The 7 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Strong Triceps
If you want a defined and toned upper body, you have to do more than just bicep exercises. To have sculpted arms, you’ll need to strengthen your tricep muscles as well.
The “three-headed” tricep muscle makes up approximately two-thirds of your upper arm and gives the back of your arm its pleasing horseshoe shape. As the counterpart to the biceps, its main function is to extend the arm at the elbow joint.
You don’t need equipment like dumbbells or resistance bands to work your tricep muscles. In fact, you can effectively sculpt the muscles on the back of your arms with bodyweight training.
Check out the best bodyweight tricep exercises below for strengthening and toning your arms at home.
How to incorporate these tricep exercises into your workout:
Choose two of these exercises. Do 8-12 repetitions and three rounds per exercise with 90-120 seconds of rest in between. Challenge yourself by doing more exercises and/or reps, slowing down the tempo (e.g., count three seconds up, three seconds down), and shortening your rest periods.
7 Bodyweight Exercises for Strong Triceps
1. Narrow Push-up
Start in a strong plank position with your back straight, engaging your core. Hands should be closer together than shoulder-width.
The key to making the narrow push-up a more effective tricep exercise is to keep your elbows as close to your body as possible as you lower your body to the floor and push back up to a plank position.
2. Pike Push-Ups
The pike push-up is effective because it loads more body weight onto your shoulders and triceps. Start in a tabletop position, placing your hands under your shoulders and your knees on the floor.
Lift your hips to the ceiling and straighten your knees, coming into a Downward-Facing Dog yoga position. Bend your elbows and lower your head to the ground, allowing your head to gently touch the floor. Straighten your arms to push back up to the Downward-Facing Dog position.
3. Declined Wall Push-Ups
This advanced move targets your triceps more intensely the higher you place your feet on the wall, and the more you keep your elbows close to your body.
Start in a plank position with your feet touching the wall behind you. Walk your feet up the wall until you reach a comfortable height, keeping your toes pressed on the wall.
As you bend your elbows to lower your head toward the floor, keep your gaze on the floor in front of your face. Allow your toes to roll to your tippy-toes as you lower your head, then roll back to the balls of your feet as you lift back up.
4. Up Down Forearm Push-Ups
This is a two-part exercise, starting with a standard push-up and ending with a forearm plank position.
Start in plank position — hands under your shoulders, back straight, hips tucked, and core tight. Bend your elbows to lower yourself to the floor, keep your elbows as close to your body as possible, and push back up to plank.
From the plank position, lower your forearms to the floor, keeping your back straight. With your elbows pulled in towards your body, push off of your hands to lift back up to full plank position.
5. Triceps Dip
Sit on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, with your toes pointed up towards the ceiling. Place your hands on the floor slightly behind your glutes, fingers pointed forward. Lift your hips off the floor and straighten your elbows to get in starting position.
Bend your elbows straight back and lower your hips towards the floor. Before your glutes reach the floor, straighten the elbows again to lift back to starting position. The key to targeting your triceps is to keep your elbows pointed back behind you and not allow them to flare outward.
Make this move more intense by lowering down to the floor slowly, pausing at the bottom of the movement for a second, and then lifting back up with more power.
You can also use a bench, chair, or table to increase the intensity by providing more range of motion. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees to lower your hips towards the floor before pushing yourself back up to the starting position.
6. Alligator Push-Ups
Begin in a plank position with your hands placed underneath your shoulders. As you lower your body to do a push-up, bring your right knee forward towards your right elbow.
As you push back up to plank, switch legs and lower yourself to the floor, bringing your left knee towards your left elbow. The key to making this a tricep exercise is to keep your elbows in towards your body, concentrating on contracting your arm muscles as you lower your body.
7. Stagger Push-Ups
This exercise is sure to test your strength, stability, and power. By staggering your hands, your rear arm and core have to work harder to maintain balance.
Start in a plank position, making sure to tighten your core and tuck your hips to stabilize your back. Instead of placing both hands under your shoulders, place one hand forward on the mat or floor — staggering the placement of your hands.
Do two push-ups, focusing on stabilizing your core to stay balanced and keeping your shoulders inward towards your body. Switch hand positions and repeat.
What are the best tricep exercises for beginners?
Bodyweight tricep exercises are perfect for beginners because they train the body in coordination and balance while strengthening and conditioning your arms. Since bodyweight exercises don’t require equipment, they’re accessible to everyone and allow you to practice good form.
These two variations of bodyweight tricep exercises are great for beginners:
Since many of the bodyweight tricep exercises above involve push-ups, you should start by building strength in the muscles required to perform a proper push-up. Wall Push Offs are a great exercise for practicing proper push-up form.
They’re performed at an incline using a wall for support, helping reduce the necessary upper body strength needed to do a full push-up.
Start by facing a wall, standing slightly further than arm’s length away. Press your hands on the wall, with your hands at about chin height. Lean your body towards the wall until your face almost touches it, and then push off with power until your hands release from the wall.
Focus on keeping your core tight, your hips tucked in, and your elbows pulled in towards your body.
Knee Up Down Push-Ups
This is a great exercise to practice good form for the Up Down Forearm Push-Ups listed above and will help strengthen your upper body muscles and practice the proper form required while still getting in a good tricep workout at home.
Begin by getting in a tabletop position on the floor, with your hands underneath your shoulders, knees hip-width apart. Lower your right elbow to the floor, followed by your left to come into the forearm plank position.
Lift your right elbow off the floor, then your left elbow, pushing your chest back up to the tabletop position. Focus on keeping your back straight by tucking in your hips and tightening your core.
Don’t Forget to Track Your Reps and Progress
In order to stay motivated with your home workouts, you need to keep a record of your progress. With the adidas Training app Workout Creator, not only can you track your reps, but you can create workout routines specific to your fitness level and lifestyle.
With a complete collection of bodyweight exercises, you can train with the pros through videos — like the ones above! — so that you continue to learn proper technique and form.
Download the adidas Training app and use the Workout Creator to custom-create your perfect workout, making it easy to exercise at home or in the gym.