For some, having a big pair of arms is incredibly important. Even more so than having a six pack.
There are many reasons why, but more often than not it is to impress their next romantic partner.
Fortunately, unlike your calves. Building arms to die for is not decided specifically by your genetics, but rather the amount of time spent working them.
Of course using weights would be the best solution, but if you have a busy lifestyle and travel often then you may not have access to weights.
The following are some of the best bodyweight exercises for triceps. So now there is no excuse not to give them a good workout.
What Are The Triceps?
Before we can go into the best bodyweight tricep exercises it is worth taking a moment to look more closely at the muscle themselves.
The tricep muscle has three heads (points of origin), with one originating just below the socket of your scapula or shoulder blade. The other two heads originate from the humerus, and extend downward attaching to the upper part of the ulna, which is located in the forearm.
Your main purpose of the tricep is to aid with the extension of the forearm upon your elbow joint, in opposition to your biceps.
The triceps also help to stabilise your shoulder and scapula during many different upper body exercises, for instance lat pulldowns, and the push up.
How to Build Your Triceps
Here are some tips to build your triceps, whether with weights or using bodyweight exercises:
#1: You Need to Train Your Triceps Directly
You may think that you don’t need to train your arms and triceps directly if you are already performing compound exercises like the bench press, overhead press and barbell row.
However, while each of these exercises will develop your arms, you should still dedicate a few isolation exercises to give you the results you desire.
#2: Go Heavy for Size and Strength
When you first start lifting you will see almost instant results, or “newbie gains”. However once this honeymoon period is over you will start to see fewer results.
It is important that you continue pushing yourself, which means lifting as heavy as possible, or by putting more intensity into your workouts.
Giving less than 100% each workout will give you less than desirable results.
This rule isn’t just directed at your tricep training either. It should be applied to every muscle group.
#3: One Heavy Session is Usually Enough
Generally speaking if you are lifting heavy you will need to give your body time to recover adequately.
Big compound movements like the bench press and overhead press will work your arms intensely so it probably best to give over 24 hours rest time between exercises.
Tricep specific exercises should be performed once, maybe twice a week if you are not seeing progress. Any more than that and you could run the risk of overtraining them.
Exercises for Triceps Without Weights
Before you perform any exercise it is important that you warm up beforehand. This is to reduce the risk of injury.
You may not have access to a treadmill or stationary bike, but running on the spot can get your blood flowing. You should also stretch too.
With further ado, here are some exercises for triceps that you can perform without weights:
#1: Push Ups
The push up is one of the most common exercises. It works the shoulders, triceps and your core overall.
To perform it you should start in a plank position, with your arms and shoulders straight. You should keep your shoulders over your wrists and keep your core engaged.
Next, slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor. Before returning to your original position.
#2: Diamond Push Up
Similar to the common push up, but a little more advanced.
This exercise targets the shoulders a little more than the common version.
Again starting in the plank position, place your hands together underneath your sternum. You should touch the tips of our index fingers and thumbs, forming a diamond or triangle shape.
As with the common push up, to perform this exercise you should bend your elbows, lowering your chest to the floor. You should then straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
If this exercise is a little too hard, it can be performed by increasing the distance between hands.
If you have access to parallel bars then lifting your own bodyweight will make this one of the most intense tricep exercises.
For most of you reading this article, this may not be possible. But you can still perform dips using a chair or similar, or as the above video shows can be performed on the floor.
Not only is this a good tricep exercise, it will help to stretch out your whole body so is good to be performed after you have already completed a few other arm exercises.
To perform the Inchworm, you should stand upright with your feet close together. Bend over and place your hands near your feet. You should try and keep your legs as straight as possible.
Next aim to walk forward using your hands, while keeping your legs straight.
You should then try and walk your hands back to the starting position to complete one rep.
#5: Plank Up Downs
While a traditional plank will target your core, Plank Up Downs can help strengthen your arms too. Targeting your biceps, triceps and shoulders as well.
Start off my placing your arms flat on the floor, knees straight out behind you, with your spine straight and your neck in a neutral pose.
Lift your left arm and place your weight onto your left palm. Next raise your right arm and place your weight onto both palms.
Next lower your left arm, placing your weight onto your forearm, followed by your right arm. This is one rep.
#6: Plank Taps
Another movement that works both your arms and core.
Start off in the plank position, keeping your core engaged throughout the exercise.
Tap your left shoulder with your right palm before returning to the start position, next tap your right shoulder with your left palm before returning to the starting position.
#7: Spiderman Push Up
As well as working both biceps and triceps, the Spiderman Push Up also works your glutes.
To perform this exercise you should start off in the plank position with your abs engaged.
Perform a push up as normal, but each time you will alternate bending your knee to try and touch your elbow.
While bodyweight exercises are not as effective as lifting with weights, if you are travelling or do not have access to a gym then they are better than nothing, and it is certainly possible to see good results using just your own bodyweight.
The key is to push yourself, so while the weight may not be too heavy you can increase the intensity by increasing the number of reps and sets.
To experience hypertrophy you would usually perform a set with 6-10 reps when lifting weights. With bodyweight exercises you could probably increase the number of reps to 15-20.
If you are not challenging yourself each workout you are not going to see the results you would hope for.