The Top Moves for Triceps Workouts at Home

Remember the “wax on, wax off” Mr. Miyagi had Daniel do in The Karate Kid to build his muscle memory? It just so happens the move gave Daniel’s triceps a workout, too.

Waxing your car, dribbling a basketball, throwing a ball — these moves that require you to push your body weight with your arms — put your triceps to work.

Without triceps, your upper body strength would suffer. So would your shoulder stability. 

When your triceps are weak, its surrounding muscles, such as the pectorals in your chest and trapezius in your back, overcompensate for the weakness. This leads to muscle imbalance and a greater risk of injury. And Mr. Miyagi wouldn’t like that.

The tricep exercises in this article aim to help get and keep you strong, fit and toned. And pack on some muscle, if that’s what you’re after. We’ve provided moves you can do with weights and with body weight. But first, some context.

A Quick Look at Tricep Muscles

If triceps had a government-issued ID, it would show their full name is triceps brachii. Triceps consist of three muscles: the medial head, lateral head, and long head.

The medial head is the muscle closest to your torso. The lateral head is closer to the outside of your arms, and the long head is on the backs of your arms. They all run the length between your elbows and shoulders.

Triceps’ job is to straighten (extend) your elbows, pull your arms backward (extend the shoulders), and pull your arms closer to your body.

Will Triceps Exercises Get Rid of My ‘Bat Wings’?

Ah, that wobbly, loose skin under the arms that is the bane of many women. 

“Bat wings” tend to be more common in women, older adults, and people who are overweight. We all lose muscle tone as we age, which is why strength training is super important as we blow out more birthday candles.

And guys, we know how important toned arms are to you, too.

“Talk to any teenage boy who is new to strength training and chances are the first thing he’ll ask you about is arm training,” Bret Contreras, who has a PhD in sports science, writes in Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy.

“Among men, developed biceps and triceps are likely the most coveted muscles in the body. This makes perfect sense. They’re the least covered major muscles of the body … usually the arms are right out in the open, in plain view for everyone to see.”

Toning your triceps can help reduce the look of bat wings and give you muscle definition. Yet, you may need to make widespread changes to your workout routine and diet to see a lasting difference, because you can’t spot-reduce fat.

Tips for Working Out Triceps at Home

Triceps are a small muscle group, so they can get tired quickly. This means you don’t have to blow them out with your heaviest weights or a ton of sets to get them shredded.

But you do need good form to do the exercise safely and correctly. It’s worth the time it takes to master good form.

If you’re using weights and are struggling to finish 10 reps with proper form, decrease the amount of weight. You want it to be challenging, yet manageable. Work with that weight for 4-6 weeks, then increase it by a pound or two.

If you don’t have gym equipment, grab canned food or water bottles to use as dumbbells. If you don’t have a weight plate, that heavy textbook just might do the job. Whatever you choose, just make sure you can hold the item(s) securely.

Triceps Exercises To Do at Home

Remember to start your workout with a warm-up and finish with a cool down

Do the following exercises 2-3 times a week to build strength and add muscle definition to your arms. 

Don’t rush through the exercises, and stop if you experience pain, OK?

Bench Tricep Dips

If you don’t have an exercise bench, you can use a sturdy table or chair.

Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

  1. Sit on an exercise bench, with your arms at your sides. 
  2. Grip the edge of the bench.
  3. Scootch forward so your butt is off the bench — you’re still gripping the bench. Brace your core.
  4. Keeping your back close to the bench, and with your thighs parallel to the floor, inhale and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
  5. Exhale and raise yourself back up, straightening your arms, while squeezing the backs of your arms. Make sure your arms are doing the work to lift you up. Avoid pushing yourself up from your feet.

Challenge yourself: Extend your legs in front of you so you have only a slight bend in the knee. Or, do the exercise with your feet up on another bench or sturdy surface.
To tone up: Do 12-15 reps.

Triceps Kickback

While this exercise has you working both your arms at once, you can also exercise each arm independently, at the same number of reps and sets. If one of your arms is stronger than the other, this will help ensure other muscles aren't picking up the slack from your weaker one.

Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

  1. Stand up, with your abs braced and shoulders retracted.
  2. Hinge forward at the tips while maintaining a straight back.
  3. Bend your elbows so your upper arms are parallel with your torso.
  4. With hands open and palms facing back, exhale and push your arms back behind you, as if you’re shoving something away from you. Squeeze your upper arms as you push back. Hold for a second or two and return to the start position as you inhale.

Challenge yourself: Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you do the exercise.
To tone up: Do 12-15 reps.

Skull Crusher

Take care not to hit yourself on the head with this one.

Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

  1. Lie on your mat, facing up, with knees bent. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to help you remain stable.
  2. Clasp your hands together and extend your arms straight up above your chest.
  3. Inhale and lower your clasped hands back (toward your head) by bending your elbows, squeezing the backs of your arms as you go.
  4. Hold for a second or two before returning to the start position as you exhale.

Challenge yourself: Hold a dumbbell in each hand as you do the exercise.
To tone up: Do 12-15 reps.

Diamond Push-up

This exercise will strengthen your chest, too. Exercising your chest muscles at the same time as your triceps is efficient, since they’re both involved in “push” movements. 

Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

  1. Get down on your hands and knees on your mat. 
  2. Form a diamond shape with your hands, by touching tips of your thumbs and index fingers together. Align the “diamond” so the center of your chest is directly above it.
  3. Get into plank position, where your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Drop to your knees, but maintain a straight line from head to knees. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  4. Inhale and lower yourself toward the floor, elbows in at your sides. Feel the burn.
  5. Exhale as you raise yourself back up to the starting position.

Challenge yourself: Do the exercise with your legs fully extended straight, either together or shoulder-width apart. Or try it with your legs extended and one foot off the floor (then switch sides).
To tone up: Do 12-15 reps.

Tricep Press

Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Rest 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.

  1. Lie on your mat, facing up, with knees bent. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to help you keep stable.
  2. Keep elbows close to your rib cage, and bend your arms so they form a 90-degree angle. Your upper arms should be on the floor and your upper arms perpendicular to the floor, with elbows bent.
  3. With your hands forming fists, exhale and raise your arms up toward the ceiling, squeezing the backs of your arms as you go. Hold in the up position for a second or two.
  4. Return to the starting position as you inhale. 

Challenge yourself: Do the exercise with dumbbells in each hand, with a close grip, or by holding a weight plate or kettlebell.
To tone up: Do 12-15 reps.

Why You Should Do Triceps Exercises at Home

The beauty of being able to do triceps workouts in your own space is that you can work out where and whenever you want. 

You’ll also have privacy, so put on music that gets you pumped and those ratty gym shorts you refuse to throw out. If you're not self-conscious when you exercise, the odds are you’ll keep doing it!

At-home workouts are also the perfect break in your workday, providing you with an endorphin boost to power you through the rest of your day. 

And tricep workouts at home save you time. No need to pack a gym bag and spend time getting there and back.

Other Benefits of Having Strong Triceps

When your triceps are strong and toned as a result of targeted exercise, you may never wear long sleeves again, cause, let’s admit it, they look good. 

And you’ll feel the benefits in your day-to-day life, as daily activities will be easier to do, from playing catch with your dog to mopping the floor — anything that requires tricep extension, overhead triceps extension, or when you have to press a weight away from you.

You might also find that with regular strength training, you’ll sleep better. This is a bonus because good sleep is essential for muscle growth.

Then when you wake up and make yourself a coffee, consider grabbing Allo. Each serving of Allo has 10 grams of whey protein powder, crafted to easily dissolve in hot coffee. Give your triceps the protein they need to rebuild and repair as you enjoy flavors such as vanilla, caramel and hazelnut, and sunflower-based creamer versions, all sugar-free and gluten-free. Discover Allo’s natural version, too, here, at  liveallo.com.

References

To help you see just how the exercises should be performed:

Bench tricep dips:
https://bit.ly/34Cgqdu

Tricep kickbacks:
https://bit.ly/3gR2qyV

Skull crushers:
https://bit.ly/3GLfY9G

Diamond push-up:
https://bit.ly/3sHECmG

Tricep press:
https://bit.ly/3638zpq

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