For some gym bros, every day is arm day. These guys spend a lot of time creating and adjusting (and then recreating and readjusting) new movements to get bigger and better pumps, and their exercise lists are longer than a dictionary.
However, with all this time spent on new perfect triceps exercises, most bodybuilders eventually realize that basic and boring exercises are still best. You know, those time-tested, tried-and-true moves still pound your arms today the same way we did when we first picked up a fitness magazine.
Men’s Health magazine’s fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., and celebrity trainer and MH advisory board member Don Saladino confirm this. When they break down their five top triceps exercises, you’ll find nothing trendy or overly flashy in their selection, just the typical meat and potatoes of traditional triceps training. The pair of top trainers also share their thoughts on how these moves work best and what to look out for when performing them in your workout.
5 must-do triceps exercises
triceps cable stretch
This move is probably one of the best isolation moves for the triceps, and you’ll feel a definite burn as you keep doing them. However, Saladino points out that this is an exercise that you must have a fair amount of external rotation of the shoulders and mobility of the chest to complete. He recommends paying attention to any type of waist arch, which can lead to subsequent problems. Keep reps high, in the range of 10 or more.
Triceps Cable Down
It’s lucky to find someone who doesn’t have arguably the most popular triceps exercise in their arsenal. There’s a reason this move is easy to do and relatively safe. A cool benefit of push-ups is that you can utilize different attachments — ropes, straight bars, V-bars — to hit different parts of the muscle. It’s also versatile, and you can do it with lighter weights (consider 15 or more), or do fewer reps and add a little more weight than usual. “You can put some weight on it, get a little momentum, get a really good squeeze with the weight, and I think that’s the key,” Samuel said.
This is another old-fashioned exercise that hits the triceps hard, but at the same time can be a problem for those who lack shoulder mobility. If your shoulders are fine, these are essential exercises to hit the triceps, whether you choose to use your body weight or add extra weight.
Grip Bench Press
Now, Saladino said, is the big deal, starting with this most cost-effective exercise. Not only do your triceps get a workout, but your shoulders and pecs as well. When you lower the weight, you want to maintain a slow and controlled rhythm because you are going to use the heavier weights to reduce the reps.
According to both, an isolated movement that pushes heavy objects is what makes the cranial crusher a top triceps exercise. Using an EZ bar takes the strain off your wrists, but these movements can also be done with a straight bar or dumbbells. If you’re adding heavier weights, staying in the range of four to six reps works best.