Experts reckon these tricep exercises are the only 6 *actually* worth your time (Marie Claire)

Posted: Jan 27, 2023 in In the News

Experts reckon these tricep exercises are the only 6 *actually* worth your time

By Chloe Gray

[This article originally appeared in Marie Claire on January 27, 2023.]

Are you looking for the best tricep exercises for stronger arms? Of course you are - arm exercises that target your biceps and triceps are some of the most well-known and accessible forms of weight training. After all, most of us have heard of bicep curls and tricep dips, haven't we?

While you'll likely know how to do bodyweight exercisesab exercises, and resistance band exercises, - even dumbbell exercises and kettlebell exercises might be on your radar - but things like shoulder exercises and bicep exercises might feel more alien.

The good news is that tricep exercises are super easy to do, and also a really great way to support and balance out the rest of your upper body training.

According to a 2022 paper from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, our triceps are used to contract and extend our elbows and stabilise our shoulder blades. They are used in any form of pushing movement, whether that's press ups, pushing doors open, or pulling a suitcase, so performing tricep exercises that strengthen the back of the arms is really important for day-to-day comfort, improved posture and overall strength in the gym. 

As well as doing compound pushing exercises like those press ups we mentioned or chest press exercises that target multiple pushing muscles in your body, you can isolate your triceps for arm strength. Tricep exercises can be performed with bodyweight or weights, like dumbbells and barbells. 

While you're here, don't miss our guides to the best back exercises, and if you're new to the gym, check out our explainers on how much weight should you start liftingstrength training for beginners and how best to avoid gym anxiety 

Let's just break this down quickly, because people often refer to our "arms" as one whole muscle when that's not correct. We have our biceps, at the front of our upper arms, and the triceps at the back of our upper arms. 

The triceps actually make up about two-thirds of the muscle in that area, so their strength is super important. 

So, what are the best tricep exercises? Well, as with all muscle groups, there's no one best exercise. Instead, the best tricep exercise for you is one that you can execute with brilliant form and feel the triceps working. 

It is best to work with a medium to high rep range when it comes to smaller muscles, so aim for around eight to 20 reps of each of the following exercises. You could pair these tricep exercises together in a superset or add them to your upper body day along with shoulder exercises and bicep exercises. 


The cable machine is a favourite for targeting the triceps because it provides constant tension while you lift and lower the weights. "I think this is the best exercise for strengthening the back of your arms and helping increase your strength in other exercises that incorporate your upper body, like chest moves," Molly says. 

How to: Set up the cable machine with the rope or straight bar attachment. Place it so the attachment is around chin height and set it to your preferred weight. 

Grab the attachment (place your hands over the top of the straight bar or, if using a rope, have your knuckles facing inwards) and take a slight step back. Brace your core and hinge at your hips so you are slightly leaning forward. 

Push down to straighten the arms so that the bar or rope comes towards your hips, then slowly bend the elbows to raise the attachment back up. Don't swing your arms - your elbows should be the only thing moving. 

No cable machine? Jess recommends performing this with a resistance band. "Hook a light band around a pull up bar or high surface. Hold onto the band with both hands and keep your elbows glued into your side while pressing the band down to your hips. Do not let the elbows move from your side during this exercise," she says.

How long? Aim for 12 reps.


"We’re so spoilt for choice when it comes to tricep exercises, but the tricep kickback is key when it comes to isolating the muscle," says Eleanor. In a small study from the American Council on Exercise, kickbacks were actually found to be the second best tricep isolating exercise there is, beaten only by triangle push ups (we'll get to those later). 

"To fire up your arms even more, I like to add a hold as your arm extends," explains Eleanor. 


Read the full article here.

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