The triceps are the large muscles on the back of the upper arms that are responsible for elbow, shoulder, and forearm movements.
Working out your triceps helps to build upper body strength and is an essential part of any strength training routine. Strong triceps stabilize your shoulder joint and are important for daily activities and sports such as tennis, volleyball, and basketball.
Do a 5 to 10 minute warmup before doing these exercises to loosen up your muscles and get your heart pumping. This can involve stretching, walking, or jumping jacks.
Make sure you’re using proper form in order to effectively and safely work the muscles. Increase the intensity of these exercises by engaging the triceps in the top position for one to two seconds longer.
Triceps kickbacks are most often done with dumbbells.
This exercise helps you learn how to target the triceps. Choose a weight that’s slightly challenging yet allows you to complete all of the sets using proper form and without straining.
Start with dumbbells that are 5 to 10 pounds each and gradually increase the weight as you gain strength. Substitute soup cans or water bottles if you don’t have weights.
This exercise can also be done one arm at a time in a split stance while standing or kneeling.
To do this:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in toward each other, keeping your knees bent slightly.
- Engage your core and maintain a straight spine as you hinge forward at the waist, bringing your torso almost parallel to the floor.
- Keep your upper arms in close to your body and your head in line with your spine, tucking your chin in slightly.
- On an exhale, engage your triceps by straightening your elbows.
- Hold your upper arms still, only moving your forearms during this movement.
- Pause here, then inhale to return the weights to the starting position.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Using a low pulley cable machine helps to keep the movement steady and controlled. Use a single grip handle for this exercise. Don’t move your elbow at all.
To do this:
- Stand facing a low pulley cable machine.
- Bend forward slightly at the waist so your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
- Engage your core and keep your head, neck, and spine in one line.
- Place one hand on your thigh for support.
- On an exhale, engage your triceps as you slowly extend your arm back as far as you can, keeping your arm in tight by your side.
- Pause here, then inhale as your return your arm to the starting position.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
The triceps are essential for building upper body strength and helping with movement in your shoulders and elbows. Increasing triceps strength brings stability to your shoulders and arms, improves flexibility, and increases range of motion.
This prevents injury and makes it easier for you to use your upper body in daily activities, such as pushing heavy loads or upper body sports like swimming, rowing, and boxing. Strong triceps are also useful in weightlifting exercises, such as bench press or overhead press.
Developing upper body strength is especially important as you age, but it’s a good idea to keep your body strong from a young age. Building muscle strength helps to support bone health and strength, which is useful in treating and preventing osteoporosis.
It can also help to manage arthritis pain by reducing swelling, pain, and bone loss, while strengthening and lubricating joints.
While strength-building exercises provide you with numerous benefits, it’s a good idea to follow a few guidelines to maintain safety and prevent injury.
- Always warm up and cold down your body for 5 to 10 minutes at the beginning and end of each session.
- If you’re fairly new to physical activity, make sure you build up slowly and under the guidance of an exercise professional.
- Use the lowest weight available while you work on learning proper form and technique.
- Use smooth, steady, controlled movements instead of those that are jerky and forceful.
- Make sure you’re able to maintain a smooth, natural breath throughout your routine.
- Be cautious with these exercises if you have any neck, shoulder, or back injuries.
- If you develop any pain during or after these exercises, stop immediately.
- Always wait for your body to fully recover from any injury, even if it’s minor, before doing anything more than moderate, gentle exercise.
- It’s a good idea to take off at least one full day per week to allow your muscles time to rest and recover.
Talk to your doctor if you take medications that could affect your exercise, have existing health concerns, or aren’t usually physically active. If you develop any pain, numbness, or tingling after doing these exercises, discontinue the practice and see your doctor.
Working with a fitness expert is ideal if you want help setting up an exercise program. They can create a routine especially for your needs and goals.
Using good form is key, and they can help make sure you’re doing the exercises properly, using the appropriate weight, and getting the most benefits from your workout.
Triceps kickbacks are a simple and effective way to build arm and upper body strength. Adding them to your routine can help you in other physical activities. Maintain a well-rounded workout routine that includes flexibility, stretching, and balance training, as well as strength exercises and cardio.
Gradually increase your strength over time without surpassing your limit to prevent injury. Most importantly, have fun with your routine and make it an enjoyable part of your life.