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A shirtless man pulling down on a cable resistance machine in black and grey..

Combining your chest and tricep workout is a great way to make the most of your time in the gym. Many chest exercises already incorporate the triceps so there are plenty of motions and variations to choose from.

We’ve put together a well-rounded set of exercises for a solid 60-minute workout to train chest and triceps muscles. Build muscle in your upper arms with triceps exercises and improve your full range of motion in your shoulders by training your chest.

Tricep Push-ups

Tricep pushups are a simple close-handed variation of traditional push-ups that target the whole tricep as well as slightly different areas of the chest. 

If the full push-up position on your toes is too difficult, you can do the push-ups from your knees, or even begin doing push-ups on an incline against a counter or chair to build your strength before graduating to the standard form.

However you perform the pushup, be sure to keep your back straight, your chest up, and your gaze forward.

  1. Start off in a plank position with your feet together then bring your hands together so that you make a triangle with your thumbs and your index fingers. 
  2. Keep your elbows close to your body as you lower your chest towards the ground. 
  3. Push through your palms as you drive yourself back up to the start position.
  4. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets.


Tricep Bar Dips

You’ll need to find the right kind of equipment to do tricep bar dips. Most gyms have a metal piece of equipment with pull-up and chin-up holds as well as grips for a tricep dip. 

Gymnastic or physical therapy bars will also work. If you are working out at home or in a small gym that doesn’t even have bars for you to use, you can do traditional tricep dips from a squat box or a chair. 

  1. Grip the bars on either side of your body and lift your legs off the ground.
  2. Maintain control as you let your body dip bringing your elbows up and back.
  3. Keep yourself steady as you push yourself back up to the start position.
  4. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets.


Bench Press

The bench press is another classic upper body exercise that you likely are already familiar with. 

As you move up in weight, be sure to use a spotter to keep yourself safe and watch your form. Remember to drive through your feet as well as your back. 

  1. Set the bench down to a flat horizontal and lie on your back with the barbell in line with your collarbone. 
  2. Place your hands on the bar just outside of shoulder-width apart and lift it up from the rack.
  3. Bring the bar over your chest and slowly lower it down to your sternum.
  4. Drive your feet into the ground and your back into the bench as you push the bar up to the top of the motion.
  5. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
  6. Repeat for 3 sets.


Lying Tricep Extensions

These lying tricep extensions are a variation on the more common dumbbell skull crushers. Instead of bringing the weights next to your head, you will use an EZ bar or a light barbell and bring it all the way over the top of your head.

The most important thing to remember with these is not to allow the weight to fall too far once the bar has cleared your head, and as always with skull crushers, do your best not to whack yourself in the head with the weight.

  1. Using an EZ bar, lie back on the flat bench and bring the weight to your chest.
  2. Straighten your arms and raise the bar straight out in front of you.
  3. Without bending your arms, slowly lower the bar back and over your head.
  4. Pause at the bottom of the motion before reversing and bringing the weight back up over your chest.
  5. Repeat for 10-12 reps. 
  6. Repeat for 3 sets.


Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Incline dumbbell bench presses use essentially the same motion as standard dumbbell bench presses, but the slight variation in the positioning means you’ll target different aspects of your triceps and chest. 

  1. Set the bench to a 45-degree incline.
  2. Sit back with a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Engage your core as you lift the weights up to your chest.
  4. Push the weights straight up above you, bringing them together at the top of the motion.
  5. Pause here for a moment before slowly releasing the weights back down to your chest.
  6. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  7. Repeat for 3 sets.


Tricep Cable Pulldown

The tricep cable pulldown is best done with a double rope grip on a gym-quality cable machine, but you can also get a similar action by using a resistance band looped over the top of a chin-up bar.

As with any cable equipment, it’s important to maintain control as you release the weights in order to avoid smashing the plates together. 

  1. Set the cable machine with a double rope grip and hold each end in either hand at chest height.
  2. Keep your elbows tucked in at your sides as you engage your core and pull your hands down until your elbows are straight but not locked.
  3. Hold here for a moment before reversing the motion and slowly raising your arms back up to the start position.
  4. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets.


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