension. This is best seen with the contraction of the triceps brachii muscle and the relaxation of the biceps brachii, which lends itself well to pushing or thrusting movements.


Welcome to muscle country. Population: you. That is, of course, presuming you pick up one or more of the following tricep exercises for men. Combine 6 or 7 to complete a full-blown tricep workout. Just as we said about our bicep, chest and forearm workouts, beginners should start on the machine before graduating to the bench. Also, maxing out your triceps isn’t necessarily frowned upon so keep pushing yourself once you feel the burn (but stop if you feel pain in your joints). Here we go:

Best Tricep Exercises for Men

It’s a staple option but it’s on the list for a reason. The Close-Grip Bench Press is a multijoint compound movement that allows you to work multiple body parts at once, putting greater strain on your muscles and providing a more complete workout. This variation, in particular, targets the triceps through the use of a close grip starting position, which adds to the progressive overload function of the movement. Recent studies have shown (5) that this position is better for sustained overload than a wider grip, meaning you can expect to see greater results when adding this to your list of triceps exercises. To execute, perform the following steps:

1. Close-Grip Bench Press

The quintessential triceps exercise for men, the cable rope tricep pushdown allows you to place significant strain on the muscle group safely and effectively. This movement targets the lateral head of the triceps and when executed properly, can lead to progressive overload and enhanced muscle-building activity. If you’re targeting the triceps, don’t overdo it on the weights when performing this exercise. Here’s how:

2. Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown

This exercise is sometimes known as the skullcrusher and that alone should tell you it’s not for beginners. And while there’s more than one way to perform it (over-the-head vs behind-the-head, for instance), elbow extension remains constant. After you’ve mastered other tricep workouts and exercises, bring this one into the fold. When you’ve become a true master of your upper domain, perform this tricep exercise and a dumbbell chest press as a superset.

3. Lying Triceps Extension

Here’s another tricep exercise for men who have more experience under their respective belts. It involves using your entire body weight and should be avoided by those with shoulder issues. Start with just 2 sets of 8-10 reps and increase the number of sets and reps as you improve over time. Importantly, dips are a highly-effective way to target the outer elements of your upper arm.

4. Tricep Dips

A semi-strenuous alternative to your standard push-up, you can perform this tricep exercise from the comfort of your own home. While it’s traditionally seen as a chest movement, the diamond push-up requires you to push through the ground and use your triceps to elevate your body weight. General push-ups require you to place your hands just outside your shoulder width, however, by bringing them in and tucking your elbows, you can place greater strain on your triceps muscles (7), in particular, the lateral head. Here’s how to perform a diamond push-up:

5. Diamond Push-Ups

Unlike the tricep dip, this basic workout doesn’t require copious amounts of muscle or experience — however, it’s an easy exercise for beginners to get wrong, so ask a personal trainer or coach for pointers to get it right. Remarkably, while it does involve significantly less strain on the body, a bench dip can still have enormous benefits when it comes to your next triceps workout. A recent EMG study (6) found that there is substantial triceps activation during a bench dip, meaning that even smaller movements can deliver results. Grab a standard workout bench and perform the following steps:

6. Bench Dip

Odds are you’re already doing something like this, making it a fairly simple and approachable tricep exercise you can either do standing or seated on a bench. Specifically, the one-arm overhead extension allows you to target the long head of the triceps effectively, which is a major benefit. The muscle component is traditionally difficult to prioritise and isolate, so adding this movement to your existing list of triceps exercises is a must if you plan on bolstering your outer arm size and strength. Here’s how to execute:

7. One-Arm Overhead Extension

An oldie but goodie, the classic push-up helps you build strength in your core, chest, and triceps. To crank up that intensity dial, consider bringing in a weight vest or slowing the tempo of this exercise right down. Pardon us while we tell you how to perform an exercise you know all too well:

8. Standard Push-Up

In case the title’s not a dead giveaway, you’ll need a cable machine for this tricep exercise, which forms a superset. Let’s get into it:

9. Standing Overhead Cable Triceps Extension + Straight Arm Cable Pull-Down

Here’s another tricep exercise you might already be performing. This is how to get it done:

10. 45-Degree Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

Putting together an extensive triceps workout can help you to gain functional movement, alongside building muscle and increasing strength. Before you dive into the best tricep workouts and exercises for men, however, it’s important that you get the basics right. Allow us to dispense with a few pointers:

Tricep Workout Pointers

Whether you are training for a marathon, trying to build your deadlift strength or getting stuck into a triceps workout, warming up is pivotal to your overall health. Not only does the activity prevent injury, it can also aid in strength and allow you to hit greater numbers when performing physically taxing movements. A recent study found that warming-up was shown to improve performance in 79% of the criterions examined (8), with the degree of improvement varying widely, from less than 1% to nearly 20% improvement. Start your workout with some light callisthenics and small movements that get the blood flowing through your arms.

Warm Up

When you’re performing any workout, creating a measurable and timed list of exercises is critical to the effectiveness of the activity. it’s important that you don’t overtrain your triceps, as too much strain will lead to injuries and negatively impact your overall health. Make sure you target all three heads of the triceps muscles, incorporating a variety of exercises in to ensure there is balance in your workout regime. If you are starting out, simply aim to do around three sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise. From there, you can work on building your strength u by increasing the weight or working on your durability by increasing the number of reps or sets.

Don’t Overtrain

As triceps exercises tend to target the muscle group quite specifically, it’s often difficult to base an entire workout around the body part. What you’ll end up doing is overtraining your triceps by trying to do too much, so rather than blast your arms and run the risk of injury, try to incorporate a mixed muscle group approach. Whenever you are training triceps, couple the movements with shoulders and chest exercises, as the two areas of the body will compliment each other nicely.

Focus on Multiple Muscle Groups

  • Don’t forget to warm-up those muscles before you start in on the harder exercises.
  • If you’re a beginner, stick with machines before moving onto free weights.
  • If you’re trying to build mass, start with multi-joint exercises and don’t be afraid to go to failure. Also, be sure to include both arm-overhead and lateral exercises in your tricep workout.
  • If muscle definition is your goal, start with multi-joint exercises and then work your way toward targeted supersets. Move quickly and don’t be afraid to go to failure.
  • The lateral head—which is located on the top of your tricep—is the largest of the three heads in your upper arm. If you’re focusing on this area, incorporate exercises during which your arms stay by your sides, such as an overhead grip.
  • If any of these tricep exercises cause persistent pain, particularly sharp pain in your shoulder or elbow joints, stop and seek guidance from a physiotherapist or other health professional.
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