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The Best Dumbbell-Only Triceps Workout

Grab a pair of weights and get to work bulking up your arms with this no-nonsense routine for maximum mass.

As the triceps' name implies, the muscle is made up of three heads: The "long head" runs along the back of your arm and forms the part of the "horseshoe" closest to your body; the "lateral head" is the outermost part of the muscle, forming the other half of the "horseshoe"; the "medial head" runs underneath the other two and is mostly visible closer to the elbow.

Yes, triceps can be tough to train. But contrary to what all the dudes over at the curls station will tell you, the triceps—not the biceps—is primarily responsible for adding serious size to your arms. Fortunately, we've developed a program designed to maximize your arm growth by hammering the triceps.

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HOW IT WORKS

Our program targets the lateral and medial heads with exercises you’re probably unfamiliar with. This is all the better to encourage growth. Some, like the Tate press, can also improve your lockout on bench presses, while the underhand kickback provides some extra grip and forearm training.

DIRECTIONS

Perform the exercise pairs (marked “A” and “B”) as supersets. So you’ll do a set of A and then a set of B before resting. Repeat for all the prescribed sets. Exercise 3 is done with conventional straight sets.

1A. NEUTRAL-GRIP PRESS
Sets: 4 Reps: 8-12 Rest: 0 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on a bench (if available) or a low box or other surface that raises your body slightly above the floor. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder level with palms facing each other. Press them over your chest.

1B. LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION
Sets: 4 Reps: 8–12 Rest: 120 sec.
From the end position of your last rep of the neutral-grip press, allow your arms to drift back until the weights are over your face. Keeping your upper arms at that angle, bend your elbows and lower the weights behind your head. Extend your elbows, keeping the same angle with your upper arms.

2A. TATE PRESS
Sets: 4 Reps: 8–12 Rest: 0 sec.
Lie back on a bench or surface with dumbbells in each hand, arms extended over your chest and palms facing your feet. Point your elbows outward and bend them to lower the weights almost to your chest, so they make L shapes. Extend your elbows.

2B. UNDERHAND KICKBACK [shown below]
Sets: 4 Reps: 8–12 Rest: 120 sec.
Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand and bend your hips back, lowering your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Turn your palms to face in front of you and, keeping your upper arms against your sides, extend your elbows until your arms are parallel to your torso.

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3. ONE ARM OVERHEAD EXTENSION
Sets: 4 Reps: 8–12 (each side) Rest: 120 sec.
Hold one dumbbell and raise your arm behind your head with your elbow bent. Extend your elbow to point your arm straight overhead.

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