When you hit the gym to work out your arms, the biceps are the muscle group that gets focused on the most. But, there are several other important muscles in your arms, including your triceps. Located on the back of your arm, this muscle spreads out into three heads and helps with the mobility of your elbow and shoulder. Next time you think about working out your arms, try our best tricep compound exercises, so you can have strong biceps and triceps.
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The primary function of the tricep is to extend the forearm at the elbow joint. The long head of the muscle also aids in the abduction and extension of the upper arm at the shoulder joint. There are three heads to the triceps muscle: the long head, the medial head, and the lateral head. All three work together in order to properly and safely move your arm.
Other Muscles Worked in Compound Tricep Exercises
There are several muscles that are worked during compound tricep exercises, so you will still be using several parts of your arms in order to complete the exercise. These muscles are listed below:
- Pectoralis Major
- Anterior Deltoid
- Lateral Deltoid
- Serratus Anterior
Best Tricep Compound Exercises
Check out our list of how to do the best tricep compound exercises:
15. Bench Press
- Start by lying on a bench with a barbell gripped in your hands, which are slightly wider apart than shoulder width.
- With the bar over your shoulders, press your feet into the ground and push the bar up from the starting position.
- Lower the bar to your chest, about nipple level, allowing the elbows to bend to 45 degrees away from the body.
- When your elbows are just below the bench stop lowering, hold it for a few seconds, and push back up into starting position.
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14. Triceps Pushdown
- Brace your abdominals and tuck your elbows into your sides.
- As you inhale, push down until your elbows are fully extended. While keeping your elbows close to your body, bend your knees slightly on the pushdown.
- As you exhale, return to the starting point with controlled movements, and try not to crash the weights.
13. Diamond Pushup
- Start on all fours with your hands together under your chest. Position the index fingers and thumbs so they are touching and forming a diamond shape.
- Extend your arms until your body is elevated and forms a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Lower your chest towards your hands, keeping your back flat and elbows slow.
- Just before your chest hits the floor stop, and then push back up into the starting position.
12. Long Head Destruction
- Start by lying down on a bench, with your hands held directly above you. Lower them to your sides.
- Straighten your arms back behind you body and lock your elbows in position.
- Lower the dumbbells to behind your head and extend back up to the starting position. Then straighten your arms up overhead. This is one rep.
11. Parallel Bar Dips
- Stand in-between two bars, and reach out to both sides and grab the bars.
- Jump up and hold your body in position, leaning forward slightly. Make sure to keep this position the whole time.
- Slowly lower your body without letting your feet touch the ground, until your elbows form a 90-degree angle.
- Push back into the starting position, but try to direct the pushing motion like you are trying to put the bars together.
- When your arms are fully extended, that is one rep.
10. Hex Press
- Lie back on the bench with a dumbbell in each hand and press the weights into each other, meeting in the middle of your breastbone. Arch your back, pushing your chest upward and nearly touching your pecs.
- Squeeze the weight together hard as you press them over your chest and lower them back down. The most important part is keeping the weights pressed together the whole time.
9. Elevated Pike Pushup
- Place your feet on an elevated object (box, chair) and place your hands on the ground.
- Pike through the hips (you should be bent into an upside-down v-shape).
- Bend the elbows down into the push up and press back into the start position.
8. Lying Triceps Extensions
- Start by lying on your back with knees bent and a dumbbell in each hand.
- Extend your arms and position the dumbbells above your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows and bring the dumbbells down until they are close to the ears.
- Lift the dumbbells back up. This is one rep.
7. Bench Dips
- Place yourself at the edge of the bench with hands shoulder width apart on the edge.
- Slowly lower your body by bending at the elbows and shoulders until your arm creates a 90-degree angle.
- Push back up into starting position, all while maintaining good posture.
6. Overhead Tricep Extensions
- You can do this exercise either standing or sitting, but you will start with the dumbbell in both hands by grasping the inside dumbbell plate surface.
- Slowly bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your head as far as you can. Keep your core engaged, and try to follow the path of your spine.
- At the lowest point, straighten your elbows and extend the weight upwards. Hold the extended position for a few seconds, and you have completed one rep.
5. JM Press
- Start by lying on a bench and un-rack the bar and bring it down just above your chest.
- Roll the bar and your arms back to hover over your face, and feel the tension in your triceps.
- Finish by quickly reversing the motion and pulling your elbows back in place near your sides, and extend the arms until the reach full lockout.
4. Close Grip Bench Press
- Lie flat on the bench and grip the bar with hands shoulder-width apart.
- Lift the bar off the rack, arms locked, and hold the bar straight over you.
- Inhale and bring the bar down towards your chest, keeping elbows close to your body.
- Exhale and push the bar up using your triceps and locking the arms of the top of the movement.
3. Tate Dumbbell Press
- Start by getting into a similar position as you would for a bench press with a slight arch in the back.
- Position the dumbbells directly above your shoulders.
- With dumbbells touching, bend your elbows to move the ends of the dumbbells down to your chest.
- While keeping control over the dumbbells, extend your elbows to push the dumbbells back into the starting position.
2. Reverse Grip Press
- Start by lying on a flat bench and grabbing the barbell with a standard overhand grip.
- Lower the bar to your chest, then switch your grip from an overhand to reverse grip, positioning the hands just outside of shoulder-width.
- For each rep start with the bar over your face, then slowly lower it down to just below your lower pecs.
- After touching down, press the bar up and in a slight arc to it ends up over your face again.
1. Stability Ball Pushup
- Start by placing your hands on the stability ball shoulder-width apart.
- Have your legs straight as you push your body up until your arms are almost straight.
- Hold for two seconds.
- Return slowly to the starting position. This is one rep.
Benefits of Compound Tricep Exercises
There are several benefits to compound tricep exercises, including making your arms look even bigger combined with your bicep muscles. Compound tricep exercises elevate your heart rate, burn more calories, improve flexibility, increase strength, and improves stability. If you’re looking to keep your arms strong and limber, make sure you take the time to work out those triceps, as they are more important than you think.
How do I hit all three tricep heads?
There are certain tricep exercises that may only work out one or two heads of the tricep, so it is important to find those exercises that work all three. It makes the whole muscle stronger, and it doesn’t feel like you’re cheating any one part. The best tricep exercises to hit all three heads are close grip presses, kickbacks, press downs, and diamond push ups.
Do triceps grow better with high reps?
Triceps are a very fast twitch dominant muscle group. It responds better to heavier loads and a lower to medium rep range, rather than high reps.
What compound movement works triceps?
One of the best tricep compound exercises that works your triceps are bench dips. You can easily do this exercise at home without equipment or in a gym. All you need to have is a sturdy object, like a chair or gym bench, to hold yourself up on while completing the exercise.
Arm day should include a range of exercises that engage all muscles, not just the biceps. Next time your on arm day and want to change up your routine, try some of our best tricep compound exercises and reach your arm goals.