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10 All-time Best Compound Tricep Exercises for Superior Strength

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10 All-time Best Compound Tricep Exercises for Superior Strength

When it comes to building upper body strength, tricep exercises are often overshadowed by the more popular bicep workouts. However, your triceps — the large muscles at the back of your upper arms — play a crucial role in overall arm strength and aesthetics. They are involved in many everyday movements, from pushing open a door to throwing a ball.

Now, let’s talk about compound exercises. Unlike isolation exercises that target one muscle group at a time, compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This makes them incredibly efficient, allowing you to get more done in less time. They also mimic real-world movements, improving your functional fitness.

So, are you ready to take your arm workouts to the next level? In this guide, we will explore the best compound tricep exercises that can help you achieve your fitness goals. Let’s dive in!

What are compound exercises?

Compound exercises are workouts that engage multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously, providing a comprehensive and efficient workout. Examples include squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups. These exercises are beneficial because they mimic real-life movements, improve coordination, and increase calorie burn.

The triceps, located at the back of your upper arm, play a crucial role in extending the elbow and stabilizing the shoulder. They consist of three parts: the long, medial, and lateral heads.

Compound exercises for triceps involve pushing or overhead pressing movements, engaging not only the triceps but also other muscles. This combination leads to stronger, more toned arms and enhanced overall upper body strength.

Also Read: Maximize Your Arms Strength with Reverse Grip Triceps Extension

Anatomy Of The Triceps & Muscle Targeted

The triceps brachii, commonly known as the triceps, is a large muscle on the back of the upper arm and includes three distinct parts:

  1. Long Head: The largest part, running down the back of the arm and responsible for the bulk of the triceps’ force during elbow extension.
  2. Medial Head: Located deep within the arm, it provides additional power and stability during elbow extension.
  3. Lateral Head: Situated on the outer side of the arm, it contributes to the triceps’ iconic horseshoe shape.
Best Compound Tricep Exercises

All three heads work together in extending the elbow and stabilizing the shoulder joint.

Tricep Muscles Targeted by Compound Exercises

Many compound exercises engage the triceps along with other muscle groups. Here are some muscles that often work in tandem with the triceps in compound movements:

  1. Pectoralis Major (Chest): Works with the triceps in pushing movements.
  2. Deltoids (Shoulders): Engage alongside the triceps in overhead pressing movements.
  3. Latissimus Dorsi (Back): Works with the triceps in pulling and pushing movements.
  4. Rhomboids (Upper Back): Engaged in movements where the triceps stabilize the arm.
  5. Core Muscles (Abdominals and Lower Back): Often engaged for stability during tricep-focused compound exercises.
Best Compound Tricep Exercises

Remember, the engagement of these muscles with the triceps depends on the specific exercise, form, and technique. Always ensure proper form to maximize muscle engagement and minimize injury risk.

Top 10 Best Compound Tricep Exercises

Here is the list of the 10 best tricep compound exercises

  • Close-Grip Bench Press
  • Dips
  • Skull Crushers
  • Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Diamond Push-Ups
  • Tricep Kickbacks
  • Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown
  • Lying Tricep Extension
  • Tricep Dumbbell Press
  • One-Arm Overhead Extension

1. Close-Grip Bench Press

The Close-Grip Bench Press is a variation of the traditional bench press that primarily targets the triceps and chest. To perform this exercise, lie back on a flat bench and grasp the barbell with a close grip (around shoulder width). Lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. Inhale and slowly bring the bar down toward your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body for the entire exercise. Exhale and push the bar back up to the starting position.

Benefits of Close-Grip Bench Press

  1. The Close-Grip Bench Press is an effective exercise for strengthening and building the triceps and chest.
  2. It also engages the shoulders and core, making it a great compound movement.
  3. This exercise can help improve upper body strength and power, which can benefit performance in other exercises and sports.
  4. It offers a variation to the traditional bench press, allowing for a different stimulus to the muscles and helping to avoid plateaus.

A. Set-Up and Equipment Needed

To perform the close grip bench press, you’ll need the following setup & equipment:

Equipment Needed:

  • A flat bench
  • A barbell
  • Weight plates as required

Set-Up:

  • Load the barbell with the appropriate weight.
  • Position the barbell above the bench.
  • Choose a grip width that is closer than your shoulder width.

B. Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to execute the exercise correctly:

  1. Initial Position
  • Lie flat on your back on the bench.
  • The feet should be flat on the ground.
  • Grip the barbell with your hands closer than shoulder-width apart. Palms should be facing away from you.

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Lift the barbell off the rack and hold it straight over your chest with your arms fully extended. This is your starting position.
  • Inhale as you slowly lower the bar down to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body to engage the triceps.
  • Exhale as you push the bar back up to the starting position, using your triceps to drive the movement.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale while lowering the barbell.
  • Exhale while pushing it back up to the starting position.

2. Dips

Dips are a compound, bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the chest, triceps, and deltoids. They can be performed using parallel bars or even two sturdy chairs. To perform dips, hold onto the bars with your arms straight and shoulders over your hands, lower your body until your arms are bent to about 90 degrees, then push back up to the starting position.

Benefits of Dips

  1. Dips are a compound exercise that simultaneously works multiple muscle groups, including the triceps, chest, and shoulders.
  2. They help in building upper body strength and mass, contributing to improved physical performance and aesthetics.
  3. Dips allow for a greater range of motion compared to other exercises, enhancing flexibility and joint health.
  4. The exercise can be easily modified to increase intensity or focus on specific muscle groups, making it versatile and adaptable to various fitness levels and goals.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • Parallel bars or dip bars.

B. Step-by-step Guide

  1. Initial Position
  • Stand between the parallel bars. Reach up and grab the bars with each hand.
  • Jump or step up to get into the starting position. At the top of the movement, your arms should be straight, and your body should be above the bars.

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground or slightly below.
  • Keep your chest up and your body upright. Your elbows should be close to your body throughout the movement.
  • Push your body back up to the starting position by extending your arms and using your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower your body.
  • Exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting position.

3. Skull Crushers

Skull Crushers, also known as lying tricep extensions, are an effective exercise where you lie on your back with a weight held above you. You then lower the weight towards your forehead by bending at the elbows, hence the name “skull crushers.”

Benefits of Skull Crushers

  1. Skull Crushers primarily target the triceps, helping to build muscle mass and strength in this area.
  2. They can improve elbow joint flexibility and stability.
  3. The exercise can enhance overall upper body strength.
  4. Skull Crushers also engage the core, promoting better balance and posture.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • A flat gym bench and a set of dumbbells.

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Lie face up on a flat gym bench. Your entire body should be on the bench, except your lower legs.
  • Your knees are bent, and your feet are flat on the floor.
  • Hold the dumbbells above your chest with your palms facing each other

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Slowly lower the dumbbells towards the back of your head by bending your elbows, trying to keep your upper arms straight and at a right angle to your body.
  • Extend your arms and return to the starting position

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower the dumbbells.
  • Exhale as you extend your arms and return to the starting position

4. Overhead Tricep Extension

Overhead Tricep Extension is a strength training exercise where you stand with a weight held overhead. Then, keeping your core and shoulders stable, you slowly lower the weight behind your back before returning to the initial position. This can be done using various equipment like dumbbells, bands, or cables.

Benefits of Overhead Tricep Extension

  1. Overhead Tricep Extension targets the long head of the triceps, aiding in muscle growth and density.
  2. It helps to improve upper body strength, particularly in the arms.
  3. The exercise promotes better shoulder mobility and flexibility.
  4. It also engages the core, improving stability and posture.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp the weight (dumbbell, barbell, or ends of the resistance band) with both hands and lift it overhead.
  • Your palms should be facing each other if you’re using a dumbbell or a barbell

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Keep your core and shoulders stable.
  • Slowly lower the weight behind your back by bending at the elbows.
  • Return to the starting position by extending your arms and repeat

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower the weight.
  • Exhale as you extend your arms and return to the starting position

5. Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond Push-Ups are a variation of the traditional push-up where you place your hands in a diamond shape directly under your chest. You lower yourself to the ground and then push back up, maintaining a straight line from your head to your heels.

Benefits of Diamond Push-ups

  1. Diamond Push-Ups primarily target the triceps, leading to increased muscle mass and strength in this area.
  2. They also engage the chest muscles, aiding in upper body strength and conditioning.
  3. The exercise challenges the core, promoting better balance, stability, and posture.
  4. With the narrow hand placement, Diamond Push-Ups put more load on the arms, enhancing arm strength and endurance.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • No special equipment is needed for this exercise – just a flat and comfortable surface.

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Begin in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core engaged.
  • Move your hands together so your thumbs and index fingers form a triangle or “diamond” shape under your chest

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the ground.
  • Try to keep your back flat and your hips in line with your shoulders as you lower.
  • Push your body up returning to the starting position

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower your body.
  • Exhale as you push your body up to the starting position

6. Tricep Kickbacks

Tricep Kickbacks are an effective strength-building exercise that targets the triceps muscles. To perform this exercise, stand with your knees slightly bent and lean forward a bit, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back straight and core tight, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, then extend both arms backward to straighten them, squeezing your triceps.

Benefits of Tricep Kickbacks

  1. Tricep Kickbacks primarily target the triceps brachii muscle, leading to improved muscle tone and strength in the arms.
  2. The exercise promotes better posture by engaging the core and maintaining a straight back during the movement.
  3. It can be easily modified to suit different fitness levels by adjusting the weight used.
  4. Tricep Kickbacks can contribute to better arm definition and overall upper-body strength.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • A set of dumbbells.

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Stand with your knees bent and lean forward slightly, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Assume a split stance with your right leg forward

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Keeping your back straight, bend your elbow so that the upper arm is parallel to the floor, and the dumbbell is hanging down.
  • Your palm should be facing inward.
  • Extend your arm backward until it is straight and parallel to the ground.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Exhale as you extend your arm.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position

7. Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown

Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown involves the use of a cable machine with a rope attachment. Stand in front of the machine, grab the rope handles with both hands and push down until your arms are fully extended while keeping your elbows close to your body. The key is to allow only your forearms to move, maintaining stability in the rest of your body.

Benefits of Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown

  1. Cable Rope Tricep Pushdown primarily targets the triceps, promoting muscle growth and strength in this area.
  2. It allows for a full range of motion, which can lead to better muscle development.
  3. The exercise also engages the core and improves balance and stability.
  4. By adjusting the weight on the cable machine, it caters to different fitness levels and progression

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • A cable machine with a rope attachment.

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Fasten a rope handle in the upper position of a cable pulley.
  • Stand with one foot forward for balance and grip the rope handles.

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Pull the rope down until your upper arms are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Push the rope down, fully extending your arms and focusing on the triceps contraction.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Exhale as you push the rope down.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position

8. Lying Tricep Extension

The Lying Tricep Extension, often referred to as “skull crushers,” is an exercise that targets the triceps muscles. To perform this exercise, lie on a bench with a barbell or dumbbell held above your head. Keeping your elbows fixed in place, slowly lower the weights until they’re about an inch from your forehead, then extend your arms back to the starting position.

Benefits of Lying Tricep Extension

  1. Lying Tricep Extensions strengthen and sculpt the triceps, contributing to upper body definition.
  2. The exercise aids in stabilizing the shoulder joint, which can have benefits for other upper-body movements.
  3. It’s adaptable to various training routines and can be performed with different types of equipment like barbells, dumbbells, or resistance bands.
  4. By working the tricep muscles, this exercise can enhance overall arm strength and functionality.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • A flat bench and a pair of dumbbells or a barbell.

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Lie back on a flat bench holding a barbell or pair of dumbbells directly above your chest with palms facing each other.
  • Your arms should be fully extended at a 90-degree angle from your torso and the floor.

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • While keeping your upper arms stationary, slowly lower the weights until they are about an inch from your forehead by bending at the elbows.
  • Pause for a moment then extend your arms back to the starting position.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower the weights.
  • Exhale as you extend your arms to the starting position.

9. Tricep Dumbbell Press

The Tricep Dumbbell Press, also known as the Close-Grip Dumbbell Bench Press, is an effective exercise that targets the triceps. You perform this exercise by lying back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. With your palms facing each other and elbows close to your body, you press the weights up until your arms are fully extended, then slowly lower them back down.

Benefits Of Triceps Dumbbell Press

  1. The Tricep Dumbbell Press primarily targets the triceps, but it also engages the chest and shoulders, making it a great compound exercise.
  2. This exercise can help improve upper body strength and muscular endurance.
  3. It can be performed with various weights, making it suitable for all fitness levels.
  4. The Tricep Dumbbell Press can contribute to better performance in other exercises like the bench press.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • A flat bench and a pair of dumbbells.

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Lie back on a flat bench holding a pair of dumbbells directly above your chest with palms facing each other.
  • Your arms should be fully extended at a 90-degree angle from your torso and the floor.

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • While keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest by bending at the elbows.
  • Pause for a moment then push the dumbbells back to the starting position.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower the dumbbells.
  • Exhale as you push the dumbbells back to the starting position.

10. One-Arm Overhead Extension

The One-Arm Overhead Extension is an effective exercise that targets the triceps. To perform this exercise, stand or sit upright with a dumbbell in one hand. Extend your arm straight up towards the ceiling, keeping the elbow close to your head. Bend your elbow to lower the weight behind your head, then extend your arm back to the starting position.

Benefits of One-Arm Overhead Extension

  1. The One-Arm Overhead Extension primarily targets the triceps, helping to build strength and definition in the upper arm.
  2. This exercise can improve shoulder stability and flexibility.
  3. By working one arm at a time, it can help to address any muscle imbalances.
  4. It’s a versatile exercise that can be performed standing or seated, and with various types of equipment.

A. Set Up & Equipment Needed:

  • A dumbbell and a flat bench (optional).

B. Step-by-step Guide:

  1. Initial Position
  • Stand up straight or sit on a bench, holding a dumbbell in one hand.
  • Extend your arm upwards, so it’s straight above your head. This is your starting position.

2. Execution of the Exercise:

  • Keeping your upper arm and elbow stationary, bend your elbow to lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  • Pause for a moment at the bottom of the movement, then extend your arm back to the starting position.

3. Breathing Tips

  • Inhale as you lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  • Exhale as you extend your arm back to the starting position.

How to Incorporate Compound Tricep Exercises into Your Workout Routine

Incorporating compound tricep exercises into your workout routine can significantly enhance your upper body strength and overall muscle definition. Here are some strategies that can help you successfully integrate these exercises into your regimen.

A. Scheduling Your Tricep Workouts

  1. Train triceps twice a week for consistency and sufficient recovery time.
  2. Pair tricep workouts with other upper body exercises on ‘push’ days for efficiency.

B. Balancing Compound Tricep Exercises with Other Workouts

  1. Mix compound and isolation exercises for a comprehensive workout.
  2. Schedule days for lower body and core workouts to balance muscle development.

C. Ensuring Proper Rest and Recovery

  1. Wait at least 48 hours before training the same muscle group again to avoid overtraining.
  2. Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated to aid muscle recovery.
  3. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal muscle growth and recovery.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Performing compound tricep exercises can be an effective way to build upper body strength. However, it’s crucial to perform them correctly to avoid injuries and ensure maximum results. Here are some common mistakes and tips on how to evade them:

  1. Using Too Much Weight: Overloading can compromise your form and lead to injury. Always choose a weight that allows you to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.
  2. Ignoring Direct Arm Work: A misconception is that compound movements alone sufficiently train your triceps. Incorporate specific tricep exercises into your routine.
  3. Not Keeping Elbows in Place: Your arms should stay against your sides during exercises like tricep kickbacks. Avoid elbow flaring to prevent strain and maximize effectiveness.
  4. Failing to Maximize Tension on Triceps: Ensure you’re fully engaging your triceps during each movement. This helps promote muscle growth and strength.
  5. Overdoing Certain Exercises: If you’re doing too many of the same exercises, like skull crushers or overhead dumbbell extensions, you may neglect certain parts of the muscle. Diversify your routine for balanced development.
  6. Confusing Different Types of Dips: Tricep dips and chest dips are not the same. Make sure you’re performing the correct exercise to target the intended muscles.
  7. Flaring Elbows During Extensions: This is a common mistake with tricep extension variations. Keep your elbows close to your body to maximize effectiveness and reduce injury risk.

Difference b/w Compound and isolation Exercises for Triceps

Whether compound or isolation exercises are “better” depends on your individual fitness goals. If you aim to build overall strength and burn more calories, compound exercises might be more beneficial. However, if your goal is to specifically target and develop your triceps, isolation exercises could be more effective.

Based on the search results, here is a comparison between compound and isolation exercises for triceps in a table form:

AspectCompound ExercisesIsolation Exercises
DefinitionIsolation exercises target a single muscle group and involve only one joint. An example of triceps would be tricep extensions.Isolation exercises target a single muscle group and involve only one joint. An example for triceps would be tricep extensions.
Muscle Groups WorkedMultiple muscle groups are worked, including the triceps.Only the triceps are specifically targeted.
BenefitsThey can increase muscle mass, improve athletic potential, and enhance movement coordination.They allow you to focus on a specific muscle (such as the triceps), which can be beneficial for addressing weak links or imbalances.
Usage in RoutineUsually used as the main part of a workout due to their ability to work multiple muscles and joints.Usually used towards the end of a workout to target specific muscles after compound exercises.
EffectivenessGenerally more effective for building overall strength and burning more calories due to the involvement of more muscle groups.Can be more effective for specifically targeting and isolating the triceps muscle.

Safety Tips and Precautions for Compound Tricep Exercises

Here are some safety tips and precautions for compound tricep exercises

  1. Warm-ups and Cool-downs: Start with a light warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for the exercise. After your workout, cool down with light stretching to help reduce muscle soreness.
  2. Proper Form and Technique: Always maintain proper form during exercises. Incorrect technique can lead to injuries. If unsure, seek guidance from a fitness professional.
  3. Knowing Your Limits: Don’t push yourself too hard. Over-exertion can lead to injuries. It’s better to gradually increase intensity as you get stronger.
  4. Rest and Recovery: Give your muscles enough time to recover between workouts. Overtraining can lead to injuries and hinder progress.
  5. Balanced Training: Don’t just focus on one muscle group. Incorporate exercises for all major muscle groups in your routine to avoid imbalances.
  6. Hydration and Nutrition: Drink plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet to fuel your workouts and aid recovery.

Remember, safety should always be your priority when performing any exercise. It’s always better to do an exercise correctly at a lower weight than to risk injury by lifting too heavy without proper form.

Frequent Question Answers

By addressing the following frequently asked questions, we hope to provide clarity and guidance on incorporating the best compound exercises for triceps in your fitness routine. Remember to listen to your body, start at an appropriate level, and gradually progress for optimal results.

QuestionAnswer
What are compound triceps exercises?Compound tricep exercises are multi-joint movements that work the triceps along with other muscle groups. Examples include push-ups, dips, and close-grip bench presses.
Why are compound triceps exercises important?They help build overall upper body strength, improve functional fitness, and burn more calories compared to isolation exercises.
What’s the correct form for compound tricep exercises?The correct form varies by exercise but generally involves keeping your elbows close to your body and fully extending your arms in the movement.
How often should I do compound tricep exercises?This depends on your fitness level and goals. Generally, 2-3 times a week is sufficient for most people.
Do compound tricep exercises build mass?Yes, they can help build mass as they engage multiple muscle groups at once, allowing for a higher volume of work and calorie burn.
Can I do compound tricep exercises at home?Yes, many compound tricep exercises like push-ups or dips can be done at home with minimal equipment.
Should I do compound tricep exercises if I’m a beginner?Yes, but start with lighter weights or modifications and focus on mastering the proper form first.
Are compound tricep exercises safe?Yes, when performed with proper form and technique, they’re safe. But always warm up before starting and cool down after your workout.
How can I avoid injuries while doing compound tricep exercises?Maintain proper form, don’t lift too heavy too soon, warm up before starting, cool down after your workout, and give your muscles time to recover between sessions.

Conclusion

Compound tricep exercises are a crucial part of any fitness routine, offering numerous benefits such as building overall upper body strength, improving functional fitness, and burning more calories. They engage multiple muscle groups at once, providing a comprehensive workout. However, the key to reaping these benefits lies in maintaining proper form, understanding your limits, and ensuring adequate rest and recovery.

So, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a fitness novice, consider incorporating compound tricep exercises into your routine. With consistency and dedication, you’ll likely see improvements not only in your triceps but also in your overall fitness level.

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