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If you’re looking for a tricep workout without dumbbells, then you’ve come to the right place.
Targeting the upper arms with endless dumbbell tricep exercises isn’t necessary for an effective triceps workout.
Recommended Reading – Avoid These 3 Common Causes Of Tricep Tendonitis Pain
There are some great body weight exercises you can do to target the triceps muscles leading to increased muscle mass and upper body strength.
Continue reading to discover some of the best bodyweight exercises to activate your triceps helping you to build well developed and strong arms.
Benefits Of Tricep Workouts
The tricep muscles, better known as the triceps brachii, comprise of three smaller muscles: the long head, the lateral head and the medial head of the triceps.
Together they make up the vast majority of your upper arm and building stronger triceps can offer the following benefits:
Increased Upper Body Strength
The main function of the tricep muscle groups is to extend the arm and push things away from your body.
As well as doing something such as pushing open a door, it also includes a range of exercises like a regular push-up, bench press, and triceps kickback.
When you focus on strengthening your triceps, this allows you to generate more force and power during certain exercises.
Over time this can lead to improved overall upper body strength.
Improved Arm Function
Strong triceps play a key role in elbow extension, which is necessary for various daily activities.
Whether you’re pushing a door open, lifting a heavy object, or performing tasks that require arm extension, triceps strength will allow for better stability and mobility of your arms and shoulder joint.
Better Sports Performance
Many sports and activities, such as swimming, tennis, baseball, and martial arts, rely on strong and powerful arm movements.
By strengthening your triceps, you can enhance your performance in these sports by allowing you to generate more force during arm actions such as throwing, swinging, or striking.
Increased Muscle Definition
Well-developed and bigger triceps contribute to a sculpted and defined appearance of the arms.
As the triceps are a significant muscle group to the back of the arm, strengthening them can help create a toned and muscular look.
Better Joint Stability
When you strengthen the heads of the triceps this can help by stabilizing the elbow joint.
This could help to reduce the risk of injuries and provide support during activities that sometimes place stress on the joint.
This stability can be particularly beneficial if you’re involved in hobbies such as weightlifting, gymnastics, and many different contact sports.
Balanced Upper Body Development
Many people often focus on building up their biceps and can neglect their triceps.
However, it’s important to focus on all the arm muscles to ensure you have a physique that is well balanced in terms of strength and size.
Having strong triceps in conjunction with other upper body muscles, including your chest and shoulders, will help you to maintain a balanced physique promoting proper muscle symmetry and overall aesthetics.
The Best Tricep Workout Without Dumbbells
When it comes to the best bodyweight tricep exercises there are several that can activate all three heads of your triceps muscles.
Best of all, as you don’t need any equipment, it can form part of your home workouts.
With the below workout routine, it’s important to complete each exercise with proper form and full range of motion.
If you find it difficult to stick to the rep range, then drop it slightly.
For example, if 15 reps are suggested, drop this to between 5 and 10.
Five well executed reps are far better than 15 partial reps with poor form.
Doing them with good form will allow you to advance quickly in terms of strength so that you can begin to add more reps in to the workout.
Let’s jump in to five of the best exercises for your triceps workout.
The bench dip is a great exercise for isolating the triceps, particularly the long head.
Tension is placed on the triceps as you need to position your arms behind you for this movement.
Your hand placement will determine how much you activate the medial or lateral head.
If you position your hands so that your fingers face forwards, more emphasis will be put on the outer triceps (the lateral head).
Conversely, if your hands are positioned so that your fingers face outwards, then you’ll put more tension on to the medial head.
- Start by sitting on the edge of a bench or chair and place your hands either side of you taking hold of the edge.
- Keeping your knees to a 90-degree angle, slide forward so that your glutes come away from the bench. Your bodyweight should now be supported by your arms.
- Lower your glutes down towards the floor whilst keeping your hands and feet in position.
- Stop once your upper arms are parallel to the ground. This is your starting position.
- From here, push back up until your arms are straight and repeat.
- Perform 15 repetitions.
When you’re looking to progress the exercise, you can either increase the reps to 20 or alter your foot position.
By placing your feet further away from the bench, with a smaller bend to the knee, you can place an even greater emphasis onto your triceps.
A further progression is to position your legs, so they are completely straight and resting on your heels.
There are many different push-up variations, and the diamond push up is one that will give you the best results for training your triceps.
Regular triceps push-ups are predominantly a chest focused exercise where you position your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
However, by modifying your hand placement and bringing them closer together you’ll better engage the heads of your triceps.
Make sure you keep your hands towards the center of your chest to minimize stress to your shoulder muscles.
- Begin by getting yourself into a high plank position with your feet resting on your toes.
- Bring both hands in together so they’re directly under your chest. Allow your fore fingers and thumbs to touch. Your hands should now form a triangle or diamond shape.
- Keeping your body in a straight line, lower yourself down towards the ground.
- Hold briefly at the bottom before pushing back up to the start.
- Complete 20 repetitions.
Push ups can be quite a challenging movement to execute for many people. If you’d like to make it a little easier, instead of resting on your toes, position yourself so that you rest on your knees. As your strength improves, you can then progress.
Bodyweight Skull Crushers
If your goal is to build bigger triceps, then skull crushers are one of the best tricep exercises you can do.
Not only is this one a great way of adding muscle mass, but it will also help to improve the strength and mobility of your elbow joints.
You’ll need access to a bench or other stable surface such as a table or chair.
Something to note is that the higher the surface the easier the exercise is to perform.
- Start by placing your hands at hip width distance on your bench or table. Make sure to start out with your arms completely straight.
- Extend your legs out behind your and rest on the balls of your feet.
- From here, bend your elbows and lower your head down and forwards slightly so that it moves towards the bench / table.
- Stop once your head gets just below the top of the surface then push back up to the start.
- Perform 15 to 20 reps.
Bodyweight Kneeling Tricep Extensions
This exercise is a good alternative to the overhead tricep extension.
It’s also an easy exercise to progress.
When you’re ready simply perform the movement in the same way but instead of having your knees bent, extend your legs out straight behind you so you begin in a push-up position.
- Begin by kneeling down on the ground.
- Shift your bodyweight forwards slightly and place your hands on the ground at shoulder width apart.
- Lower your elbows towards the floor, making sure they also stay at a shoulder width distance. Your elbows should be in line with your hands.
- Extend your elbows and push your upper body away from the floor.
- Slowly lower your forearms back to the ground and repeat.
- Complete 20 reps.
Cross Triceps Extensions
The cross tricep extension is a take on a regular push up and is a great way of isolating all three heads of the triceps.
If you want to make the exercise a little easier to begin, simply perform it on an elevated surface or on your knees.
- Start off by getting yourself into a regular push up position.
- Now take your left hand and position it so it’s directly beneath your right shoulder.
- Do the same with the right hand under the left shoulder. Your right arm should be just behind your left arm.
- Lower yourself down to you start by resting on your forearms.
- Push up until both arms are locked out at the elbows.
- Perform 10 repetitions with your left hand in front and then a further 10 reps with your right hand in front.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Tricep Exercises Pull Or Push?
Triceps exercises are push movements.
The triceps engage when you perform any pushing movement whether this is something like a bench press exercise or pushing a door open.
The triceps work with the shoulders and chest so that you can push things away from your body.
Are Tricep Exercises Bad For Elbows?
If tricep exercises are performed incorrectly or too often, this can be bad for your elbows, especially if the exercises are resistance-based.
When training smaller muscle groups, this typically involves high rep ranges which can stress the joints.
However, it’s important to not over do things and train the muscles too often as you may put stress on your elbow joints causing pain or conditions such as bursitis.
Make sure you perform all tricep exercises slowly and with control and always focus on proper form factoring in the mechanics of your body.
Is It Good To Train Chest & Triceps Together?
Yes, it is a good idea to train the chest and triceps together.
As these muscle groups work simultaneously to undertake pushing movements, incorporating chest and triceps exercises into one workout makes sense.
This would be considered an upper body workout often referred to as a push day.
Can You Do Tricep Exercises Everyday?
Performing tricep exercises daily would not be advisable.
This would likely lead to overtraining which would be counterproductive to workout goals whether that’s increasing muscle mass or strength.
If you don’t allow for sufficient rest and recovery for your muscles, you may end up performing exercises incorrectly leading to injuries.
You’ll also be putting too much stress onto the joints and tendons.
This can lead to pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion.
The workout suggested in this article can be performed 2 to 3 times per week.
Remember to focus on form and only undertake the number of reps that’s comfortable for you based on your current ability.
Progression is important to continue to increase size and strength but only do this once you’re ready.
If you’re unsure how to complete the workout properly, always seek the advice from a personal trainer or equivalent who can check your form.
To make sure you build an equally balanced physique, don’t forget about your opposing muscles, the biceps.
You can find some great bicep exercises in our article ‘eccentric bicep exercises‘.