The Most Effective Way to Train Triceps

Holiday Weight Loss

The Most Effective Way to Train Triceps


I have a lot of clients ask me about the proper way to train their triceps. By a lot of clients, I mean ‘most women’, and by train their triceps, I mean ‘stop their upper arms from waving long after they’ve finished.’

This is a very common problem, and something that most everyone has dealt with in the past, is working on right now, or has coming to them in the near future.

Even if you don’t think this is for you, stay tuned in for just a little bit longer, because I guarantee you’re going to hit that point as well where  gravity jumps in with a vengeance, and before you know it, your arms look like a meat flag hanging from a soggy tree branch.

Soooo listen up.

A little background:

The triceps brachii is a muscle with three heads (hence tri) that sits on the back of your arm. In Latin, this means “three headed arm muscle”. Think I’m lying? I might be.

The long head is located on the very back of your arm, and unless you’ve spent much time doing dips or bench press in the last year, this is the one that you probably can’t see. The short head is on the side of the arm, and would qualify as being one of the primary mirror muscles.

For those of you keeping track, there are three, but the third one is tucked away underneath the other two and is not very visible.

The triceps is primarily responsible for elbow extension. That means straightening your arm, throwing a football, punching people from your local “occupy” movement, or launching children overhead.  All good things that we should be better at.

But you’re not here because you want to be able to launch a football farther. I know that because football players can’t read. This is especially true in Arizona, where the literacy rate falls somewhere between cattle and a pile of straw wearing goofy glasses

You’re here because you want to tone. To lose some of the fat on the upper arm, and develop a nice lean triceps muscle that makes you look like a gymnast, and makes people think that you could indeed hold a handstand if there was money on the line.

Here’s how to do that:

1) Eat better to lose some body fat. This topic has been covered in-depth here and here.

2) Exercise the muscle using compound movements. Compound movements are movements that use more than one muscle. That means you can drop the triceps kickbacks with your pink dumbbell, those are right out.

Let’s elaborate:

Since we’re primarily trying to train the long head of the triceps, we’ll be doing more overhead work, and more work with your palms facing away from your body. This will isolate the long head and make it more prominent, which has the added benefit of protecting your elbows as well! Hooray!

Here are some of the moves that you will focus on.
Pushup – its simplicity, and ability to be done anywhere is unparalleled, and can be done so many different ways that it’s dumb not to do them. Really dumb.

Bench Triceps Extensions: kneel (or stand) with your hands on a bench or bar. Fall forward by bending at the elbows and keep your body in the same position.

Bench Dips – another bodyweight exercise that is great for shoulders, core and chest in addition to your triceps. Make sure that when you do these you try to keep your chest up and head facing straight in front of you and not down.

Bench press/chest press – HA! you didn’t think I was gonna go there did you? Well too bad, I love bench press, There are a bunch of different ways to hit this exercise as well, either with dumbbells or barbells, and it’s just fun.

Honorable mention:

Barbell Skull crushers

Overhead Rope Triceps Press


Here’s the program. 3 times per week, or every other day, do workout A or B. and rotate them

Workout A:
5x regular
5x diamond (put your thumb and forefinger together on the ground to form a diamond.)
5x yoga (hands by your sides, elbows stay tight to your sides the whole time
Repeat this 3 times. As it gets easier, graduate from doing this on your knees, to doing it on your toes, increase the number of pushups from 5 to 7 to 10.

Bench Triceps Extension- 3 sets of 10. Make sure that your posture is good, and your elbows stay in the same place the whole time.

Rope triceps pressdowns – 1 set of 25, holding at the bottom every rep. This should burn.

Workout B:
Dips – 3 sets of 12 (use the assisted machine if necessary, don’t do these with your elbows behind you on a bench like you see some people. Bad for your shoulders, not worth it.)

Narrow Bench Press  3 sets of 8 – use dumbbells or a barbell, but either way make sure your hands are very close together the whole time. The reason that you want to go to 8 is that you can make the weight heavier. You should be able to get 9 reps, with the weight, but not much more. This is not a workout you can go do and zone out to Adele while you flaunt your tiny dumbbells. This is “get serious” time, and needs to be treated as such.

Skull Crusher – 3 sets of 10 with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

This might be a lot of new exercises and a lot of extension for your body that you’re not used to, so take it easy and build up to this if this is all new for you. Make sure you include some biceps in your program so that your elbow stays balanced here.

If you have any other questions, drop me a line at And if you like what you read, tell me, by clicking ‘like’ on my facebook page! Every time someone likes my page, it means one more puppy gets adopted!


  1. Excellent and just what I needed! Thank you so much. And thanks for adopting more and more puppies. You make the world a leaner place.


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